System for experimental research and development


Since this system is provided with just the basic functions of a solid source ECR plasma deposition system, it is more economical that an automatic deposition system.

  • Low temperature process
  • High refractive index control
  • High-speed reactive film formation
  • Condensation / flat film

In answer to strong demands from those involved in thin-film research, we have developed the competitively priced AFTEX-2300. While inexpensive, it has a microwave branch coupling type of ECR ion source installed and is equipped with a load lock mechanism and turbo molecular pump, to provide top performance. This is the optimal system for research into thin films of materials such as oxides and nitrides.

  • Deposition Characteristics
  • Product Features
  • Standard Specification
  • Principles and Features of ECR Plasma Deposition
Deposition Characteristics

High-quality thin deposition

Since the thin-deposition occurs under the bombardment of high-density ions controlled at a low energy level of 10-30 eV, precise, high-quality thin films that are flat at the atomic level can be formed. In addition to SiO2 films that exhibit resistance to extreme conditions of 10 MV/cm, films of other materials can be obtained, such as Si3N4, which is as hard as diamond and has superior moisture blocking properties, and Al2O3, which provides a good barrier to hydrogen.

Low temperature, low damage

The ion-assist effect makes it possible to form thin films of chemical compounds such as oxides or nitrides without any high-temperature heating, and also makes it possible to obtain highly crystalline thin films at low temperatures. Since the ion energy is low, a soft cleaning effect with low damage to the substrate can be expected.

High-reactivity deposition

Any solid material that can be fabricated into a sputtering target can be used as the raw material, so thin films of various chemical compounds can be formed easily by combining them with introduced gases such as oxygen or nitrogen. For example, if Si is used as the solid source, Si, SiO2, and Si3N4 films can be formed, and if Al is used, Al2O3 and AlN films can be formed. We have also had results with Ta2O5, HfO2, and ZrO2 films, as well at ITO and STO films.

Product Features
  • Adhesion of films to the microwave introduction port is prevented and a branch coupling type of ECR plasma source that implements long-term stable operation is installed
  • To ensure there are direct reactions between sputtering particles from the solid source and a low-energy, high-current ECR plasma flow (of oxygen or nitrogen, etc.), an environment-adapted system which makes exhaust gas processing unnecessary is used
  • A clean deposition environment has been implemented by the adoption of a turbo molecular pump for the main exhaust from the deposition chamber, as well as a load lock mechanism
  • The vacuum exhaust sequence is automated, and various interlock mechanisms have been adopted
Standard Specification
Item Specifications
Vacuum exhaust system Deposition chamber: TMP (450 l/s)
Load lock chamber: RP (250 l/min) TMP in common
Deposition chamber
Chamber dimensions φ570x340mmm
Substrate size 4” diameter
Substrate heating Optional
Distance from target to substrate 200mm
Load lock chamber
Conveyor method Transfer load
Number accommodated 1
ECR plasma source
Quantity 1 (microwave branch coupling type )
Plasma chamber φ150mm
Cylindrical target φ100x40mm
Gas introduction lines 2
Control power source Microwave power source (1): 2.45 GHz, 1 kW
Coil power sources (2): DC 1.5 kW
Target power source (1): RF 13.56 MHz
Exhaust Automatic
Substrate conveying Automatic
Deposition Automatic
External dimensions 1.8×1m
Options DC sputtering
Substrate heating
Substrate bias
Additional gas introduction line possible
Microwave auto-tuner
Achieved vacuum pressure 10-5 Pa level
Deposition, film thickness distribution 3” diameter ± 10%
Installation conditions
Electrical power 3φ AC200V 20KVA
Coolant water 10 l/min 0.3MPa
Weight 1000kg
Principles and Features of ECR Plasma Deposition

ALD Principle

Electrons rotating within the confines of lines of magnetic force of a field strength of 87.5 mT (Tesla) are excited by an alternating electric field at 2.45 GHz (electronic cyclotron resonance), and absorb energy to rotate at high speed. This ensures that gas molecules collide, even at low pressures where discharge is difficult, to generate a plasma efficiently.

High refractive index control

  • No electrical power, low gas pressure (0.01-0.2 Pa), large-current ion bombardment effect at low energies (10-30 eV) to a high-density (5-10 mA/cm²) substrate surface
  • Formation of precise, smooth, high-quality thin films, with low heating and low damage

Physical properties of ECR thin films

Tiny irregularities at the single-atom level (Rmax of I2O2 film = 0.48 nm at a film thickness of 100 nm)
SiN films and carbon films have hardnesses similar to those of diamond
Waterproofing characteristics of SiN film (reliable blocking with SiN film coating)
Hydrogen barrier characteristics of AI2O2 film (barrier ability similar to bulk)
Superior optical characteristics
Highly precise refractive index control, high optical permeability (SiO2, SiN, AI2O2, AIN, Ta2O2, ZrO2, etc.) (Fig. 5) C-V characteristics of MOS capacitor using ECR-SiO2 film (implementation of superior boundary characteristics by unheated ECR oxide)
High-purity target and gas used as ingredients to achieve high levels of purity with no reaction products (H, F, CI, etc.)
High compoundability
Orientation of AIN films, MgO films, etc. Low-resistivity TiN films and α-Ta films.
Coatability of bumps is much higher than with general sputtering, by formation of inclined rotation film at low gas pressure and high ionization rate.
High voltages
High-voltage insulation film similar to bulk. 10 MV/cm for SiO₂ and Al₂O₃ films (similar to 1000°C thermal oxidation film).
Low damage
Low boundary levels and boundary charges of MOS capacitor
High permittivity
Formation of boundary oxide films inhibited by metal-mode deposition

Drawing & Diagram

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