Simulation and optimization of film thickness uniformity in physical vapor deposition

Ben Wang, Fu Xiuhua, Shigeng Song, Hin On Chu, Desmond Gibson, Cheng Li, Yongjing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
164 Downloads (Pure)


Optimization of thin film uniformity is an important aspect for large-area coatings, particularly for optical coatings where error tolerances can be of the order of nanometers. Physical vapor deposition is a widely used technique for producing thin films. Applications include anti-reflection coatings, photovoltaics etc. This paper reviews the methods and simulations used for improving thin film uniformity in physical vapor deposition (both evaporation and sputtering), covering characteristic aspects of emission from material sources, projection/mask effects on film thickness distribution, as well as geometric and rotational influences from apparatus configurations. Following the review, a new program for modelling and simulating thin film uniformity for physical vapor deposition was developed using MathCAD. Results from the program were then compared with both known theoretical analytical equations of thickness distribution and experimental data, and found to be in good agreement. A mask for optimizing thin film thickness distribution designed using the program was shown to improve thickness uniformity from ±4% to ±0.56%
Original languageEnglish
Article number325
Number of pages27
Volume2018 (8)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2018


  • thin film uniformity
  • physical vapour deposition
  • thin film modelling
  • thickness distribution


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