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Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

C-212 Troubleshooting for Thin Film Deposition Processes

The tutorial is designed for process engineers and technicians, quality control personnel, thin film designers, and maintenance staff.

Vacuum deposited thin films are used for optical coatings, electrically-conductive coatings, semiconductor wafer fabrication, and a wide variety of other uses. They may be deposited on glass, plastic, semiconductors, and other materials. Usually, a vacuum deposition process produces durable, adherant films of good quality. But what do you do when things go wrong? Not all films can be deposited on all substrate materials. Sometimes films peel off or crack. Other times they are cloudy, absorbing, scattering, or have other unacceptable properties. 

This tutorial will teach you about techniques and tools that can be used to identify the source of the problems, correct the process, and get back into production. It will also help in learning how to develop new processes and products.

 

Topical Outline:
  • Mechanical, electrical, and optical properties of thin films
  • Process parameters that affect film properties
  • Gauge and instrument calibration
  • Properties of substrate surfaces
  • Measurement of film stress
  • Detection of contamination
  • Introduction to surface analysis techniques (Auger, ESCA, SIMS, FTIR)
  • Substrate preparation and cleaning
Course Details:

Tutorial Description

Vacuum deposited thin films are used for optical coatings, electrically-conductive coatings, semiconductor wafer fabrication, and a wide variety of other uses.  They may be deposited on glass, plastic, semiconductors, and other materials.  Usually, a vacuum deposition process produces durable, adherent films of good quality.  But what do you do when things go wrong?  Not all films can be deposited on all substrate materials.  Sometimes films peel off or crack.  Other times they are cloudy, absorbing, scattering, or have other unacceptable properties. 

This survey tutorial will teach you about techniques and tools that can be used identify the source of the problems, correct the process, and get back into production.  It will also help in learning how to develop new processes and products.  Many types of deposition processes will be discussed, although the focus is not on in-depth comparison of deposition processes.  Techniques and tools are described for making a variety of measurements for quantifying the properties of thin films, both at the “cheap-and-quick” level and for precision analysis.  By drawing on methods used in a variety of industries, examples are given that can introduce new approaches to solving problems.  The tutorial is designed for process engineers and technicians, quality control personnel, thin film designers, and maintenance staff.

Some of the topics to be covered:

  • Mechanical, electrical, and optical properties of thin films
    • adhesion, abrasion, humidity, salt spray, hardness, bending
    • scratch and indenter tests
    • transmission, reflection, conductivity
    • index of refraction, absorption, scatter, haze
  • Process parameters that affect film properties
    • temperature, rate, pressure, angle
    • effects of water vapor
    • stoichiometry control
  • Gauge and instrument calibration
    • pressure (thermocouple, ion, capacitance manaometer gauges)
    • mass flow (thermal, laminar flow, displacement types)
    • helium leak checking
  • Properties of substrate surfaces
    • smoothness, chemistry
    • results of polishing processes
  • Measurement of film thickness and stress
    • use of thin optical flats for stress
    • thickness measurement devices
  • Detection of contamination
    • UV light
    • water sheeting
    • residual gas analyzers, partial pressure measurements
    • contaminant “fingerprinting” using RGAs
  • Introduction to surface analysis techniques
    • Auger, ESCA, SIMS, FTIR
    • RGA, GC/MS
    • Use of outside services and labs
    • Value vs. costs for capital equipment
  • Substrate preparation and cleaning
    • use of solvents and detergents
    • ultrasonic cleaning
    • contact angle measurements for detecting contaminants
    • glow discharge cleaning in vacuum
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)
    • Use of SPC
    • Run charts
    • Design of Experiments (DOE)
  • Problem solving within organizational structures
    • Getting support
    • Finding resources
    • Identifying risks
    • Communicating clearly

Instructor: Dr. Mike Miller, Test and Process Engineering Manager, Angstrom Engineering - Kitchener, ON
Dr. Mike Miller

Mike Miller is Test and Process Engineering Manager at Angstrom Engineering Inc. in Kitchener, Ontario. He received his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Windsor in 2009 and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Windsor in 2012. After graduation, Miller founded Substrata Thin Film Solutions Inc and began teaching Undergraduate Chemistry in 2014.


This course is currently available via:
On Location Education Program

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