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What Are Sputtering Targets, and Why Should You Recycle Them?

sputtering target

Sputtering targets are materials used to produce thin films in a technique known as sputter deposition, or thin film deposition. In this process, the sputtering targets start off as a solid and is then split up by gaseous ions into small particles that form a spray and coat a material, which is called the substrate.

Sputtering targets are often overlooked as a source of precious metal scrap. Let’s take a look at why you should seek to recycle any sputtering target scrap you own.

Why Sputtering Targets Are An Excellent Source Of Precious Metal Scrap

Sputter deposition is often involved in the production of semiconductors and computer chips. As such, most sputtering target materials are metallic alloys or elements, although some ceramic targets are available that create hardened thin coatings for some tools.

Once a sputtering target has been used, most will assume it is now useless. However, there is usually some valuable metal material left that should be recycled. In many cases, the metal could even turn out to be an incredibly rare precious metal like rhodium that can often be recycled as well.

Here’s a list of all the sputtering targets that are worth recycling:

  1. Aluminum Targets

Aluminum sputtering is often used for semiconductor applications. Though it is not the most valuable metal, it is still in demand due to its versatility. You can find recycled aluminum in almost any modern vehicle or airplane, and it is used in many household items. Aluminum is also great for heat resistance, which makes it the perfect metal for containers.

  1. Copper Targets

Copper is often used for electrodes and other applications where electrical conductivity is crucial. It’s not rare, but it is used in many applications like plumbing, wiring and windshield films.

  1. Tin Targets

Tin can be applied to many materials to improve their properties. It is used in sputtering to improve corrosion resistance.

  1. Zinc Targets

Zinc targets are also used for their corrosion resistance. When it is sputtered onto another metal, it can be a corrosion barrier, which is why it’s typically used to produce cathodes. Zinc can also be found in batteries, propellants and paints.

  1. Platinum, Silver, and Gold

Precious metals like gold, silver and platinum are sometimes used in sputtering applications. They provide a combination of chemical inertness and electrical conductivity, which makes them excellent for instrument and electrode production. They are also worth recycling for their financial value alone.

Recycle Your Sputtering Targets At A Precious Metals Refiner

If you have any sputtering targets you’d like to recycle, be sure to sell them to a precious metals refiner like Manhattan Gold & Silver. We can quickly separate the metals in your sputtering target to extract precious metals like gold and deliver a quick, fair payout.

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