What is a sputtering target

What is a sputtering target?

Sputtering target: the source material of sputtering film preparation, also known as sputtering target, especially the high purity sputtering target, which is used in the physical vapor deposition (PVD) process of electronic components manufacturing, is the key material for the preparation of wafer, panel, solar cell and other surface electronic thin films. In vacuum state, the solid surface is bombarded with accelerated ions, and the ions exchange momentum with the atoms on the solid surface, so that the atoms on the solid surface leave the solid and deposit on the substrate surface to form the required film. This process is called sputtering. Sputtering source is usually called solid target deposition.

The ion produced by sputtering uses ion source to accelerate the accumulation in vacuum, and then form a high speed ion beam flow. It bombards the solid surface. The kinetic energy exchange between the ion and the solid surface atoms will take place, which will make the solid surface atoms leave the solid and deposit on the surface of the substrate. In the sputtering process, the target material of high-speed ion beam bombardment is called sputtering target, which is the raw material for deposition of thin films. The functional films made of various kinds of high purity precious metals and new alloys and compounds are high-purity sputtering targets.


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Thin film formation by sputtering (the picture is from Mitsui- kinzoku.co.jp)

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Working principle of sputtering target

Generally speaking, sputtering target is mainly composed of target blank, back plate and other parts. Target blank is the target material bombarded by high-speed ion beam, which belongs to the core part of sputtering target. In the process of sputtering coating, after the target blank is hit by ions, its surface atoms are sputtered out and deposited on the substrate to make an electronic film. Due to the low strength of high-purity metal, sputtering target material is not suitable It needs to be installed in a special machine to complete the sputtering process. The internal environment of the machine is high voltage and high vacuum. Therefore, the sputtering target blank of ultra-high purity metal needs to be connected with the back plate through different welding processes. The back plate mainly plays the role of fixing the sputtering target, and it needs to have good electrical and thermal conductivity.

Sputtering target is mainly composed of target blank and back plate. Target blank is the target material bombarded by high-speed ion beam, which is the core part of sputtering target. In the process of sputtering coating, the atoms on the surface of the target slab are sputtered out and deposited on the substrate to form an electronic film after the target slab is hit by ions. Due to the low strength of high purity metal, the sputtering target material needs to be installed in a special machine to complete the sputtering process, and the internal environment of the machine is high voltage and high vacuum. Therefore, the sputtered target slab of ultra-high purity metal needs to pass through different channels from the back plate The backplane plays the role of fixing sputtering target, and needs to have good electrical and thermal conductivity.
Sputtering coating is one of the main techniques for preparing thin films, which has significant comprehensive advantages. At present, there are three main forms of PVD coating, which are sputtering coating, evaporation coating and ion coating. Generally speaking, the density of the evaporated film is the worst, which can only reach 95% of the theoretical density, and the adhesion of the film is also the worst, but the deposition rate of the evaporated film is the fastest. Ion plating not only has the highest density and the smallest grain size, but also has the largest adhesion between the coating and the substrate. However, the biggest disadvantage of ion plating is that the substrate must be conductive material, and the temperature of the substrate will rise to several hundred degrees centigrade when coating. The above disadvantages limit the application of ion plating. At present, sputtering is one of the main techniques for preparing thin film materials. The films deposited by sputtering target have high density, and the interface between sputtering target and substrate is poor.

Table 1: comparison of three vacuum coating methods

Mode Evaporation coating Sputtering deposition Ion plating
By heating and evaporating a substance in vacuum, metal vapor is produced to deposit (condense) on the solid surface to form a thin film. When high energy particles bombard the solid surface, the particles on the solid surface can obtain energy and escape from the surface to deposit on the substrate. The molecules of evaporated matter are ionized by electron collision and deposited on the solid surface as ions.
Particle energy ev 0.1-1 1-10 10
Theoretical density of coating 95% 98% 98%
Grain size Large Small Very small, amorphous
Film adhesion Small Moderate Large
Coating rate nm/min 0.1-75 0.01-0.5 0.1-50

The main application of sputter target

Sputtering target is mainly used in electronic and information industries, such as integrated circuit, information storage, LCD screen, laser memory, electronic controller, etc.; it can also be applied to glass coating field; it can also be used in wear-resistant materials, high temperature corrosion resistance, high-grade decorative products and other industries.

