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Common targets and corresponding color

1. Golden Color Series

Ti series:

Ti       TiN

Ti+Au    TiN+Au

Ti+Zr    TiZrN


Zr          ZrN

Zr+Au    ZrN+Au

Hf        HfN

2.Black Color Series

Ti series:

Ti        TiCN

Ti (C, O)

TiAl    TiAlN

Ti50Al50    black

Ti30Al70    dark

TiAl (C, O, N)


Si          SixNy

CrAl     CrAlC



Nb     NbOx

The Ti-Al alloy target is usually used as a functional film. When it is used as decoration, there are several problems:

  1. the film itself has high internal stress, so it has poor adhesion to the three dimensional surface of the workpiece.
  2. The proportion of Ti and Al in the target is difficult to be realized in the production of the target material, which is expected to be in the circle. The equipment of the target is realized by adjusting the sputtering power ratio between the two targets of Ti and Al in the vacuum chamber, and greatly reducing the cost of the target.

3.Blue Color Series

Interference Color:

Ti, Cr, Zr, Al, In


TiAl   TiAlN


4.Rare elements boride and its color:

ZrB2   silver grey

ZrB12   silver grey

ZrBN   silver grey

LaB6    deep violet

CeB6    blue

SmB6    blue

YB6    silver grey

5.Rare element carbides and their colors:

BeC    red

MnC   black

NbC   light tea color

TaC    all brown

LaN   black

HfN   yellowish brown

WN   Brown

MnN   black

The production of target materials and their compounds is the most widely used in Ti, Cr, Ni and other targets, and then into nitrogen and acetylene to form some colors. Therefore, the process adjustment is the most convenient way for the development of the sputter target color.

common target color

PVD couplet:

The color of the film formed by the interaction of grain boundaries, or the interaction of free electrons and photons, is strongly dependent on the chemical composition and grain structure of the film.

The microstructure of the film is highly disordered and the grain is nanoscale, and some micro defects, such as holes, interstitial atoms, and impurities, lead to their electronic properties, and the corresponding optical properties are different from those of the bulk materials.

Color stability of PVD targets film (as an example of ZrN)

PVD coating

The longer the exposure time of the coated products in the air is, the more serious the oxidation is, especially for the smaller proportion of metal elements in the coating.

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global sputtering target manufacturer established in 1994. For more information, please visit https://www.sputtertargets.net/.

About the author

Julissa Green graduated from the University of Texas studying applied chemistry. She started her journalism life as a chemistry specialist in Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) since 2016 and she has been fascinated by this fast growing industry ever since. If you have any particular topics of interest, or you have any questions, you can reach her at julissa@samaterials.com.