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Thin-Film Deposition Rate Monitoring and Controller
Compiled by Terrence Thompson, Contributing Editor
This Vacuum Technology & Coating product showcase describes the thin-film deposition rate monitoring and controlling equipment used in a wide variety of production, R&D and other thin-film deposition applications. Also, see the related "Power Supplies for Vacuum Thin-Film Deposition and Coating Product Showcase” in this issue.
Depositing precise thin film layers requires knowing both the rate of deposition and how to control it to obtain the desired layer thickness. Deposition monitors/controllers determine film thickness during the coating/deposition process itself by acquiring continuous rate and thickness data. Depending upon the item being coated, in-process monitoring and control may be desirable. In other applications, checking the finished film is certainly sufficient.
Getting and Maintaining Control
There are several ways to monitor and control thin-film deposition parameters as well as ways to characterize the deposited films and coatings. Knowing exactly what materials are being deposited, the deposition rates, film thicknesses and uniformity can make a significant difference in process costs as well as suitability for the task at hand.
Quartz crystal monitors are mass monitors. QCM deposition monitors only provide continuous rate and thickness data. There are differences in the frequency with which measurements are made which makes a difference. Monitors do not control deposition rates.
Deposition controllers automatically control the deposition rate, typically by adjusting the deposition power as required to maintain the desired rate. Their main advantage of controllers is that they provide very accurate rate control that results in more-consistent coatings. Controllers provide mass programming that is typically described in terms of density, Z-ratio or tooling factor.
Optical transmission monitoring works for transparent substrates (optical density) and is widely used with many variations on the theme. Sensors are specified by frequency range in wavelength (nm). Also, the number of inputs and type can be used to index the substrate and thickness of film while monitoring the wavelength and coating rate. Associated controller outputs can help model the transmission curve or signal the process to terminate each layer when desired thicknesses are achieved.
With non-transparent substrate optical reflection sensors, the frequency (wavelength) range and sensor polarization is checked. Controllers monitor the index of substrate, index and thickness of film, monitoring wavelength and coating rate. Controller outputs can model a transmission curve and signal to terminate each layer.
In the following product descriptions, vendors make distinctions to focus on specific intended applications so direct comparisons may be difficult. When in doubt, go to Vacuum Technology & Coating magazine’s home page at www.vactechmag.comand click on the advertiser links for additional details or telephone numbers for calling to discuss your specific application requirements.
Note: A related, but separate, “Product Showcase – Film Thickness and Flatness Testers, Metrology” will follow in the Vacuum Technology & Coating September 2009 issue.
SQM-180 Rate/Thickness Monitor
Fil-Tech, Inc.’s SQM-180 Rate/Thickness Monitor is a precision mass and film thickness measurement instrument for use in thin film deposition processes and other quartz crystal microbalance applications. The SQM-180 has proven very tough and reliable. Thousands of durable units are providing stable monitoring of depositions. Easy to setup and use, the SQM-180 has a history that makes it the one to have for deposition monitoring. Fil-Tech also supplies Quality Crystals® for thin film monitoring.
Contact: G. Paul Becker
Model 866 Deposition Controller
Telemark’s new Model 866 Deposition Controller has an IBM-compatible dual core processor operating at 2 GHz with 2 gigabytes of RAM and a 50 gigabyte hard drive, The controller is capable of storing an almost infinite number of recipes and layers. It features 3 large LED displays that continuously display Power, Rate & Thickness. The displays are updated every 300 ms. The system also supports an external full color monitor, keyboard and mouse. The primary real-time operating parameters are graphically displayed on a 5” LCD display which also supports a full alphanumerical keyboard for real-time process and recipe modifications. Display capabilities include: real-time process modification, process and layer keyboard based editor, maintenance I/O status and control, power v/s time, rate v/s time, thickness v/s time and rate deviation v/s time. The 866 supports USB, RS232 and RJ45 communication hardware with appropriate protocols. It has two crystal sensor inputs, two isolated power supply analog output drivers, eight relay isolated outputs and eight optically isolated inputs (with option to upgrade to 16 each). There are 3 user-programmable front panel buttons for easy system control. All system files may be reviewed, modified and tested on an offline computer and downloaded tot the instrument for use. Power requirements are 115/230VAC at 50/60 Hz.