Classification of sputtering target

According to the shape, it can be divided into square target, circular target and special-shaped target.
According to the composition, it can be divided into metal target, alloy target and ceramic compound target.
According to the application, it can be divided into semiconductor related ceramic target, recording medium ceramic target, display ceramic target, superconducting ceramic target and giant magnetoresistance ceramic target.
According to the application fields, it can be divided into micro electronic target, magnetic recording target, optical disc target, precious metal target, film resistance target, conductive film target, surface modified target, optical cover target, decorative layer target, electrode target, packaging target and other targets.
Magnetron sputtering principle: add an orthogonal magnetic field and electric field between the target electrode (cathode) and anode to fill the required inert gas (usually Ar gas) in the high vacuum chamber. Permanent magnet forms a magnetic field of 250-350 Gauss on the surface of the target material, and forms an orthogonal electromagnetic field with the high voltage electric field. Under the action of electric field, Ar gas ionizes into positive ions and electrons. A certain negative high pressure is added to the target. The electron from the target pole is affected by the magnetic field and the ionization probability of working gas increases. A high density plasma is formed near the cathode. Ar ions accelerate to the target surface under the action of Lorentz force, bombard the target surface at a high speed, so that the atoms sputtering on the target follow the target Momentum conversion principle is used to deposit film by moving away from target surface with high kinetic energy. Magnetron sputtering is generally divided into two types: Tributary sputtering and RF sputtering, in which the principle of tributary sputtering equipment is simple, and the rate is also fast when sputtering metal. The RF sputtering is widely used. Besides sputtering conductive materials, it can also sputter non-conductive materials, and reactive sputtering is also used to prepare oxide, nitride and carbide. If the RF frequency is increased, it will become microwave plasma sputtering, and the common use is ECR type microwave plasma sputtering.

Magnetron sputtering coating target:

Metal sputtering target, alloy sputtering coating target, ceramic sputtering coating target, boride ceramic sputtering target, carbide ceramic sputtering target, fluoride ceramic sputtering target, nitride ceramic sputtering target, oxide ceramic target, selenide ceramic sputtering target, silicide ceramic sputtering target, sulfide ceramic sputtering target, telluride ceramic sputtering target Other ceramic targets, Cr SiO, InP, pbas and InAs.

The sputtering target materials with high purity and high density are as follows:

Metallic materials Main uses Performance requirement
Ultra high purity aluminum, titanium, copper, tantalum, etc Key raw materials for the preparation of integrated circuits The highest technical requirements, ultra-high purity metal, high precision dimension and high integration
High purity aluminum, copper, molybdenum, tin doped indium oxide (ITO) High definition TV, laptop, etc High technical requirements, high purity materials, large material area, high degree of uniformity
High purity aluminum, copper, molybdenum, chromium, ITO Thin film solar cells High technical requirements and wide application range
Chromium based, cobalt based alloys, etc Optical disk drive, optical disk, etc High storage density, high transmission speed
Pure metal chromium, chrome aluminum alloy, etc Surface strengthening of tools and moulds High performance requirements and long service life
Ni Cr alloy, Cr Si alloy, etc Film resistor, film capacitor Small size, good stability and low temperature coefficient of resistance are required
Pure metal chromium, titanium, nickel, etc Decorative coating, glass coating, etc General technical requirements, mainly used for decoration, energy saving, etc

Metal targets

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Ceramic targets
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Metal targets

High-purity metals Al, Co, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Sn
High melting-point alloys Cr-, Mo-, Nb-, Ta-, Ti-, V-, W-based alloys
Non-magnetic alloys Al-, Bi-, Cu-, Mg-, Sn-, Zn-based alloys/ Bi2Te3, Mg2Si
Magnetic alloys Co-, Fe-, Ni-based alloys/ Co-Fe-B, Co-Pt, Fe-Pt
Heusler alloys Various Co-, Fe- , Ni-based Heusler alloys
Mn-base alloys Mn-Al, Mn-Bi, Mn-Ga, Mn-Ir, Mn-Si
Noble-metal alloys Au-, Ag-, Pt-, Pd-based alloys

Inorganic compound targets

Oxides Al2O3,MgO,SiO2,TiO2,ZnO,La2O3
ITO,PZT,STO,LiCoO2,Li4Ti5O12,Li3PO4
Carbides SiC,B4C,WC
Other compounds Nitrides, Fluorides, Phosphides, Sulfides, Selenides

Complex targets

Metal phases Various pure metals and alloys / Co-Cr-Pt, Fe, Fe-Ni, Fe-Pt , etc.
Non-metal phases Various oxides and nitrides / Al2O3, MgO, SiO2, etc.

Standard size table

Circular diameter φ50.8、φ76.2、φ101.6、φ127、φ152.4、φ203.2、 φ254、φ304.8、φ355.6、φ406.4、φ508、φ533.4
Rectangular plane dimensions 127×304.8、127×381、127×508、127×558.8、152.4×508
thickness t3、t5、t6.35

High-purity materials
Various high-purity metal target products

Al ~6N Mn ~4N
Co ~4N5 Sn ~5N
Cu ~6N Ti ~5N
In ~5N Zn ~5N
Mg ~4N5  

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  • High-purity Mg
  • High-purity Mn
  • Alloys Co-Fe-B
  • High-purity Mg

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purity 4N5
size φ50.8~φ164
Element High-purity Mg Normal Mg
Ca ND※ 10
Cd ND※ ND※
Cu ND※ 10
Fe ND※ 40
Mn ND※ 40
Zn 20 20

High-purity Mn
By optimizing target fabrication conditions, we have realized a high-purity Mn target.

