A method and apparatus are described for very low pressure high powered magnetron sputtering of a coating onto a substrate. By the method of this invention, both substrate and coating target material are placed into an evacuable chamber, and the chamber pumped to vacuum. Thereafter a series of high impulse voltage pulses are applied to the target. Nearly simultaneously with each pulse, in one embodiment, a small cathodic arc source of the same material as the target is pulsed, triggering a plasma plume proximate to the surface of the target to thereby initiate the magnetron sputtering process. In another embodiment the plasma plume is generated using a pulsed laser aimed to strike an ablation target material positioned near the magnetron target surface.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
The invention described and claimed herein was made in part utilizing funds supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098, and more recently under DE-AC02-05CH11231. The government has certain rights in this invention.