MESEC Non-Contact, Accurate, Cost-Effective Measurements of Metal Film Thickness
ULVAC Technologies, Inc.’s MESEC, a metal film metrology instrument for copper seed and electroplated copper layers on 200- or 300-mm silicon wafers. Designed for use in PVD, CVD, plating, and CMP equipment applications, the MESEC unit directly evaluates device wafers using the non-contact, non-destructive eddy current detection method. Copper films with thickness in the range of 0.03 µm to 5 µm can be measured with the higher speed, better accuracy, and at significantly lower cost than other methods. ULVAC’s proprietary amplifier circuit design in the MESEC unit enhances the Eddy current signal to noise ratio resulting in improved measurement accuracy. Additionally, ULVAC uses a small sensor, which strikes a good balance between spatial resolution requirements and background noise elimination. ULVAC has developed two types of the MESEC units: Built-in Type (MESEC BIT) and Stand-alone Type (MESEC SAT). The MESEC BIT is used for in-situ measurements in thin film deposition systems and surface preparation equipment. The MESEC SAT is a freestanding metrology instrument that measures any thin conductive metals or alloy films (Al, Cu, AlCu, etc.) on silicon wafers. This unit features an open cassette, SMIF or FOUP load port design and is used for in-line or off-line measurements.
ULVAC Technologies, Inc.
Power Supplies for Vacuum Thin-Film Deposition and Coating
Compiled by Terrence Thompson, Contributing Editor
This Vacuum Technology & Coating product showcase includes power supplies used in a wide variety of vacuum-based production deposition and coating applications.
Deposition and coating systems require extremely dependable power supplies. Fortunately, a wide array exists to fit virtually any application. With increasingly demanding deposition and coating system requirements, and the ever-present cost considerations for industrial and scientific applications, the expectations for power supplies increases.
Power supplies provide outputs of DC or AC in a wide range of power levels. Power supplies can have primary outputs ranging from very low to hundreds of kilowatts with frequencies from DC to 13.56 MHz or beyond. Depending upon the application, voltage or current regulation may be more important. Current ratings also can range from low to very high. These are but a few considerations when selecting a power supply.
Specific Needs? No Problem!
How crucial is size and are matching networks and cooling systems needed? What kind of output programming and control are needed and what specific computer or network digital interface needs must be met? There are many choices to meet the user needs.
With DC supplies, there are steady and pulsed outputs. Typical DC power options include high current, high voltage and voltage regulation. Pulsed DC supplies, for example, can improve surface uniformity in applications such as semiconductor wafer copper plating.
For AC supplies, many factors must be considered. High-frequency power sources must deliver reliable power for continuous, demanding use in vacuum applications including vacuum processing such as PVD, RF sputtering, plasma etching or deposition and reactive ion etching.
Very Reliable Power Sources
Analytical instrumentation power supply voltage requirements can range from just a few volts to several hundred thousand volts, often with multiple critical voltages in a particular instrument. Standard and custom high voltage power supplies are used in instruments for spectroscopy and many other analytical imaging and process applications. Voltage ripple (or lack thereof), stability over time, repeatability and accuracy are factors to consideration if reliable scientific data are the goal. For analytical instrumentation used in production process control, reliability is extremely important.
Power Supply Product Descriptions
In the following product descriptions, vendors often make subtle distinctions to focus on specific intended applications so direct comparisons may be difficult. When in doubt, go to Vacuum Technology & Coating magazine’s home page at www.vactechmag.comand click on the advertiser links for additional details or telephone numbers for calling to discuss your specific application requirements.