Element High-purity Mn

4N
Normal Mn

2N8
Ca ND※ ND※
Cr 20 130
Fe 30 1400
Mg ND※ 70
Si ND※ 10

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Alloys Co-Fe-B
We have established a technology for obtaining low oxygen-content Co-Fe-B by a melting method, and also realized a high-purity target by our purification technology.
We can make customization such as of the Co-Fe-B composition ratio and adding a fourth element in a form of Co-Fe-B-α, according to our customers’ requests.
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purity 4N
size φ50.8~φ300
B content ≦ 20atm%
gas content O < 70ppm
N < 70ppm
Element High-purity Co-Fe-B

4N
Normal Co-Fe-B

3N
Al ND※ ND※
Cr ND※ 20
Cu 20 20
Mn ND※ ND※
Ni ND※ 150
Si 20 20

Dielectric and Ferroelectric Materials
Examples of materials for MEMS

gate dielectrics La2O3、HfO2、Y2O3、HfO2-Al2O3
piezoelectric materials PZT、PNZT、PLZT、PLT、PMN-PT、PNN-PZT、NaNbO3、KNbO3、KNN、BNT、BFO
high dielectric constant materilas (BaSr)TiO3、SrTiO3
electrodes Pt、Ir、Ru、RuO2、SrRuO3、LaNiO3、(LaSr)CoO3、Ti、TiN、TiOx、Ta

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PZT、PNZT
High-density SrRuO3
Pb-free High dielectic constant / Piezoelectric Materials
PZT、PNZT
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materilal PZT PNZT
available composition PbaZrbTi1-bOx
a=1.0~1.3 b=0.1~0.9
Pba(ZrbTi1-b)cNb1-cOx
a=1.0~1.3 b=0.1~0.9 c=0.8~0.9
size φ50~
thickness t3~t10
purity 3N (excluding Hf 2000-3000ppm)
impurities Al、Cu、Ta<100ppm

High-density SrRuO3
It is known that the use of SRO for the bottom electrode improves dielectic / ferroelectric properties of the capacitor, compared to the case of Pt electrode.
The use of SRO is expected also to reduce degradation due to reaction with the dielectrics during heating in the capacitor fabrication process, compared to the Pt case.

purity 3N(excludingZr)
size up to φ300 mm
density (theoretical) 85%(6.48[g/㎤])or higher

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Pb-free High dielectic constant / Piezoelectric Materials
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(BaSr)TiOx

purity 3N
size φ50.8~φ300
density 90%or higher
  SrTiOx (Ba0.5Sr0.5)TiOx (Ba0.7Sr0.3)TiOx (Ba0.8Sr0.2)TiOx
or higher[g/㎤] 5.12 5.63 5.68 5.84
resistivity [Ω㎝] example value 5×10-2or lower 5×10-1or lower

Battery and Energy related Materials
Examples of Rechargeable Battery Materials

positive electrode materials LiCoO2、LiFeO2、Li2MnO3、LiFePO4、LiCoPO4、LiMnPO4、LiMn2O4、Li(NiMn)2O4
solid electrolytes Li3PO4、(LiLa)TiO3、Li2B4O7
negative electrode materials LiNbO3、Li2TiO3、Li4Ti5O12

Examples of Solar Cell Materials

Anti-reflection coating MgF2、SiN、TiO2、SiO2
transparent electrode GZO、ITO、IZO、TiO2-Nb
buffer layer ZnO、ZnS、AZO
light-absorbing layer CIS、CGS、CIGS、CAS、CZTS、S and/or Seide、Other composite materials
electrodes Ag、Al、Mo

for light absorption layer
Rechargeable Battery Materials
for Anti-reflection Coating etc.
for Transparent Electrodes etc.
for Electrodes etc.
for light absorption layer
and we accordingly can provide powders or sputtering targets which have a composition in accordance with your request.
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product purity
In2Se3 ~4N
GaSe ~3N
CuInxGa1-xS2 ~3N
CuInxGa1-xSe2 ~3N
Cu-Ga ~4N

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Rechargeable Battery Materials for Anti-reflection Coating etc.
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product purity
SnO2 ~4N
NbOx 3N
TiO2 ~4N
MgF2 3N
ZnS ~4N

for Transparent Electrodes etc.
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product purity
In2O3-SnO2 ~4N
Al-doped ZnO ~4N

for Electrodes etc.
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product purity
Ag ~4N
Al ~5N
Mo ~3N7
ZnS ~4N

Magnetic Device Materials
Examples of Materials for TMR/GMR Elements

magnetic layer Co-Fe-B
Co-Fe、Tb-Fe-Co、Ni-Fe、Ni-Fe-Co
Co/Pt、Fe/Pt
Mn-alloys as Mn-Ga
Co-based Heusler alloys such as Co2(FeMn)Si
barrier layer MgO、Mg
non-magnetic layer Ag-alloys
spacer layer Ru、Cu、Ta
anti-ferromagnetic layer Ir-Mn、Pt-Mn
electrodes Cr、Au、Ru、Ta

