Excimer Laser Enables Pilot and Volume Pulsed Laser Deposition of Thin Films
Thin-film deposition techniques are applied in a wide variety of markets such as MEMS, Semiconductors, Photovoltaics, OLED displays, and RF filters for 5G communication. New complex material systems with increasingly critical material properties require constant expansion and quality improvement of thin-film deposition technologies, supporting a wider range of thin-film processes while also enabling flexibility in process optimization. Solmates a company specialized in pulsed laser deposition (PLD) located in Enschede, The Netherlands, set out to develop robust and user-friendly deposition equipment for the evolving thin film industry.
The Solmates team uses PLD, a physical vapor deposition method that relies on excimer laser light to deposit materials of complex stoichiometry on conducting and non-conducting substrates. Their PLD systems provide full control over deposition parameters, which enables engineering of the final thin film properties such as composition, crystallinity, density, porosity, and film stress. Thin-film manufacturers can attain electrical and optical thin film properties unachievable with other deposition technologies, and even venture into new material systems and applications. The Coherent LEAP excimer laser series was selected by Solmates for its combination of high (up to 1 Joule per pulse) energy and scalable power (80 to 300 W) which determines the PLD system throughput. Plus, LEAP lasers have a well-established track record of 24/7 industrial reliability and minimized cost per wafer in demanding high-volume production environments.
Today, Solmates PLD platforms can be integrated to any standard cluster frame to support pilot-scale as well as high-volume production. The advent of high-quality PLD processes on industry wafer sizes up to 300 mm, allows industrial customers to broaden their thin film deposition capabilities and add some 30 new materials and material systems to their deposition portfolio.
Figure 1: Solmates is developing robust and user-friendly PLD deposition equipment for the evolving thin film industry.