Paramount® RF Power-Delivery System Offers Precise Control
The Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. half-rack, 3 kW Paramount® RF power supply features an enhanced power and impedance measurement system that delivers exceptional power accuracy and control at 13.56 MHz fixed or variable frequencies into 50 • and non-50 • loads, beyond 3:1 VSWR. Able to keep pace—in real time—with the most abrupt plasma-impedance changes, the Paramount RF power-de- livery system enables faster transitions, shorter process steps, and reduced process times for next-generation technology nodes. Its impedance measurement rivals the accuracy of a network analyzer, while optional frequency tuning tunes virtually instantaneously (i.e., msec), faster than any other product on the market. The result is truly unprecedented accuracy, repeatability, and process control.
Ovation™ Very-High Frequency (VHF) Power Delivery System
The Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. Ovation™ fully-integrated, power delivery system enables faster, higher-precision processes, such as those required for demanding narrow-linewidth, dielectric etch processes through implementation of a unique power delivery scheme. It is the first to accuratelydeliver power into a non-50-ohm environment without an external sensor, reacting faster than traditional power supplies. The use of 60 MHz reduces voltage potential across the plasma sheath, minimizing ion etch damage, thus improving film quality and yields. Its embedded measurement technology enables previously unavailable insight into chamber plasma parameters and performance.
Cesar® RF Power Supplies Offer Customized Performance for Demanding Plasma Applications
The Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. versatile Cesar® platform offers exceptionally consistent RF power-delivery performance, as well as a diverse selection of models, each with a unique set of features and capabilities (2, 4, 13.56, 27.12, and 40.68 MHz; 0.3 to 5 kW; with a variety of user interfaces and input options). This enables you to choose a unit suited specifically to your application — without lengthy custom-generator lead times. Standard platform packaging makes it easy and inexpensive to replace one Cesar unit with another when your power requirements change. This also minimizes training costs and simplifies design and setup for systems with multiple RF power supplies.
Pinnacle® Plus+ Pulsed-DC Power Supply for Critical Reactive Processes
The Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. Pinnacle® Plus+ product line enables higher film quality for reactive sputtering, bias, and high-quality metal sputtering a p p l i c a t i o n s . Available in single- and dualoutput 5 kW and single-output 10 kW models, this product line is ideal for extending the performance of existing processes as well as for expanding the possibilities for developing new, previously unachievable DC processes. The Pinnacle Plus+ line provides individually controllable, dual-output, pulsed-DC power from a single unit; increased process flexibility (up to 350 kHz pulsing, wide tap range, variable duty cycle up of a minimum of 55% on time or a maximum of 45% reverse time), active front panel; and CE compliance.
Navigator® Digital Matching Networks
The Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. versatile Navigator® matching network's advanced technology provides rapid, accurate, and reliable matching across a wide range of load impedances — 15 W to 30 kW. Equipped with microprocessor-controlled stepper motor circuitry and digital, user-selectable tuning algorithms, it provides greater consistency and accuracy than traditional analog-based tuning methods. An optional internal Z’Scan® RF sensor provides real-time measurement and analysis of process power and impedance, enabling you to identify and significantly reduce process variability. In addition, optional Virtual Front Panel (VFP) software enables you to monitor and command the matching network through a personal computer.
Advanced Energy Industries, Inc.
Fort Collins, CO
Contact: Marna Shillman,
Global Marketing Communications Director
VF Series Multi Channel Synthesizer Modules
Comdel’s new VF Series Multi-Channel Synthesizer Modules provide phase adjustable output to avoid destructive arcing and crosstalk in multiple cathode plasma processing chambers. The VF Series can accommodate up to sixteen channels and may be programmed to any frequency between 2 and 60 MHz. Frequency changes are simultaneous and phase continuous. The phase of the adjustable channels can be offset from the phase of the fixed channel to within 0.1° resolution. The VF Series allows adjustment for cable length dependencies. Higher and lower frequency synthesizer modules are available.
