Plasma Activation

with the incorporation of plasma activation technology, our system can create dense, crystalline coatings. The new tool uses a hollow-cathode plasma unit to generate a high density ionized gas and vapor flow just before the flow reaches the coating surface. This raises the activity levels and shapes the atomic structure of the growing film.

Plasma activation results in two processing advantages. First, it provides enough kinetic energy to the vapor to create desirable reaction products from simple precursors. For example, the plasma can provide enough energy to promote oxidation or nitrogenation reactions from molecular oxygen or nitrogen gases. The precursors used in other processes, such as chemical vapor deposition, are often dangerous and difficult to synthesize.

Second, the plasma generates ions that can be accelerated towards the coating surface by either a self-bias or by an applied electrical potential. Increasing the velocity (and thus the kinetic energy) of the ions, by using an applied potential, allows the energy of depositing atoms to be varied and the atomic structure of coatings altered.

The system incorporates both AC and DC substrate bias systems: the DC bias is valuable when coating surfaces with conducting layers, while the AC pulse bias is valuable for nonconducting layers.