Synthesis of novel materials such as transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) and diamond like coatings (DLCs) is the key project of any fabrication lab in today’s semiconductor industry. The majority of developments are still made using lab scale systems, and transferring them to larger scale production lines is often a challenging task. It is seen that producing the same input parameters results in different film properties deposited in different tools. Typical external parameters (RF power and precursor flow rate) are quoted by researchers/industrialists to define plasma experiments so that other researchers can replicate.
However, for plasma reactors with different geometries, knowing external parameters is near useless for scale-up and process transfer. The important question is which parameters can provide a better prediction of plasma processes, and the best solution is to monitor the intrinsic parameters such as the ion energy and ion flux. Here we will learn about issues concerning (i) process transfer and chambers, (ii) parameters affecting the materials.
It is seen that in any plasma assisted process for thin film deposition (like sputtering, HiPIMS and ALD), plasma properties such as electron and ion density or electron temperature, as well as the ion to neutral ratio of the film forming species, are used to characterize the process conditions for the film formation.
Find out more about Process transfer and Chamber Matching here.
Plasma processes are carried out using a variety of biases and waveforms on powered electrodes. Biasing can be DC, RF or microwave with a vast range of frequencies used. Furthermore, the biasing on the other electrode (eg grounded or floating) with a relatively small frequency pulse or tailored waveform can be used to tailor material properties. A simple method to monitor the plasma similarity against these external parameters is to measure the plasma impedance.
Find out more about the Parameters Affecting Materials here.
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