Front-End Options

Manufacturers looking to increase efficiency and throughput for their sputtering process of record can add a front-end option to meet those needs. Front ends allow you to automatically load the module with wafers or carriers, and each option offers a level of efficiency that can’t be attained with manual venting and loading.

Exact throughput varies depending on the front-end option chosen. Some load a single wafer at a time while other options have multiple wafers ready to load with different chambers of coating materials pumped down for higher throughput production.

The different front-end options to choose from are:

  • Single chamber, single wafer load lock: This is the simplest front-end option, allowing one wafer or carrier at a time to be loaded into the system.
  • Single chamber cassette load lock: A more sophisticated option, providing a cassette of up to 25 wafers or carriers that a robotic arm loads into the process module.
  • Cluster tool: This is the most robust option. It provides multiple chambers for coating and conditioning, as well as multiple load locks for loading wafers into the system.

Benefits of a Front-End Option

Front-end options enable greater production efficiency to meet higher throughput requirements. They automate the loading process so that you can maximize efficiency. They can allow you to coat multiple layers at a time without breaking vacuum, or vent just the cassette load lock instead of the entire sputter module to save time.

In order to ensure optimum efficiency, it’s critical to use a process module that is compatible with your selected front-end option. A compatible module prioritizes overall process performance so you can scale your production depending on throughput needs, allowing for consistency, repeatability and an optimized configuration even when production is ramped up. This ensures that overall process integrity remains intact.

Denton offers all three types of front-end options: a single chamber, single wafer load lock for lower volume production; a single chamber cassette load lock for higher throughput needs; and a four chamber, dual load lock cluster tool for maximizing throughput and efficiency.

If you need help deciding which front-end option is best for your production needs, contact Denton Vacuum to discuss the right configuration for your application.

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