To: All About Aluminum Sputtering Targets

All About Aluminum Sputtering Targets

All About Aluminum Sputtering Targets
  • Aluminum sputtering targets are used extensively in the aerospace, automotive lighting, and optical industries due to their excellent electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and reflective properties.
  • A good understanding of aluminum sputtering target manufacturing processes and specifications is essential for quality assurance and efficiency in applications.
  • With cleaner production methods and careful selection, it is possible to procure high-quality, pure aluminum sputtering targets, which enhance the overall performance of the thin films they help create.
  • You must consider several factors when buying aluminum sputtering targets, including grain size, purity, and price.
  • The semiconductor industry uses aluminum sputtering targets to create conductive layers in chips and circuitry.
Sputtering targets provide a way to apply a thin material layer onto a substrate — a fundamental process in many industries. One of the most common metals used is aluminum. Using the right target material is important not only to ensure the quality of the end product but also to optimize efficiency and reduce costs.

What is an Aluminum Sputtering Target?

Aluminum sputtering targets are mounted onto vacuum coating machines to deposit a thin layer of aluminum onto a selected substrate. This directly impacts the performance of the resulting film. Substrates typically include glass, silicon, and metals.
Aluminum sputtering targets have high purity. They are usually disk-like or planar but can also be columnar, stepped, or custom shaped, depending on requirements. Since they are produced in large quantities, maintaining high quality standards is fundamental. This involves ensuring the appropriate purity levels and focusing on particle formation during the PVD process.

Aluminum Sputtering Target Manufacturing Processes

The manufacturing process begins with obtaining high purity aluminum ingots. The ingots undergo a series of treatments, including forging, rolling, and heating, which refine the crystal grains within the ingot. This process increases the density of the target material to suit sputtering requirements.
Care is taken to ensure high precision and quality, keeping in mind the critical nature of the films the targets will form. After this, the high purity aluminum is processed into the sizes required for the vacuum coater.
Further treatments are applied for enhanced electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance. These treatments include alloying with other metals, like copper, chromium, silver, or tin, to form an alloy target with boosted properties. This process tailors the targets to suit the specific requirements of different industries.
Today, you can expect finer grain size and improved density in your targets thanks to enhancements in bonding techniques due to modern production technology. This optimization positively impacts the mechanical properties and performance of the end product.
The entire manufacturing process undergoes stringent quality control measures, as the properties of the sputtering target directly affect the performance of the deposited film and play a pivotal role in the product's service life and performance.

Specifications and Physical Properties

Aluminum sputtering targets have some specific characteristics. For instance, aluminum has a melting point of 660 °C and a vapor pressure of 10-4 Torr at 1,010 °C. Its thermal conductivity is 235 W/m.K.



Material Type




Atomic Weight


Atomic Number



2.7 g/cc


Silvery, Metallic

Thermal Conductivity

235 W/m.K

Melting Point


Coefficient of Expansion

23.1 x 10-6/K

Max Power Density

150 Watts/Square Inch

Under normal conditions, aluminum is light, malleable, ductile, and non-magnetic. It forms a corrosion-resistant oxide layer, which enhances its applicability in conditions where corrosion resistance is desirable. It’s also a good conductor of heat and electricity. As with most metals, the purity of an aluminum sputtering target dramatically affects its conductivity and other properties, hence necessitating high purity levels — typically 99.99% or more.

The Importance of Aluminum Sputtering Targets 

In semiconductor and electronics fabrication, aluminum targets are often used to apply thin film coatings on surfaces. This takes advantage of the metal's properties to benefit the device operation. Furthermore, aluminum has a low melting point, high thermal and electrical conductivity, and is non-magnetic under normal conditions, which makes it ideal for these sensitive applications.
The value of aluminum targets comes out when the metal 'sputters': when it is exposed to evaporation sources in a vacuum, the aluminum forms a reflective coating. This feature is useful in automotive headlamps, telescopes, mirror packages, and toys for enhancing their light-reflective properties and durability. An industry like OLED, which demands particular optical properties and thermal control, often uses aluminum sputtering targets. In aerospace industries, aluminum targets are used to apply protective coatings that withstand extreme conditions, which contributes to safer and more efficient aircraft operation.

Buying Considerations

Sourcing aluminum sputtering targets requires several considerations. Key factors include the target's purity, grain size, price, and delivery conditions. These aspects influence the efficiency of the sputtering process and the quality of the films produced.
High purity levels ensure fewer contaminants, leading to smoother finishes and improved performance. Smaller grains enhance the uniformity of deposition, which is important in applications such as chip manufacturing or precision optics. Another critical factor is cost — higher purity grades and specialized grain sizes are more expensive. Lastly, it’s important to look for a reliable supplier, who will commit to a fast delivery and agree to meet required specifications.

Applications of Aluminum Sputtering Targets 

Aluminum sputtering targets have varied applications across different industries. In particular, they are an integral part of the semiconductor industry, where they serve in the manufacture of conductive layers for chips and circuits. Many everyday commercial products rely on thin film coatings derived from aluminum sputtering targets.
Aluminum Sputtering Targets in the Semiconductor Industry
In the semiconductor industry, the robust electrical conductivity properties of aluminum sputtering targets facilitate the creation of conductive layers in chips and circuitry:
  • The process supports miniaturization by enabling the precise deposition of thin layers of aluminum. This meets strict specifications for nano-scale semiconductor devices.
  • Aluminum sputtering targets contribute to the development of integrated circuits by facilitating the formation of the conductive pathways integral to microchip functioning.
  • The high purity of aluminum sputtering prevents contamination and defects that can lead to chip failures.
  • In advanced transistors, these targets create a thin barrier layer between copper and silicon.

Frequently-Asked Questions

These frequently-asked questions will help you find the right aluminum sputtering target for you.

What is Normal Thickness for Sputtering Target?

For the majority of applications, sputtering target thickness ranges from between 3 to 6 millimeters. However, specific thickness requirements often depend on the application, the type of coating system, and the desired characteristics of the resultant thin film.

How Do I Choose the Right Aluminum Sputtering Target for my Application?

To choose the right aluminum sputtering target, focus on factors such as purity, grain size, dimensions, and cost. A comprehensive understanding of your specific application needs is essential for selecting a target that will suit your process, equipment, and budget.

How Do I Ensure the Quality and Purity of the Target?

Suppliers usually ensure quality and purity of their aluminum sputtering targets through documentation that validates the chemical composition and properties of the metal. Moreover, operating under stringent quality control measures during the manufacturing process aids in maintaining a high degree of purity and consistency in the targets.


An aluminum sputtering target is a consistent, reliable, and efficient material for creating high-quality thin films for various substrates. The superior characteristics, such as excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, resistance against corrosion, affordability, and the capability to form an oxide layer resistant to corrosion, make aluminum sputtering targets the preferred choice over other options.
Whether they’re enabling the manufacture of high-performance semiconductor devices, contributing to the reflective properties of automotive headlamps, or lending durability to aerospace components, aluminum sputtering targets are providing an essential role behind the scenes. Purchasing these targets involves careful consideration of several aspects, including purity, grain size, price, and delivery conditions. All these directly impact the efficiency of the target.
As technology advances, the demand for improved, customized sputtering targets will continue to rise, driving progress in manufacturing techniques, purity levels, and grain refinement. Investing in high-quality targets is thus crucial: it paves the way for a higher-quality end product while optimizing efficiency and reducing costs.