MgO
Co Alloys
Mn-alloys
MgO
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Co Alloys
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Co-base Full-Heusler Alloys by Melting
Mn-alloys
Mn-alloy:MnxGa100-x(55≦x≦75)
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Low oxygen content Ir-Mn target by melting

  • Gas content
  • Purity

Manufacturing technology of sputtering target

The preparation process of sputtering target mainly includes smelting casting method and powder sintering method. The common melting methods are vacuum induction melting, vacuum arc melting and vacuum electron bombardment melting. Compared with the alloy prepared by powder method, the impurity content (especially the gas impurity content) of melted alloy target is lower, and it can be high-density and large-scale. However, for two or more kinds of metals with large difference in melting point and density, it is difficult to obtain the alloy target with uniform composition by ordinary melting method; powder metallurgy process has the advantages of easy to obtain uniform fine grain structure, saving raw materials, high production efficiency, etc. when preparing target by powder metallurgy method, the key is to select high-purity and ultra-fine powder as raw materials. In order to ensure the low porosity of the target and control the grain size, the forming sintering technology which can realize rapid densification is selected, and the introduction of impurity elements is strictly controlled in the preparation process. Common powder metallurgy processes include hot pressing, vacuum hot pressing and hot isostatic pressing (HIP).

technology technological process common method advantage disadvantage
Melting and casting The alloy raw materials with a certain composition ratio are melted, then the molten alloy is poured into the mold to form the ingot, and finally the target material is made by machining. Vacuum induction melting, vacuum arc melting and vacuum electron bombardment melting.
The target has low impurity content (especially gas impurity content) and high density, which can be scaled up
.
For two or more metals with large difference in melting point and density, it is difficult to obtain alloy target with uniform composition by ordinary melting method.
Powder metallurgy The alloy raw materials with a certain composition ratio are melted, poured into ingots, and then crushed. The crushed powder is shaped by isostatic pressing, and then sintered at high temperature, and finally the target material is formed. Cold pressing, vacuum hot pressing and hot isostatic pressing. The composition of target material is uniform. Low density and high impurity content.

Brief introduction of semiconductor target materials

Material Science Application description Note
Copper target Conductive layer Due to its low resistance, high purity copper is very effective for improving chip integration, so it is widely used as wiring materials in the technology section below 110Nm. Copper target and tantalum target are usually used together. At present, wafer manufacturing technology is developing towards a smaller manufacturing process, and the application of copper wire technology is gradually increasing. Therefore, the demand for copper and tantalum targets is expected to continue to grow.
Tantalum target Barrier layer High purity tantalum targets are mainly used in high-end semiconductor chips with 12 inch wafers below 90nm.
Aluminum target Conductive layer High purity aluminum target is widely used in making conductive layer of semiconductor chip. However, due to its response speed, it is rarely used in technology nodes below 110Nm. Aluminum target and titanium target are usually used together. At present, aluminum and titanium targets still need to be widely used in the fields of automotive electronic chips that need more than 110Nm technology nodes to ensure their stability and anti-interference.
Titanium target Barrier layer High purity titanium targets are mainly used in 8-inch wafer 130 and 180 nm technology nodes.
Nickel platinum alloy target Contact layer It can form a thin film with the silicon layer on the surface of the chip to make contact.
Cobalt target Contact layer It can form a thin film with the silicon layer on the surface of the chip to make contact.
Tungsten titanium alloy target Contact layer Because of its low electron mobility, tungsten titanium alloy can be used as contact layer material in gate circuit of chip.
Tungsten target It is mainly used in the field of semiconductor chip memory.

