Physical Plasma etching process. Basically this is the same process also designated ⇒ ion etching. Preferably argon process gas is applied for sputtering.

The designation sputtering usually is used, if not anisotropic etching in order to generate geometric structures is the purpose for the physical etching but removing surface material from a substrate.

An important application of sputtering is related to PVD processes. 

Physical etching
Layout of a Plasma system for physical etching processes.


To execute a PVD process a plasma system layout optimizied for ion etching is used:

The substrate positioned in contact to the active electrode is called target. It is a bulk of solid material intended for deposition onto a second substrate: Atoms and molecules of the target are stroke from the target and are transported to the second target. There they condense to a solid film coating this substrate with a surface layer of completely new performance.

In the PVD coating process molecules from a target are transfered into a gaseous phase by sputtering from a target