Iridium sputtering targets have the same characteristics as iridium (Ir).Iridium is a hard, brittle, lustrous, dense, transition metal of the platinum family. It is silvery-white and it is notable for being the most corrosion resistant element known. It is unaffected by air, water and acids.
Because of its hardness, brittleness, and very high melting point, solid iridium is difficult to machine, form, or work; thus powder metallurgy is commonly employed instead of melting technology.
The demand for iridium surged from 2.5 tonnes in 2009 to 10.4 tonnes in 2010, mostly because of electronics-related applications that saw a rise from 0.2 to 6 tonnes – iridium crucibles are commonly used for growing large high-quality single crystals, demand for which has increased sharply. This increase in iridium consumption is predicted to saturate due to accumulating stocks of crucibles, as happened earlier in the 2000s. Other major applications include spark plugs that consumed 0.78 tonnes of iridium in 2007, electrodes for the chloralkali process (1.1 t in 2007) and chemical catalysts (0.75 t in 2007).