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Hummer V Sputter Coater: hummer

The Technics Hummer V is a manually controlled table top sputter system used for depositing a conductive coating for visualizing SEM samples. The sputter deposition process is typically more uniform and reproducible, and yields more adherent films with finer grains than in comparable evaporation systems. Currently we have installed a new Palladium (Pd) Target into this system which will deposit very fine grained thin film coatings that are not easily resolved in the Hitachi SEM's. Can also be employed for excellent reduction of sample surface charging on insulating substrates for Electron Beam Lithography. This is not a thick film sputter coater and should not be employed for depositions greater than 1000 Angstroms.

Process Capabilities

Potential Hazards

Although the Hummer V Sputter Coater can be operated in a safe manner if appropriate procedures and safety precautions are followed, it is important to realize that there are a number of potential hazards associated with the operation and maintenance of this equipment.


High Voltage

The Hummer V Coater uses high voltage to sputter metal or insulators onto a sample, so that care must be taken not to come into contact with the pedestal or target while the High Voltage Switch is on.  The high voltage power supply is interlocked and will not energize when the sample chamber is at atmosphere.


Operating Procedures

Emergency Shut-Down Procedures

In the event of an emergency, the HummerV Gold Coater should be shut down by:

  • Turning the POWER ON/OFF toggle switch to the OFF position. This cuts off the electricity to the machine.
  • DECREASE the flow of Argon to the chamber by turning the Pressure Control Valve.


Initial Conditions Check List

Main Power Switch: OFF
High Voltage Switch: OFF
Voltage Control: 0
Process Control Mode: MANUAL
Vent Valve, N2: CLOSED
Process Control: DECREASE-OFF
Mode Selector: D.C. PLATE



Palladium Coating Deposition Parameters

Deposit conductive Palladium Thin film for excellent SEM imaging on insulating samples.

Deposit conductive Palladium Thin film for excellent reduction of sample surface charging on insulating substrates for Electron Beam Lithography.

  1. Load sample onto pedestal and close lid on bell jar.
  2. Start pump and pump for 10 – 15 minutes to reach vacuum below 150 mT.
  3. Flow N2 gas to ~ 200 mT for 1 – 2 minutes.
  4. Turn off N2 Flow and allow to return to base pressure.  ~ < 150 mT down to ultimate base of 80 mT.
  5. Flow N2 gas to between 120 to 130 mT and allow to stabilize for 2 min. (Note: If the system will not pump to <150 mt simply use 150 mt and allow a longer deposition time.)
  6. Turn on HIGH Voltage switch and slowly increase voltage until plasma ignites and set to 10 – 20 mA current to deposit Carbon onto sample.  Voltage dial set to typically to between 10 and 11.

DO NOT EXCEED 20 mA current, or you will blow out the antique rectifier!!!


Deposition rate is very slow about 80 - 100 Å / minute.  We have no recent calibrate thickness to power data.

Recommend 1 - 2 minutes or more coating time for best thin film for SEM imaging on Quartz, SiO2, Si3N4, or on polymeric thin films or any insulating substrates.



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