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Denton Vacuum Partners with k-Space Associates to Expand Capability

July 15, 2014

Moorestown, NJ, July 15, 2014—Denton Vacuum LLC, a leading manufacturer of thin film technology products, has teamed with k-Space Associates, Inc., a leading manufacturer of in-situ, in-line, and ex-situ metrology tools for the semiconductor, thin-film, and photovoltaic (PV) industries. As part of that partnership, Denton installed a kSA Multi-beam Optical Sensor (MOS)—a high resolution, in-situ curvature and stress monitor—in an Explorer 14 sputtering tool in Denton’s Customer Application Development Center (CADC).

As part of its ongoing initiative to deliver breakthrough technology and capability to its increasing global customer base, Denton configured a kSA MOS to measure, in-situ and in real-time, thin film stress and wafer curvature for more precise process control. Stress in thin films can induce curvature in the substrate and/or impact film adhesion. The kSA MOS system measures absolute curvature by monitoring the deflection of parallel laser beams and uses this measurement to determine thin film stress.

“The Denton CADC mission is to both demonstrate and develop leading edge films, new equipment designs, and novel process characterization tools for our customers,” explained Dr. Craig Outten, Research Development Scientist and Director of the CADC. Understanding and controlling the stress in thin-films is critical in achieving desired optical, electronic, and mechanical properties.” Adds Dr. Outten, “the kSA (MOS) thin-film stress tool installed here fits squarely within our process activities, as traditional ex-situ stress monitoring tools only measure the overall stress after the process is done. They’re unable to measure the dynamic changes in stress occurring during the process. Being able to measure the stresses and strains in-situ during the process provides valuable insight into mechanisms and methods for controlling and targeting the overall stress induced into the sample during every process step.”

An example of how stress measurement can improve thin film technology development is described in a recent paper presented by Dr. Outten at the 2014 SVC TechCon Technical Program Symposia in Chicago.

Development of Titanium Nitride Fractal Coatings for Cardiac and Neural Electrostimulation Electrodes describes the development and characterization of high performance medical coatings using a variety of characterization techniques, including in-situ stress measurement. For more information about this work, contact Denton at

About Denton Vacuum LLC

Now in its 50th year, Denton Vacuum continues to transform barriers into thin-film technology breakthroughs for customers across the globe. With operations in the United States and China, Denton designs and develops systems that precision-coat aerospace components, advanced optics, medical implants, solar cells, semiconductor devices and much more. Fifty years of tireless innovation have produced robust offerings ranging from high-volume production platforms to unique custom-engineered systems. Denton’s technology portfolio includes atomic layer deposition (ALD), thermal evaporation, e-beam evaporation, ion-beam-assisted evaporation, magnetron sputtering (including reactive sputtering), plasma-enhanced-chemical-vapor deposition (PECVD), ion etch and ion-beam-assisted deposition (IBAD). As a leading source for thin-film technology, Denton also provides value-added services and lifetime support that set new industry standards. See how barriers become breakthroughs by visiting

About k-Space Associates, Inc.

Founded in 1992, k-Space Associates, Inc. is a leading supplier of advanced thin-film metrology tools to the thin-film deposition, surface science, and photovoltaic industries. k-Space specializes in real-time, in-situ, thin-film metrology tools for MBE, MOCVD, PVD, PLD, sputtering, and thermal evaporation processes. For more information about k-Space and their products, visit them at