Industry chain

The high purity sputter target industry belongs to the field of electronic materials, and the upstream and downstream relationships of the industrial chain are as follows:
Ultra high purity metal and sputtering target are important parts of electronic materials. The sputtering target industry chain mainly includes metal purification, target manufacturing, sputtering coating and terminal application. Among them, target manufacturing and sputtering coating are the key links in the whole sputtering target industry chain.
High purity and ultra-high purity metal materials are the basis of producing high-purity sputtering targets. For example, if the impurity content of sputtering target is too high, the film can not meet the required electrical properties. In the sputtering process, particles are easily formed on the wafer, which leads to short circuit or damage of circuit, which seriously affects the performance of the film. In general, high purity metal purification is divided into chemical purification and physical purification. In order to obtain higher purity metal materials and to remove impurities to the maximum extent, it is necessary to combine chemical purification with physical purification. After the metal is purified to a high purity, it is often necessary to mix other metal elements to put into use. In this process, it needs to be melted, alloying and casting steps: refining high-purity metals, removing excess gases such as oxygen and nitrogen, adding a small amount of alloy elements to fully combine with high-purity metals and distribute them evenly; finally, they are cast into non-existent ones The defective ingot meets the requirements of metal composition and size in the process of production and processing.
The sputtering target manufacturing process needs to be designed according to the performance requirements of downstream application field, then repeated plastic deformation and heat treatment are carried out. The key indexes such as grain and crystal direction need to be precisely controlled, and then the welding, machining, cleaning and drying, vacuum packaging and other processes are required. The process involved in sputter target manufacturing is fine and various. The process management and manufacturing technology level will directly affect the quality and yield of sputter target.
Sputtering coating refers to the process of sputtering and scattering when an object is impacted by ions. The sputtering target is the target material of high-speed charged particles bombarding because the object is sputtered and scattered is attached to the target substrate. This link is the most important link in the sputtering target industry chain, which requires the highest requirements for production equipment and technology. The quality of sputter film has an important influence on the quality of downstream products. During the sputtering coating process, the sputtering target needs to be installed in the machine to complete the sputtering reaction. The sputter platform has strong specificity and high precision. The market has been monopolized by multinational groups in the United States and Japan for a long time. The main equipment suppliers include famous enterprises in the industry such as Amat (USA), ULVAC (Japan), anelva (Japanese), Varian (USA), ULVAC (Japan).
Terminal application is to make end-user oriented products with packaged components according to various market demands, including automotive electronics, smart phones, tablet computers, home appliances and other terminal consumer electronics. Generally, after sputtering of semiconductor target, the silicon chip needs to be cut and chip package is needed. Packaging refers to the process of connecting the circuit with wires to the external connector to connect with other devices. It not only protects the chip, but also isolates the chip from the outside, preventing the impurities in the air from corroding the chip circuit and damaging the conductivity. In addition, the terminal application also includes the preparation of solar cells, optical coating, tool modification, high-end decorative products, etc. this link has a wide technical range and diversified features.
In the global scope, the number of enterprises involved in various links of sputter target industry chain is basically pyramid type distribution. The technology threshold of high purity sputter target manufacturing link is high, equipment investment is large, and the number of enterprises with large-scale production capacity is relatively small, mainly distributed in the United States, Japan and other countries and regions. Some enterprises carry out metal purification business at the same time, extending the industrial chain to the top In the field of tourism, some enterprises only have sputter target production capacity, and high purity metals need upstream enterprises to supply. The most high-end application of sputter target is in the field of VLSI chip manufacturing. Only a few companies in the United States and Japan (Nippon metals, Honeywell, Dongcao, and plexus) are engaged in relevant businesses, and are monopolized by multinational companies.
As the client of sputter target, there are relatively many enterprises with large-scale production capacity in sputtering coating process, but the quality is uneven. Famous enterprises such as the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea are in the leading position in technology, with high brand awareness and great market influence. Generally, the industrial chain will be extended to downstream application field, and the technology leading advantages and high-end brands will be used to quickly occupy End consumer markets, such as IBM, Philips, Toshiba, Samsung, etc.
The terminal application link is the largest area in the whole industry chain. The development and production of its products are scattered in various industries. At the same time, this link has the characteristics of labor intensive, and the largest number of enterprises participating in the project, the investment in machinery and equipment is generally, mainly in Japan, China, Chinese mainland and Taiwan. Transfer.
The industrial distribution of sputter target has certain regional characteristics. The industrial chain of multinational groups in the United States and Japan is complete, including metal purification, target manufacturing, sputtering coating and terminal application. It has the capacity of large-scale production, monopolizes and locks after mastering advanced technology, leading technological innovation and industrial development; South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan China have magnetic records The recording and optical film field has some special features. In addition, the chip and LCD panel industry in the above areas developed earlier, which made the division of services clear. It can provide professional OEM services such as welding, cleaning, packaging and other professional services for brand enterprises downstream of the industrial chain, and connect upstream basic materials and downstream terminal applications, which plays a role in supporting the development of upstream sputter target products and market expansion to a certain extent. However, target service providers in the above areas lack core technology and equipment, and the target blank still depends on the import of the United States and Japan in the core technology fields such as metal purification and organization control. Ultra high purity metal materials and sputtering target materials are also a new industry in China. Downstream sputtering coating and end users represented by chip manufacturers and LCD panel manufacturers are increasing their capacity. Globally, the trend of manufacturing of chips and LCD panels industry is shifting to mainland China. Chinese mainland is ushering in the investment peak in this field. Therefore, the market demand for high-end sputter target is growing rapidly.

The development of sputtering target industry in the world

Because the sputtering coating process originated from abroad, the required sputtering target products have high performance requirements and strong professional application. Therefore, the global sputtering target research and production has been mainly concentrated in a few companies in the United States and Japan for a long time, with a high concentration of industry. The sputtering target manufacturers represented by Honeywell (USA), Nippon metal (Japan), Dongcao (Japan) and other multinational groups have been involved in this field earlier. After decades of technological accumulation, with its strong technical force, fine production control and excellent product quality, they occupy the dominant position in the global sputtering target market, and occupy the majority of market share. After mastering the core technology of sputter target production, these enterprises have implemented extremely strict confidentiality measures, restricted the technology diffusion, and continuously expanded horizontally and vertically, expanded the business tentacles to various application fields of sputter coating, firmly grasped the initiative of the global sputtering target market, and led the technological progress of the global sputtering target industry.

