Development of a Novel High-Intensity Metal Ion Source for Plasma Immersion Implantation and Deposition, 18-9292

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Principal Investigator
Ronghua Wei

Inclusive Dates: 01/01/02 - 12/01/02

Background - In combating wear, corrosion, and fatigue failure, many plasma- and ion beam-based technologies have been developed. Some have been moved from research laboratories to manufacturing environments and applied to actual components. Metal plasma immersion ion implantation (MPIII) and metal plasma immersion ion processing (MPIIP) are two variations of a novel technology being developed at SwRI. This technology combines a new embodiment of a metal ion source technology with the PIII and PIIP technology presently practiced at SwRI. This new capability will enable SwRI to greatly increase its ability to address practical problems that cannot be solved otherwise.

Approach - This project consists of two stages. The first stage, development of a high-intensity, robust metal ion source, is crucial to the success to the entire project. The second stage is the development of the MPII and MPIIP. The new metal ion source is based on the principles of intense plasma generation and confinement using a magnetic field and of high-density electron production and extraction to the crucible to produce metal ions. All components of the ion source are made of graphite to withstand the extremely high temperature. At the beginning of the operation, Ar is used to start the plasma. After the temperature is high enough to evaporate the metal in the crucible, Ar can be turned off, and the ion source can be run on pure metal. Then a high voltage is applied to extract the ions from the ion source to perform PIII or PIIP.

Accomplishments - So far, the team has completed restructuring the vacuum chamber, designing and fabricating all the components of the ion source, and installing the ion source in the vacuum system. The team has also conducted preliminary runs on the metal ion source. Researchers have been able to heat the crucible to a high temperature – red hot  – and generate ions with both Ar and metal as shown in the illustration.


Ar + Cr plasma generated by the metal ion source

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