Enhancing Thin Film Deposition System Performance with the Right Approach

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What’s the right approach to take when it comes to selecting a thin film deposition system? As a laser manufacturer, is it more efficient for you to draw up a checklist of necessary tools and hardware, to try to hit your desired performance spec? Or, should you start with the big picture–identifying the specs and requirements that your specific application needs to meet, then work with a thin film deposition solution provider to deliver the right system?

We’ve heard that a majority of engineers at laser manufacturers, at least in theory, prioritize system performance and vendor collaboration over identifying a “bucket of parts” and then searching for a set of vendors who will deliver on that checklist. However, in practice, we’ve seen a different trend. Time and time again, the engineers that we’ve worked with tend to focus on tool attributes first when selecting a thin film deposition system, not starting with a focus on overall system performance and solutions.

You might be able to secure the most basic requirements for your system by using the “bucket of parts” method, and end up with functional hardware that can serve its purpose for R&D or simple applications. But you’ll also run the risk of your system performance doing just that: operating at the minimum efficiency, resulting in a system that doesn’t have a strong foundation for key process steps or for scaling into production.

Optimizing system performance requires a shift in mindset, starting by specifying the film requirements first – this lets you benefit from the experience and knowledge of your vendor. Instead of treating vendors as integrators, semiconductor laser process engineers must view them as collaboration partners – which is how engineers in the semi microelectronics space approach their system designs.

Don’t present your solution provider with that “bucket of parts” list. Identify the problems that needs to be solved and the specs that need to be hit at the forefront, and partner with your vendor on how to optimize your specific application. This results in a truly application-specific configuration. Below, we’re providing a few tools that will help you master this approach.

First, check out an infographic summarizing the benefits of prioritizing system performance over tool attributes. It also outlines the findings of a poll that we ran with a group of engineers just like you, during a webinar done in partnership with Laser Focus World.

Then, what are the 5 specific things you you need to consider when it comes time to select a vendor who will partner with you, in search of a solution specific to your application? Download the Thin Film Deposition Vendor Selection Guide to find out.