The development of sputtering target industry in China

Due to the influence of development history and technology, sputtering target industry started late in China, and it is still a new industry. Compared with the sputter target produced by internationally famous enterprises, there is still a certain gap in the R &amp; D and production technology of sputter target in China, and the market influence is relatively limited. Especially in the fields of semiconductor chip, flat panel display, solar cell, etc., the global high purity sputtering target market is still controlled or monopolized by the sputtering target manufacturers in the United States and Japan. With the development of sputtering target towards higher purity and larger size, only by continuous R &amp; D innovation and strong product development capability, can Chinese sputter target manufacturers have a place in the global sputtering target market only by continuously developing and innovating, and having strong product development ability.
Downstream industries such as semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, solar cells and other downstream industries have high requirements on product quality and stability. In order to strictly control the product quality, downstream customers, especially the world famous manufacturers, have high barriers to qualification and long certification period when selecting suppliers. In order to enter the international market, the high-purity sputter target enterprises in China must first pass the industrial quality management system standards set up by some international organizations and trade associations for high-purity sputter target. For example, semiconductor manufacturers applied to automotive electronics generally require upstream sputtering target suppliers to pass iso/ts16949 quality management system certification and be applied to the production of sputtering target of electrical equipment The supplier needs to meet the RoHS mandatory standards formulated by the EU; secondly, the downstream famous customers such as semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, solar cells and other downstream customers have established a perfect customer certification system. On the basis of the high purity sputter target supplier meeting the certification of the industry quality management system, downstream customers will often meet their own quality management requirements and then pass the supplier Supplier certification. The certification process mainly includes several stages, such as technical review, product quotation, sample testing, small batch trial and mass production. The certification process is quite harsh. From the development of new products to the realization of mass supply, the whole process generally takes 2-3 years. In order to reduce the development and maintenance cost of suppliers and ensure the continuity of product quality, after the sputtering target supplier passes the qualification certification of downstream customers, the downstream customers will maintain a long-term and stable cooperation relationship with the sputtering target suppliers, and will not easily replace the suppliers, and incline to the high-quality suppliers in terms of technical cooperation and supply share.
In recent years, thanks to the sustained support of the state in the development and application of electronic materials industry from a strategic high level, a small number of enterprises specialized in R &amp; D and production of high-purity sputter target have been developed in China, and a number of sputter targets which can adapt to the high-end application field have been successfully developed, which provides a good R &amp; D basis and market conditions for large-scale industrialization of high-purity sputter target. By industrialization of the research and development achievements of sputter target and actively participating in the international market competition of sputter target, the sputtering target production enterprises in China have made great progress in technology and market, which has changed the disadvantage of high purity sputtering target relying on import for a long time. At present, domestic enterprises such as Jiangfeng Co., Ltd. have mastered the key technologies of high purity sputter target production, accumulated rich industrial experience, had a certain market reputation and obtained the recognition of well-known customers around the world.