CLB Series Low Frequency RF Power Supplies
The CLB Series is the latest addition to Comdel’s line of low frequency RF generators. The new CLB Series of generators brings Comdel’s proven reliability and small, lightweight packaging of our CB high frequency series to low frequency applications. Delivering 2500 to 12,000 watts of RF power and operating from any fixed frequency from 20 kHz to 2 MHz, the CLB Series is an ideal solution for plasma, flat panel display, and thin film processes. The solid-state design provides precise and repeatable power control, ultrastable output and low cost of ownership. Features include frequency agile tuning with phase lock tuning and software algorithm, forward or delivered power mode regulation, and safety compliance. This package design combines both the RF generator and switching DC power supply in one compact 7”H × 19”W × 22”D package.
Contact: MaryBeth Masterson, Marketing Manager
Tel: 1-978-282-0620 Ext. 102
SCALO Family Of DC Power Supplies
High power density combined with flexibility make Huettinger’s Series SCALO a very compact 30 kW DC plasma power supply unit. Due to its scalable architecture, up to four modules may be connected in parallel, resulting in a total power output of up to 120 kW. For lower power requirements, a 20 kW module is also available. The SCALO is suitable for a wide spectrum of plasma process applications. Equipped with an arc management system and having very little stored energy, SCALO can be used to deposit thin films with superior characteristics, thus enhancing productivity. A variety of data interfaces allow for both process data acqui- sition and power supply control. The power supplies provide reliable power for a wide range of applications including a broad spectrum of DC sputtering applications. These include high-power applications such as the deposition of copper and tantalum during semiconductor fabrication, or the deposition of high quality ITO layers on flat-panel display substrates. SCALO provides the process energy required for hard coating processes as well as the deposition of optical and decorative coatings. SCALO features ARCtelligent;™ Huettinger’s intelligent arc management system that is both fast and highly effective. Combined with the benefit of extremely low stored energy, this yields films with superior characteristics while significantly enhancing productivity. Detection settings may be adjusted through any one of a number of data interfaces. ARCtelligent™ advances arc management to high levels of performance. SCALO’s modular design means flexibility in power delivery. Modules may be conveniently combined or disconnected for scaling the power available for individual process requirements. Total power outputs from 20 to 120 kW are obtainable in increments of 20 or 30 kW. All SCALO modules are available in water-cooled and aircooled versions.
Huettinger Electronic, Inc.,
The TRUMPF Group
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
R-Series RF power generators
The Kurt J. Lesker Company R-Series RF power generators are used for magnetron sputtering and plasma etching with available output ranges from 300 W to 3 kW at a 13.56 MHz fixed frequency. All units are air cooled to exceed the most stringent vacuum processing demands. Available features include: master and slave modes, automatic and matching networks, programmable high-speed pulsing, and CE marking for all R-Series units. Various control modes allow you to regulate DC and RF voltage as well as forward and load power leveling. Complete packages are available that include the power supply, automatic matching network, matching network controller, and all connecting cables that make ordering simple and quick.
Ion Source Power Supply
The Kurt J. Lesker Company Ion Source Power Supply system is specifically designed to power the KJLC filamentless ion sources. The compact, rack mountable unit is 5¼ inches high and less than 18 inches deep, including all connections. The unit is capable of supplying an ion energy voltage up to 1200 eV and an output current up to 67 mA. All internal connections are keyed header/socket connections. Control voltages are derived from a high efficiency 300 watt supply. The overall efficiency of the supply is over 80%. The power supply is designed to allow complete manual control of all ion source functions. Individual digital meters are used to constantly display operating parameters. Standard ten-turn trimpots adjust each of the three power supply levels. Individual supplies and displays include Anode, Emitter and Accelerator. Momentary “On” and “Standby” buttons control the output to the gun and LEDs indicate whether or not the source interlocks are satisfied and whether or not the source has started.
