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ALD and PVD

Capable of performing both Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD)
Without breaking the vacuum to fabricate films with hundreds of multinanolayers.

 

SWISS CLUSTER AG (Thun, Switzerland)

Swiss Cluster started in 2019 as a spin-off by a team of researchers and engineers from the Swiss Federal Institute for Material Science & Technology (Empa) in Thun, Switzerland. The company was officially registered on November 2020, and in May 2021 was granted the Empa spin-off label.

The expertise of the team covers various thin films deposition techniques (ALD, CVD, and PVD); vacuum and plasma deposition technologies; as well as in the whole realm of materials characterization. The combined knowledge in these fields are harnessed to bring novel ideas towards optimizing research and production processes to ultimately synthesize novel and better materials.

 


THE SC-1

The first compact cluster system for R&D

The SC-1 is our flagship deposition system that enables to research and develop the materials of the future. It features an innovative patent-pending cluster-design to create a compact, modular and fully automated multi-deposition equipment:

  • Capable of performing both Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) without breaking the vacuum to fabricate films with hundreds of multinanolayers.
  • No need for mechanical arms or antechambers; which significantly slow down the process, increase the complexity, lab space required and the investment costs.
  • Modular and flexible system that allows to easily adapt new hardware and incorporate to our software.

 

FEATURES

 

MATERIALS FACTORY

With the benefits of both ALD and PVD

Multinanolayered Materials

Hundreds of multinanolayers of multiple material systems from the PVD and ALD materials library can be fabricated. The combination of ALD and PVD layers creates unique microstructures and properties to fit in your desired application.

Combinatorial Approach

The ALD-PVD microstructure can be further tailored with different film thicknesses along the cross-section and with different deposition temperatures throughout your substrate and process using our temperature gradient stage (TGS).

 

MODULAR

Customizable and Upgradable

Expandable

The ALD and PVD chambers in the SC-1 can be acquired and operated individually and then be upgraded to a cluster system. New hardware components or in-situ metrology equipment can be added and incorporated to our software and recipe creator.

Compact

By reducing the need of antechambers and mechanical arms, we reduce the complexity and lab space required.

 

FAST

Accelerating R & D

Automated

The system is fully automated; all the devices and components are connected to our easy-to use software. Hundreds of multinanolayers with both ALD and PVD can be fabricated with the push of a button.

Smart R&D

The temperature gradient stage (TGS) allows to screen a large temperature window to scan precursors, growth rates, microstuructures, chemical compositions, mechanical behaviour and more in a single deposition.

 

User-Friendly

Plug-and-Play functionality for beginner and advanced users.

Recipe Creator

With our easy-to use recipe creator, complex recipes can be made easy in order to fabricate hundreds of multinanolayers with different parameters in both ALD and PVD process during the deposition.

Low-Maintenance

The easy attachable/detachable panels makes this equipment extremely easy to replace, clean and service the parts.

 

BREAKING THE GRAIN-GROWTH

The combination of ALD and PVD layers creates a unique microstructure with improved mechanical and thermal properties.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

HARDWARE

Substrate Sizes
  • 4 in. wafers
  • 6 in. wafers
  • Different substrate holders available
Temperatures
  • Up to 400 °C
  • A gradient of 30 °C to 500 °C using our Temperature Gradient Stage
ALD Precursor Lines
  • Up to 12 precursors with individual inlets - bottles and bubblers
Magnetrons
  • Up to 4 magnetrons with 3 in. targets
Dimensions
  • L x W x H (1250 mm x 600 mm x 1210 mm)
Add-ons
  • Microwave plasma sources (PE-ALD)
  • In-situ wafer stress measurements
  • Customized ports and flanges
ALD-PVD Materials
  • Al2O3, TiO2, ZnO, Y2O3, ZrO2, HfO2, Cu, Al, Ti, and more...

ELECTRONICS & SOFTWARE

Mass Flow Controllers
  • 4 Analog MFC
  • 60 Digital MFC
Pneumatic (ALD) valves
  • 24 valves
Pressure Sensors
  • 4 Analog
Gate valves
  • 3 gate valves with feedback
Flow meters
  • 4 Flow meters
Temperature
  • 16 Channel PID regulation with K-Type sensors
  • 4 PT100/PT1000
Interlocks
  • 8 Interlock in
  • 12 Interlock out
Additional Connections
  • 2 Ethernet
  • 2 RS485

 

COMPONENTS

To fast-track the materials of the future

 

TEMPERATURE GRADIENT STAGE

 

The TGS is an off-the-shelf substrate holder that is able to create a temperature gradient from 500 °C  to 30 °C, besides providing homogeneous temperature of up to 400 °C. The temperature gradient can be tailored to different temperature windows.

This allows the screening of new materials and processes to be done in a substantially lower number of experiments. This saves a significant amount of time in the synthesis and characterization.

The TGS can easily be operated with our manual control and recipe creator to increase or decrease the temperature at any point during the process.

 

 

CHARACTERIZATION OF ALD FILMS FROM A SINGLE DEPOSITION

 

 

 

ELECTRONICS AND SOFTWARE CONTROL SYSTEMS

 

We provide electronics and software control systems to boost the flexibility and control of your process on existing equipment or your new home-made system.

We can integrate additional equipment or components into our software and be controlled with our recipe creator.

 


 

Mass Flow Controllers
  • 4 Analog MFC
  • 60 Digital MFC
Pneumatic (ALD) valves
  • 24 valves
Pressure Sensors
  • 4 Analog
Gate valves
  • 3 gate valves with feedback
Flow meters
  • 4 Flow meters
 
 

 

Temperature
  • 16 Channel PID regulation with K-Type sensors
  • 4 PT100/PT1000
Interlocks
  • 8 Interlock in
  • 12 Interlock out
Additional Connections
  • 2 Ethernet
  • 2 RS485

MICROWAVE PLASMA SOURCES & GENERATORS

 

We incorporate microwave plasma sources and generators from SAIREM ❯. The self-matching plasma sources working with 2,45 GHz solid state generators are ideal for ALD and PVD processes:

・ Surface pre-treatment and cleaning

・ Microwave Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition (PE-ALD)

・ Microwave Plasma Assisted Reactive Sputtering (MP-ARS)

 

CUSTOM SOLUTIONS

To meet your precise demands

 

EXPERTS IN ALD & PVD

We take your materials challenge and take it to production, from proof of concept to the design and development of your industrial coating system for manufacturing.

We provide technical, scientific, end engineering services for:

・ R & D of new coating materials - Proof of concept

・ Implementation of a new material into industrial production - Process development

・ Electronics and software control systems for existing equipment

・ Design and development of customized coating systems with our innovative concepts that challenges a 40 year industry standard

 

R&D services

To realize your material goals

 

  • Design of new materials for specific applications
  • Proof-of-concept coating materials
  • Test and screen new gas precursors
  • Scan a temperature range to identify deposition parameters
  • Combinatorial deposition techniques for material discovery
  • Fine-tune microstructure, morphology, stoichiometry, etc.
  • Materials characterization
  • Process development
  • Translate R & D materials into production

 

 

The SC-1 The first compact cluster system for R & D



 

The SC-1 is an innovative patent-pending cluster system:

 

  • Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD)

  • No need for mechanical arms or antechambers

  • Modular, flexible and customizable system