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Automated control system for atomic layer depositioning

Supplier: AVT Services By: JP Dera
28 January, 2010

The race for finding alternative energy sources and reducing carbon foot prints is becoming more and more important to the survival of Earth.

Since the world is too dependent on energy to supply our lifestyles, research facilities around the world are frantically trying to come up with new ways to meet our earthly demands without leaving a large footprint on our planet.

One such organization here in Australia is doing just that by researching on better ways to harness the suns energy through photovoltaic technology. By opting to use Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) for their thin film process they are coming up with more efficient solar cells which harness more of the suns energy and in turn yield better power outputs of the same size panel.

Initial research using ALD precursors gases were controlled manually and they could not reach their desired results. The precursor valves could not fire fast enough to get the right thin film deposition on the substrate and the only way they could achieve the results was finding a way to control the valves at the fastest possible rate.

AVT Services Pty Ltd was called in to find a solution for their problem. AVT designed a fully automated control system with simple, user friendly controls for three precursor gases using 30 millisecond control valves and three mass flow controllers with unlimited valve control combinations and recipes.

The system controls all relays and contactors for the vacuum equipment from the roughing pump, turbo controller and associated valves.

The substrating heating is also controlled by the system making sure that the chamber is at its optimum temperature for an ideal deposition.

All data are logged from MFC flows, vacuum and temperature readings viewable during and after each process. This gives a detailed picture of the results where users can either use it for fine tuning or displaying an optimal procedure for deposition. With this new tool at their disposal they are that much closer to hopefully winning this free clean energy race that everyone on earth has been waiting for.