Sputter Coater

Overview of Sputter Coating

Sputter coating is a sample preparation technique used in SEM (scanning electron microscopy) applications. Oftentimes the method becomes an essential step in the imaging process for several reasons: reducing the electric charge of the sample, enhancing secondary electron emission, heightening thermal conduction, and diminishing the overall damage sustained by the sample. For those benefits alone, sputter coating stands as a highly desirable technique for yielding high quality results in microscopy.

The functional principle of sputter coating involves generating a metal plasma that is subsequently deposited on the sample. Spraying plasma on samples must be done in a meticulous and controlled manner, which is why an automated and accurate coating process is more advantageous than relying on user intervention. Variation between users causes inhomogeneous coatings and drastically stalls productivity.

LUXOR magnetron sputter coaters prioritize the key aspects needed to optimize sputter coating processes:

Refined Technology & Protection


User Safety

  • Samples are mounted upside down:
    • Exchanging samples is easy
    • High current wires are hidden
    • Loose materials & particles are removed
  • Triple functionality:
    • Sputtering protocol
    • Outgassing protocol (porous samples)
    • Drying protocol (wet samples)
  • Processes up to 6 samples in one run
  • No operator intervention needed for:
    • Vacuum
    • Sputtering current
    • Sputtering time
  • Reproducible coatings
  • Automated operation after defining the coating thickness
  • Magnetron head at the bottom of the sputtering chamber — no high voltage on the exterior
  • Double implosion protection layer borosilicate glass
  • PET (positron emission tomography) shield
  • No extra tools (tongs, specialized instruments) are needed to replace samples
  • Built in touchscreen to manage the process

Gold Sputter Coater

LUXORAu is a sputtering device specifically tailored to applying a fine grain gold coating from 1 to 100 nanometer thickness on samples to be used in scanning electron microscopy. These devices are renowned for their consistency and the homogeneity of gold layers applied on specimens, a fact indicative of the reproducibility users can expect when operating the LUXORAu instrument.

  • 100,000x magnification applications
  • Strongly increases sample electric conduction
  • Boosts secondary electron emission

Platinum Sputter Coater

LUXORPt is a sputtering device made for field emission electron microscopy — fully compatible with desktop SEMs with a field emission source. Platinum coating is suitable for cases requiring significantly increased magnifications because of high electron emission and the coating thinness (roughly half the thicknesses needed in gold coatings) associated with this metal film. Rather than a vulnerable turbomolecular pump found in different platinum coaters, the LUXORPt employs a dual stage vacuum pump. Beam-sensitive samples receive an extra layer of protection from damage as well with this sputter coater.

  • 1,000,000x magnification applications
  • Typically relevant in FEG-SEM (field emission gun scanning electron microscopy) for high resolution images
  • Various metal compatibilities (both gold and platinum)
  • Significantly boosts secondary electron emission

Sputter Coating Examples

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