Niobium is a chemical element with symbol Nb and atomic number 41. Niobium is a soft, grey, crystalline, ductile transition metal.
Niobium with the property of being a refractory metal has melting point and shows superior chemical resistance. That means niobium sputtering targets can be used to obtain thin films with high resistance to corrosion.
Another area that niobium sputtering targets can be used is superconducting devices. Niobium is one of the most used metals for obtaining superconducting thin films. So niobium sputtering targets can be used in superconducting hot electron bolometer and superconducting photon detectors.
Also in particle accelerators where superconducting radio frequency is used niobium thin films which can be obtained by sputtering targets can be used. CERN has conducted pioneering studies in the field of superconducting radio frequency niobium films on copper (Nb/Cu) applied to cavities and successfully implemented this technology.
The superconducting niobium thin films can be also used in digital applications. For example in one of the studies related to this field an 8-bit digital signal processor was fabricated. These devices fabricated with niobium film process are faster and have lower power consumption than semiconductor devices.