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Case Study

University Integrates Real-Time PEM

How did a large research university integrate real-time plasma emission monitoring without a stand-alone system?

The rate of reaction on a growing film surface depends on the energy available, either in the depositing species or as substrate temperature. The use of a plasma emission monitoring (PEM) based feedback control for reactive sputtering helps increase deposition rates and provides stability within the transition region on a target surface.

A large research university sought a system to perform reactive sputtering but sought also a PEM solution that would eliminate the need for separate and stand-alone PEM tool for their process. Additionally, while doing so, the university researchers sought to:

  • Better manage and adjust reactive gas processes and gas setpoints, including those with nonstandard hysteresis curves, such as TiO2 , ITO, and AZO
  • Increase their sputter rates for higher yields and throughputs
  • Reduce their incoming power requirements and arcing
  • Prevent target poisoning and increase their target utilization and life

Because Denton Vacuum provides a fully integrated, proprietary PEM solution into its tool configuration, we eliminated the need for separate, additional and redundant PEM components for the university, including, among other components:

  • Rack-mount voltage control unit
  • Additional MFC
  • Application and operating software
  • External cables, fiber optics, and vacuum feedthroughs
  • Photomultiplier tube and filter
  • Collimator

The Denton Vacuum PEM solution precisely manages power and reactive gas flow by auto-adjusting the gas setpoint. In doing so, the Denton Vacuum PEM provides a user’s process more efficiency, reducing incoming power requirements, and cathode and substrate temperatures—avoiding both damage to the target and to the magnets. Even during heavy arcing events, the Denton Vacuum PEM allows you to achieve uniform film thickness and produce more deposition runs before the end-of-target life. The Denton Vacuum PEM offers an intuitive, computer interface along with remote control and custom data logging capabilities.

The Denton Vacuum Plasma Emission Monitor (DV-PEM) spectroscopy component provided this university a superior tool for acquiring real-time plasma emission spectra to help control and monitor their plasma-based processes in an integrated, system-supported manner.