DC Magnetron Sputter Coater

Posted by Chia-yu Chen on

Sputter coating has been widely applied to SEM sample preparation to make non-conductive sample conductive. It is a process for coating thin film on substrate in a vacuum chamber. Factors such as target materials, vacuum pressure and other process parameters can affect film performance. Therefore, selecting a suitable sputter coater is critical.

Base pressure

Base pressure is an initial vacuum pressure of the chamber. The purpose of vacuum is to remove air contaminants(N2, O2, CO2). Lower vacuum pressure can increase sputtering rate and prevent the target from oxidizing, but high vacuum level usually requires higher cost. Therefore, it is important to select a suitable sputter coater based on application requirements.

For example, some precious metals such as gold sputtering which can be conducted at a modest vacuum condition since gold is not reactive to oxygen. On the contrary, for conventional metals such as aluminum which is sensitive to oxygen, it requires high vacuum system to remove oxygen contaminants because aluminum will be oxidized and form aluminum oxide on the surface of the target.  

MSE Supplies offers two types of DC magnetron sputter coaters: Mini coater and High vacuum sputter coater. Mini coater is widely used in sputter coating gold film for SEM sample preparation. High vacuum sputter coater is mainly used in FE-SEM sample preparation for high resolution image. Besides precious metal coating, conventional metal such as Cr, W, Al etc. coating can also be achieved by using High vacuum sputter coater.



Mini Coater

High Vacuum Sputter coater

Vacuum limit

High (2 Pa)

Low (10-2 Pa)

Working pressure

Hight (5-10 Pa)

Low (0.5-2 Pa)




Target selections

Precious metal: Au, Pt, Pd

Precious metal: Au, Pt, Pd, Pt/Pd

Conventional metal: Cr, W, Al etc.


SEM ample preparation

FE-SEM sample preparation


MSE Supplies ( is a major global supplier of sputtering targets. Both standard and customized products are available from MSE Supplies. If you need something not listed on our website, please email us at and we will prepare a quote for the customized products for you.  If you have any questions, please email us at

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