M.A.P.S. Family of Power Supplies
The Kurt J. Lesker Company M.A.P.S. power supply is a versatile unit typically used for applications involving heating and evaporation in a vacuum environment. Its modular design allows the unit to be configured with a variety of options. Standard features include a phase angle fired SCR to control power delivery. The M.A.P.S. power supplies are available in the models below and are appropriate with the applications described:
High Temperature Heater power supply — Model HTR is for process heater applications including substrate heating with quartz lamps; substrate heating with custom elements (graphite, etc); and bakeout heaters. Available power output from 2kW to 8kW.
Resistive Thermal Evaporation power supply — Model EVP is for basic thermal evaporation applications including boats; crucibles; and filaments. Optional transformers from 2kW to 6kW allow deposition from a wide range of materials. Manual or computer controlled switching is available to allow the deposition of multiple sources sequentially.
High-Temperature Metal Evaporation power supply — Model HTE is for high temperature evaporation (typically used with a furnace style source for higher melting temperature materials). When coupled with our HTE source high precision evaporation of up to 1500ºC is possible.
Organic Source power supply — Model LTE is for low temperature evaporation up to 15 amps for the evaporation of organic materials. Coupled with our Organic sources, precise control (± 3 ºC) of source temperatures from 100ºC to 600ºC is possible. Custom configurations are readily available with output power up to 4 kW.
Kurt J. Lesker Company
Contact: Justin Poziviak, Deposition Product Manager,
Process Equipment Division
Tel: 1-800-245-1656 Ext. 7433
R*evolution® Remote Plasma Source
MKS Instruments’R*evolution® Remote toroidal plasma source delivers up to 6 kW of plasma power and up to 5 slm flow of clean radicals to the process, making ashing rates twice as fast as more conventional technologies. The high performance capabilities of the R*evolution extend far beyond strip and etch. This all-in-one remote plasma source is also ideal for advanced applications that include wafer pre-cleaning, thin film deposition, and material/surface modifications. The R*evolution’s simple, compact and self-contained design allows for installation directly on the process chamber. Because of its efficiency and lower cost, the R*evolution remote plasma source significantly reduces overall investment and tool operating costs.
Mid-Frequency NOVA® Series RF Generators
MKS Instruments’ NOVA® RF plasma generators are compact, high-reliability, mid-frequency RF sources for PECVD and etch applications. DSPBased power control provides excellent control, and stability for reliable, repeatable processing. Advanced features such as automatic frequency tuning enable fast and reliable methods of impedance matching to a plasma load. Models include the NOVA-25 generator with rated power of 2.5 kW and the NOVA-50 generator with 5 kW rated power, both at key frequency of 2 MHz. Mid-frequency models operate between 1 and 4 MHz with key frequency at 2 MHz.
Mid-Frequency Spectrum RF Plasma Generators
MKS Instruments’ Spectrum® 11002 mid-frequency RF generators are available in 11 kW of power at 2 MHz. Spectrum generators feature high power density, excellent stability, generous power margins and high reliability for lower cost of ownership and improved yield, wafer to wafer and run to run. These generators contain sophisticated control systems which enable such features as automatic frequency tuning. Mid-frequency models operate between 1 and 4 MHz with key frequency at 2 MHz.
High-Frequency SurePower RF Plasma Generators
The MKS SurePower® platform of RF plasma generators is the most advanced class of 13.56 MHz generators commercially available. The SurePower® architecture incorporates state-of-the-art RF topologies, patented intrinsic power amplifier protection, improved design margins, and embedded V-I Probe® sensors to achieve the highest reliability, reproducibility, and accuracy of any generator in the marketplace today. The platform offers the highest power (15 kW) at 13.56 MHz in a 3U height package. Optional auto frequency tuning allows the use of fixed matching networks for faster tuning, greater overall system reliability, and lower cost.Sure-Power™ is available in power levels from 3.5 kW to 15.0 kW and provides exceptional performance, higher power levels than competitive offerings, greatest delivered power to the plasma, and excellent reliability. SurePower RF power generators are designed for all 13.56 MHz applications including: PECVD, HDPCVD, PVD, ALD, etch, and strip for the manufacture of integrated circuits, flat panel displays, and data storage devices.
