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ACT Node’s New Plasma Assisted Atomic Layer Deposition Tool

June 2014

PicoSun-Sunale PA-ALD

The newly acquired PicoSun-Sunale plasma assisted atomic layer deposition tool (PA-ALD) has been in service since April 2014 at the
ACT Node. Already five group training sessions have been organised
and attracted more than 25 users. The basic system is configured with
four Picosolution 100 sources for the following materials:

  • Trimethyl aluminium;
  • Diethyl zinc;
  • Titanium tetrachloride;
  • Deionised water.

The latter is intended for deposition of various oxide layers in thermal mode.

Two more sources called PicoHot 200 and PicoSolid are also available.
The PicoHot 200 source is actually fitted with Hafnium ethyl-methyl-amide, while two other sources are available for the same precursor: tantalum ethoxide for Ta2O5 and Bis (Di-ethyl-amido) silane for SiO2. The PicoSolid source is intended for a silver (Ag) source making it possible to deposit multiple layers of pure metallic silver films. The basic gas for the plasma mode is oxygen, which is injected into the ICP source to produce the required O-radicals responsible of the oxidation process of the metallic mono-layer films. Another important feature of the system is the availability of ammonia, H2/N2 and Ar/N2. Ammonia gas enables the deposition of nitride films, either in thermal mode or plasma mode, whereas H2/N2 can be used for plasma-deposited nitride layers. The Ar/N2 gas is required to deposit metallic silver. The following layers have so far been tested:

  • Aluminium oxide and nitride in thermal and plasma modes;
  • Zinc oxide in thermal and plasma modes;
  • Titanium oxide and nitride in thermal and plasma modes;
  • Hafnium oxide in thermal and plasma modes.

The tantalum source will enable the deposition of tantalum oxide and or nitride, whereas the Si source would enable the deposition of plasma-assisted silicon dioxide. Unfortunately, silicon nitride is not possible with this source material. The Node will soon begin exploring deposition of other layers such as Ta2O5 and SiO2.

To enhance the system performance and availability it has been decided to acquire a load-lock for the ALD system and a second PicoHot 200 source (replacing a PicoSolution 100 source) which will give our users more flexibility in choice of the materials for the system, as well as making it possible to deposit a stack of two layers among Ta2O5, SiO2 or HfO2.

Regular meetings will be organised soon with our users to discuss their experiences, and also their future needs and expectations, of the system. After the system upgrades have been completed such meetings will be used to set a schedule for availability of sources in the system in 3-4 weeks periods.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Dr Kaushal Vora and/or Dr Fouad Karouta and discuss your needs further.

Group training