Market capacity and development trend of sputter target

Sputtering technology is the mainstream technology of thin film material preparation, and it has a wide range of applications, such as integrated circuit, flat panel display, solar cell, information storage, tool modification, optical coating, electronic devices, high-end decorative products and other industries. High purity sputter target is mainly used in the fields with higher requirements for material purity and stability, such as integrated circuit, flat panel display, solar cell, recording media, intelligent glass and other industries.
Since 1990s, with the rapid development of consumer electronics and other terminal applications, the market scale of high purity sputter target is expanding day by day, showing a high-speed growth momentum. According to statistics, the annual sales volume of the world high purity sputter target market in 2015 was about 9.48 billion US dollars. It is predicted that the market size of the world sputtering target will exceed US $16billion in the next five years, and the annual composite growth rate of high purity sputter target market size can reach 13%.
At present, high purity sputter target products are mainly used in semiconductor industry, flat panel display industry and solar cell industry. The market capacity and development trend of these fields are as follows:
(1) Semiconductor industry
High purity sputter target is rising with the development of semiconductor industry. IC industry has become one of the main application fields of high purity sputtering target. With the rapid development of information technology, the integration of IC is required to be higher and higher, and the size of the unit devices in the circuit is shrinking. Each unit is composed of substrate, insulation layer, dielectric layer, conductor layer and protective layer. Among them, the sputtering coating process is used for dielectric layer, conductor layer and even protection layer. Therefore, sputtering target is one of the core materials for the preparation of integrated circuit. The target materials for coating in the field of integrated circuit mainly include aluminum target, titanium target, copper target, tantalum target, tungsten titanium target, etc. the target purity is very high, generally more than 5N (99.999%).
The global semiconductor market fell into a comprehensive recession in 2009 due to the financial crisis in 2008. In 2009, the global semiconductor sales volume was only US $226.31 billion, down 8.90% year on year. Since then, the global semiconductor market rebounded rapidly. In 2010, the total sales volume of the global semiconductor market was about 29.83 billion US dollars, up 31.82% compared with the same period last year. From 2011 to 2014, the global semiconductor market maintained a steady growth rate of 3.88% per year, and the sales volume reached US $335.8 billion in 2014. The global semiconductor market size in 2015 was basically the same as that in 2014. According to the world semiconductor trade statistics Organization (WSTS), the global semiconductor industry market size will continue to grow in 2016 and 2017, with growth rates of 0.3% and 3.1% respectively. Overall, in recent years, the global semiconductor market is still in a stable rise.
With the continuous growth of semiconductor demand in the end consumption fields such as smart phones, tablet computers, automobile electronics, especially the close combination of consumer electronics products with the Internet and mobile Internet, the application of mobile phones, tablet computers, smart TV and other network access terminal products continues to expand, thus further improving the semiconductor market capacity. It is expected that the global semiconductor market will be in the global market In the future, it will maintain a sustained growth trend. Chip industry is the basic industry of big data, cloud computing and Internet. The rapid development of these industries has brought strong market demand for chips. Due to the variety of sputtering target materials required by semiconductor industry and large demand of each kind, stable downstream market growth will effectively promote the expansion of sputter target sales scale.
According to the statistics of the international semiconductor equipment and Materials Association (semii), the global semiconductor material sales in 2015 was 43.5 billion US dollars, including 24.2 billion dollars in wafer manufacturing materials and US $19.3 billion in packaging materials. Among wafer manufacturing materials, sputtering target accounts for about 2.6% of the chip manufacturing material market. Among the packaging test materials, sputtering target accounts for about 2.7% of the packaging test material market. In 2015, the global sales of sputter target for semiconductor was US $1.14 billion.
With the rapid development of domestic electronic product manufacturing industry, the market potential of semiconductor industry in China is huge. After years of introduction and large-scale investment, China has initially formed the industrial outline from design, pre process to post packaging. Driven by the overall growth of the global semiconductor market, China’s semiconductor market has entered a high-speed growth track. The scale of semiconductor market in China increased from 172.7 billion yuan in 2006 to 387.3 billion yuan in 2013, with an increase of 124.26%, and the annual composite growth rate was about 12.23% in the period.
The continuous development of semiconductor industry in China also lays a good foundation for the development of semiconductor manufacturing material market. In 2015, the market scale of semiconductor manufacturing materials in China reached 6.12 billion US dollars. The sputtering target for IC is one of the semiconductor manufacturing materials. In 2015, the market scale of sputter target for IC in China was 1.16 billion yuan, and it is expected that the market scale of domestic semiconductor sputtering target will exceed 1.4 billion yuan in 2016.
With the technology of domestic sputter target mature, especially the domestic sputter target has high cost performance advantage, and conforms to the policy guidance of localization of sputter target, the market scale of sputter target in China will be further expanded, and more customers’ recognition and market share will be further improved in the global market.
(2) Flat panel display industry (including touch screen industry)
The flat panel display mainly includes liquid crystal display (LCD), plasma display (PDP), field electroluminescent display (EL), field emission display (FED). Among them, the market application is mainly liquid crystal display. In recent years, LCD has gradually replaced cathode ray tube display as the mainstream display technology in the world, and has been widely used in the flat display market. The main application fields include high-definition TV, laptop, desktop computer display and other electronic products. Flat panel display is composed of metal electrode, transparent guide electrode, insulation layer and light emitting layer. In order to ensure the uniformity of large area film, improve productivity and reduce cost, sputtering technology is increasingly used to prepare these films. The main types of target materials for flat display coating are chromium target, molybdenum target, aluminum target, aluminum alloy target, copper target, copper alloy target and ITO target.
From the perspective of the development trend of global LCD market, the main driving force of tablet growth is from the application growth in developed markets (including North America, Japan and Western Europe). According to DisplaySearch forecast, the shipment volume of tablet computers in developed markets will increase from 800 million in 2012 to 254million in 2017. Because the size of sputtering target for LCD is generally large, the stable and fast growth rate of LCD panel delivery will provide a wider development space for sputtering target manufacturers.
In the field of global liquid crystal display, with the decline of Japanese brand influence, the market position of Korean and Taiwan manufacturers is becoming more and more prominent. Among them, South Korea takes LG and Samsung as representative, LG has been ranked the first in the global LCD panel delivery volume for a period of time through continuous innovation, while Taiwan, China, is a region with strong LCD technology and high industrialization. As one of the largest demand places for LCD panel in China, China mainly imports from Korea, Taiwan and other countries and regions. To solve the source of LCD panel has already involved the industrial safety of China.
The Chinese mainland has entered the field of LCD since the 80s of last century and has been following the development of LCD technology closely. Under the guidance of government policies and industry support, China’s mainland LCD industry has developed rapidly. At present, it has become a major LCD panel production country in the world, and has successively formed local brands with greater market influence represented by BOE, shentianma, Huaxing optoelectronics, etc. In recent years, South Korea and Japan, the traditional LCD panel manufacturing powers, in order to reduce manufacturing costs and other factors, have increased their investment and set up factories in mainland China to enhance the global market competitiveness by means of industrial transfer. Therefore, in recent years, the scale of domestic flat panel display industry has grown rapidly. After Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, it has become the fastest growing area of flat panel display industry.
Data show that in 2015, the overall scale of China’s flat panel display device industry reached 119.06 billion yuan, an increase of 23.7% year on year. Looking at China’s flat panel display industry in 2015, although the growth rate of the industry has declined compared with 2014, with the successive completion and commissioning of BOE Chongqing 8.5 generation line, Huaxing optoelectronics Shenzhen 8.5 generation line phase II and CLP panda Nanjing 8.5 generation line, and many production lines put into operation in 2014 have passed the climbing period and entered the production period, the overall industrial scale is still maintained compared with the same period in 2014 Rapid growth.
In 2016, China’s flat panel display industry developed rapidly with the help of a series of investments, and the investment in TFT-LCD industry entered a new climax. The investment in OLED by BOE, Huaxing optoelectronics, Hopewell optoelectronics and other panel enterprises is also very eye-catching.
Based on the consideration of product price, procurement localization and other factors, China’s LCD panel manufacturers began to selectively cooperate with local excellent sputtering target manufacturers, and expect to establish long-term partnership, which provides favorable market conditions for the rapid development of China’s sputtering target industry. According to the data of China Electronic Materials Industry Association, from 2013 to 2015, the global sputtering target market for flat panel display was US $2.95 billion, US $3.14 billion and US $3.38 billion respectively. Among them, the market scale of sputtering targets for flat panel display in China in 2013, 2014 and 2015 were 3.94 billion yuan, 5.5 billion yuan and 6.93 billion yuan respectively.

