Ion Sources

Gridless End-Hall Ion Sources

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The End-Hall products output a high current and a low energy beam. The ion current meets specifications for high process rates, while the low energy ion bombardment eliminates damage to surfaces and interfaces.

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Kaufman & Robinson incorporates its patented end-Hall (eH) technology into a product line of gridless plasma-ion sources. The eH technology produces and controls ion species with specific energy, chemical reactivity, current density, and trajectory. The end-Hall (eH) product line consists of an ion source portfolio which spans a variety of physical sizes and performance specifications.

Kaufman & Robinson offers a comprehensive end-Hall (eH) product package. The package is complete with components required to install and operate the end-Hall (eH) products, including the ion-plasma source, electron source, power supply controller, mass flow controller, vacuum feedthroughs, and cables.

The eH packages are configurable to suit installation platforms. These configurations can be integrated into numerous vacuum process platforms, including bell jar systems, box coaters, load lock cluster tools, web coaters, rotary / low profile sputtering systems, and in-line coaters.

The eH products are applied in standard and emerging material processes. The ability to work at the atomic level make these products effective tools needed to engineer films and surfaces with nanometer precision. Whether its density compaction, stress control, optical transmission, resistivity, smooth interfaces, or improved adhesion, the eH technology is responsible for yielding many beneficial material properties.

Typical applications of the eH-ion sources are

  • Ion beam assisted deposition in thermal & e-beam evaporation (IBAD)
  • Ion beam assisted deposition in magnetron sputtering (IBAD)
  • In-situ preclean in sputtering & evaporation (PC)
  • Surface modification and activation (SM)
  • Direct deposition of thin hard or functional coatings (DD)
  • Low energy ion beam etching (LIBE)
  • Biased target ion beam sputter deposition (BTIBSD)
Discharge powermax 200 Wmax 400 Wmax 850 Wmax 1700 Wmax 3000 W
Anode current2 A3,5 A8 A10 A20 A
Ion current @ Anode current500 mA @ 2 A875 mA @ 3,5 A2000 mA @ 8 A2500 mA @ 10 A6000 mA @ 20 A
Discharge voltage300 V max300 V max300 V max300 V max250 V max
Mean energy35 - 210 eV35 - 210 eV35 - 210 eV35 - 210 eV35 - 200 eV
Gas flow1 - 20 sccm1 - 50 sccm1 - 100 sccm1 - 100 sccm1 - 150 sccm
Operating power< 1 x 10-3 mbar< 1 x 10-3 mbar< 1 x 10-3 mbar< 1 x 10-3 mbar< 1 x 10-3 mbar

Divergent Beam

From the plasma discharge, ions accelerate into a beam with a divergent ion current flux. The half maximum-half angle exceeds a 45º angle from the source axis. The divergent beam from an eH product covers a large area. The capability to uniformly cover a wide process zone facilitates high throughput operation, since a process run with a large load of parts or large substrate area becomes practical with an eH product.


The eH product technology relies on a gridless construction. The ions accelerate directly from the plasma discharge to form the beam. The gridless eH technology complements our gridded ion source products, because it produces desirable beam properties not easily available with gridded sources. Other benefits of the eH gridless feature, include no need to maintain, align or replace grids. The eH products are rugged and simple to operate. And they typically cost less than their gridded counterparts.

High Density DC Discharge

The sources utilize a well-proven and efficient plasma generation process. In the discharge chamber, a cathode thermionically emits a reliable source of electrons. The electrons are attracted to a DC biased metal anode. The neutral gas species is efficiently ionized due to a confining magnetic field. This mechanism produces a high density plasma of many gases, including Ar, Xe, O2, N2 and other reactive gases.

Low Energy & High Current Output

The eH products output a high current and low energy beam. The high ion current meets critical arrival ratios for high process rates. Also, the high current enables productive processing on tough, hard materials. While the low energy ion bombardment eliminates damage to surfaces and interfaces. The capability to process at low energies has proven merit when working with delicate materials.

Non-immersed neutralizers

The standard neutralizer configuration is an inexpensive refractory metal filament stretched across the ion beam. The filament is heated to thermionic emission temperature. The filament neutralizer may be replaced with an alternative non-immersed neutralizer. The non-immersed neutralizer sits to the side of the source and outside the ion beam. When the neutralizer is outside the beam, the time between maintenance is significantly longer for the non-immersed neutralizer versus the filament neutralizer. This non-immersed configuration is suited for low frequency maintenance installations and long operational runs when it is important to minimize the risk of process interruption.

Quick Change Anode Module

The eH Product incorporates our patented quick- change anode module assembly. The anode module can be quickly removed from the ion source for maintenance, while the source body remains in the chamber. The anode module is light weight and interchangeable. By simply exchanging the working anode module with a spare module, the eH product can be ready to run within minutes. The removed anode module can be easily maintained on a work bench while your vacuum chamber continues to be productive. The uptime benefits are significant.

Stable Neutralization

The product line provides a dedicated and regulated electron source neutralizer. With a reliable source of electrons, the products can process dielectric, electrically isolated, and electrostatic sensitive substrates. The amount of electrons is precisely controlled to match positive charges. The correct amount electrons are present in the ion beam and they arrive at the substrate surface to provide an electrically neutral process. The operation does not need to rely on an ambiguous source of electrons such as exposed and conductive chamber hardware. Coating build-up and stray electromagnetic fields, which may be present in the vacuum chamber, will not disturb the ion beam quality, stability or neutralization of the products. However, in the case, when the neutralization process is not so critical, the products do allow operation without the neutralizer.