High-Frequency Genesis GHW RF Plasma Generators
MKS Instruments ENI® ’s Genesis Series is a production proven, rack-mountable, RF plasma generator platform that provides power from 1.25 kW to 5 kW at 13.56 MHz. Genesis generators feature high reliability, unconditional RF stability, precise DSP-based control and load mismatch protection. Models include the GHW 12 (1.25 kW), GHW-25 (2.5 kW), and GHW-50 (5 kW). High-frequency models typically operate at 13.56 MHz, a frequency most commonly used for plasma processes.
High-Frequency ACG Air-Cooled RF Plasma Generators
MKS Instruments’ ACG Series is a family of lower power microprocessor-controlled RF plasma generators. The ACG features precise power control, low power operation, unconditional RF stability, and load mismatch protection. Models include the ACG-3B with 300 watts output power, the ACG-6B with 600 Watts output power, and the ACG-10B with 1000 watts output power. High-frequency models typically operate at 13.56 MHz, a frequency most commonly used for plasma processes.
Optima® Continuous DC Generators
The MKS Instruments ENI® Optima® series is a family of highly reliable, accurate, and flexible DC generators in power levels ranging from 5 to 60 kW or higher. DC power output is pro- vided through the entire safe operating area without tap changes. In the Optima series, low intensity arc management is automatic, bipolar, fast and very low energy. The CE marked Optima series DC generators exhibit exceptional ±0.1% accuracy and linearity for advanced process repeatability, chamber-to-chamber and waferto-wafer. The product line has space-efficient 3U-rack height per 20 kW. Models include the following power levels: 5 kW, 7.5 kW, 10 kW, 15 kW, 20 kW, 40 kW, 60 kW and higher.
RPG Pulsed DC Generators
The MKS Instruments ENI® RPG series is a family of pulsed DC generators in power levels from 5 to 10 kW in a single 3U chassis. RPG generators provide asymmetric bipolar and unipolar pulsed DC power while maintaining the exceptional accuracy, repeatability and flexibility of the Optima continuous DC generators. RPG generators offer user- ad- justable frequency and duty cycle controls. Frequency is adjustable from 25 kHz to 125 kHz or 50 kHz to 250 kHz depending on model making it possible to find the optimal process parameters for a wide variety of films. Duty cycle can be adjusted between 0 and 40% to enhance film uniformity. Built in interfaces include 9-pin digital RS-232/422/485 and 15/25/37 pin analog. Optional digital interfaces include DeviceNet™ and Profibus.
MKS Instruments, Inc.
Contact: Applications Engineering
Low Voltage, High Current Power Supplies
The R. D. Mathis “LV Series” power supplies are low voltage, high current AC and uniquely designed for thermal evaporation. The power supply’s primary use in the thin film industry is supplying power to resistive evaporation sources. The low voltage, high current AC power supplies were designed to meet a growing need for versatility and reliability in the industry. Both units incorporate a hand held remote control that displays amperage and voltage outputs while allowing an operator more freedom to move closer to the viewing port or the monitoring instrumentation. The low voltage, high current tap switch enables voltage range changes with ease and without having to relocate bulky cables. The units are SCR controlled and can receive up to 4 different type input signals to operate in a semi-automatic mode. The current limiting, soft start and interlock switches make these units extremely user friendly and easy to operate. Available in either 4 kW (800 amps at 5 volts) or 7.5 kW (1,500 amps at 5 volts), the conservative power ratings allow the units to run cool, while rugged construction and quality components make them reliable. Also available are 250 amp and 500 amp welding cables, cut to size, with a variety of terminal lugs (installed) to complete your power set-up.
R.D. Mathis Company
Long Beach, CA