Industry competition pattern

(1) Multinational companies have obvious competitive advantages and are in a leading position in the industry
High purity sputtering target is rising with the development of semiconductor industry. It is a typical technology intensive industry with high technology content and strong specificity of R &amp; D and production equipment. With the deepening of technological innovation in semiconductor industry, semiconductor manufacturers represented by the United States and Japan need to strengthen their innovation in the upstream raw materials, so as to maximize the advanced technology of semiconductor products. Therefore, the semiconductor industry in the United States and Japan has produced a group of manufacturers of high-purity sputtering targets and is currently in the leading position in the global market. To a certain extent, the regional agglomeration of the global semiconductor industry creates a high concentration of high-purity sputtering target manufacturers. Since its birth, the high-purity sputtering target manufacturers represented by the United States and Japan have implemented strict confidentiality measures on the core technology, resulting in the sputtering target industry showing obvious regional agglomeration characteristics on a global scale. The production enterprises are mainly concentrated in the United States and Japan.
All over the world, TNCs with strong capital, advanced technology and rich industrial experience, such as Nichi metal, Honeywell, Dongcao, praxax, Sumitomo chemical, and Aifake, are the leading companies in the global high-purity sputtering target industry. They are the traditional strong enterprises of sputtering target, and firmly occupy the global market position with their strong technology R &amp; D strength and market influence The vast majority of the target market share, leading the development of the global sputtering target industry, promote the progress of industry technology.
(2) With the rise of domestic professional manufacturers, the gap with multinational companies has gradually narrowed.
In the domestic market, the high-purity sputtering target industry started late, and the main high-purity sputtering target production enterprises are invested by state-owned capital and a small number of private capital. Limited by technology, capital and talents, the number of domestic manufacturers specializing in high-purity sputtering target materials is still relatively small, and the enterprise scale and technical level are uneven. Most domestic manufacturers are still in the state of small enterprise scale, low technical level and scattered industrial layout. The market is still in the initial stage of development, mainly focusing on low-end products for competition, especially in the semiconductor core However, relying on the guidance of industrial policy and the advantage of product price, it has occupied a certain market share in the domestic market and gradually occupied the market space of international manufacturers in individual products or fields.
After several years of scientific and technological research and industrial application, at present, domestic high-purity sputtering target production enterprises have gradually broken through the key technology threshold, and have the large-scale production capacity of some products. Their overall strength has been continuously enhanced, and they have formed professional high-purity sputtering target manufacturers represented by our company and your new materials. They are experiencing a period of rapid development and rising momentum It has broken the disadvantageous situation that the core technology of sputtering target is monopolized by foreign countries and the product supply completely needs to be imported, continuously made up for the technical defects of domestic similar products, further improved the development chain of sputtering target industry, and actively participated in international technical exchanges and market competition.

China Sputtering Target Manufacturer www.steeljrv.com

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