Friday, May 31, 2013

What's the value of a film thickness sensor in my ALD exhaust?

Simple:
  • Reduced engineering downtime
  • Prevent downstream hardware failure
  • Prevent wafer loss from excessive particulate buildup that gathers on chamber walls
Savings from lost wafers can be as little as $2000/wafer or as much as $20,000/wafer, depending on size. The Colnatec Tempe sensor system could pay for itself with only one wafer.

Tempe operates as a machine maintenance sensor, predicting when an ALD system needs to be cleaned. With the minute amounts of particle allowable inside a chamber, having a buildup warning system is akin to having a smoke detector: as soon as maximum allowable amounts of particulate accumulate, the system sends a warning signal to the operator, sending the system into maintenance mode, and preventing further wafer damage.

As it is today, the only way to know if your reactor has reached maximum allowable particulate is to guess at prevention or use an expensive ex-situ (post production) optical method. Unlike Tempe, competitor QCM systems are unheated and therefore cannot withstand the high temperatures necessary for in-situ monitoring. The availability of Tempe to sit inside a hot process chamber to real-time monitor particulate at the atomic level changes the economics of maintenance completely.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are your sensors suitable for in-situ use in plasma deposition systems?

Yes, they are! But to best answer the question, we need to know:
  1. maximum temperature
  2. where the sensor would be (orientation)
  3. the expected lifetime of the sensor (which would tell us how many hours before replacement of the sensor element)
Our Tempe sensor head with Eon temperature regulating monitor or process controller in combination with SQ (up to 1000C), HT (up to 400C), or RC (up to 300C) quartz crystals allows you to measure and control film thickness up to 500C. When Helios is completed, you will be able to measure at temperatures up to 1000C, real time in situ!

Orientation is important for understanding whether you are using the sensor in-process, during precursor development, or during the maintenance cycle, for example.