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Thin Film Deposition for High-Volume Manufacturing

High-volume manufacturing requires an optimized system configuration to meet demanding throughput and reliability requirements. Manufacturers in semiconductors, consumer electronics and other high-demand industries need the right equipment to scale into high-volume production without losing the key process controls that impact performance and drive quality.

When selecting a thin film deposition system, it’s important to consider tools that provide high yield, throughput and deposition rate. But rather than just adding or combining tools that drive production, a thin film system that’s properly optimized for high volume will provide the right level of automation to meet reliability, uptime, and throughput demands while also delivering on overall application-specific requirements.

Denton Vacuum offers a number of systems and tools to enable maximum efficiency and throughput without sacrificing on the process control and performance requirements that are critical to your application.

Front-End Options

Front-end options give you the ability to automatically load a sputter module with different degrees of efficiency depending on the chosen option, in order to increase key production metrics like throughput per square foot and throughput per capex dollar.

A single chamber, single wafer load lock is the simplest front-end option, with little automation and the most manual effort needed. Meanwhile, a cassette load lock provides greater automation and higher throughput by offering a cassette of wafers ready to load into the module automatically. To scale into very high-volume wafer production, cluster architecture is critical. A cluster tool, like Denton’s Versa platform, automatically loads wafers into the process module from multiple cassettes, and with additional chambers, multiple layers can be coated without breaking vacuum, increasing efficiency. Process capability can also be enhanced by adding auxiliary chambers for etch, degas, or metrology.

There is no single right answer for which option is best. Variables such as process complexity, total run time and required production level can significantly impact the analysis. Your process module should be compatible with all front-end configurations to maintain key process steps even while increasing production. This enables an optimized configuration for consistent, repeatable process performance regardless of throughput requirements.

Explore Front-End Options

Choose the Right Partner

To best position yourself for high-volume production, you’ll need to partner with a thin film system solutions provider that has a proven track record of supporting scale into high volumes. Look for a service-focused partner that can ensure high uptime for your equipment. You’ll also want a company with experience in various tools and methods to increase throughput and deposition rate, such as cluster architecture and in-situ controls like plasma emission monitoring (PEM). Your vendor should work with you to first specify thin film requirements, and then design an application-specific configuration that meets those requirements for a working production process.

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