Deposition – A question of choice

Atomic Layer deposition

Often the first question in any discussion on deposition processes is which technique is best suited. Often the answer to this question is clear, but in some cases it requires a detailed understanding of the application and production targets in order to give a qualified answer.

Typical questions to understand which technique to use are:

  • What is the end application (often there are well established techniques and solutions for particular applications)?
  • What is the material to be deposited?
  • What kind of structure or topology needs to be coated?
  • What film quality is required? (more on what “quality” can mean in the next post!)
  • Are there any device or substrate concerns, such as damage or interface qualities?
  • What is the film thickness and required throughput?
  • What level of thickness control is required?
  • What is the maximum temperature which can be used in processing?

That might seem like a lot of questions, but they do help to narrow down the choices and avoid investing time trying the wrong technique. Normally the first question I ask is the structure to be coated, if the aspect ratios are high (>10:1) then ALD becomes the obvious leading candidate. If the need is to deposit a material such as Si3N4 on a non-demanding topology then the choice is less clear; PECVD, ICPCVD, ALD, Ion Beam Sputter Deposition, etc. If the need is to deposit the material at high quality and low temperature ICPCVD or Ion Beam are possible options. When damage is a strong concern then ICPCVD might be a possible option. If you want to learn more about the advantages of each technique then you can find an overview here.

I’ve been working with deposition processes at Plasma Technology for nearly 20 years, as have many of my team. If you need a deposition process solution, then drop us a line, we always welcome a good discussion that draws on our experience to establish what’s best for your application needs.

Deposition images for blog

Author: Chris Hodson, Senior Product Manager

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