Close

or text +1 807-252-4391 info@meaglow.com

News

by

Meaglow will have a Literature Table for ALD 2019, at Bellevue Washington, USA.

ALD-ALE_2019_header_transparent_1235x257

Meaglow will be there next week!

Dr K. Scott Butcher (pictured below) will be attending ALD 2019, but to give him a bit of time to go to some of the talks Meaglow will have a literature table. You can  catch up with Scott by texting him on +1 807 252 4391 during the conference, or you can email him at sbutcher@meaglow.com Scott will be happy to talk about plasmas and hollow cathode sources with you.

www.meaglow.com

IMG_8710

by

Hollow Cathode Plasma Source for 12″ ALD system.

12 inch system hollow cathodeOne of the potential benefits of Meaglow’s hollow cathode plasma technology is scalability. In a recent news article from June 2019, we mentioned that Meaglow was breaking the old paradigm of high density but small area legacy plasma sources, for which delivery to larger areas dilutes the active plasma species. The question has to be asked, why can’t a high density plasma source be the same size as the substrate? And the answer is, with a hollow cathode source it can.

Meaglow had already developed designs for 4″ and 8″ diameter hollow cathode sources for high radical flux delivery over a similar area during plasma assisted atomic layer deposition. Now those designs have been refined in a 12″ plasma source, the first of which has now been shipped to a customer in the semiconductor deposition equipment market. The cathode, shown above before cleaning, was all aluminum for compatibility with silicon processing. The current design has been tested for operation over a pressure range from 80 mTorr to 8 Torr, though other pressure ranges can be achieved through custom design, and lower pressure operation with this current source may also be possible.

Shown below, left, is the plasma source in our test chamber with nitrogen at only 100 watts of RF power, though the source is designed for operation up to 3 kilowatts. On the right is the plasma source itself.

Check out the Meaglow website at www.meaglow.com or contact us at info@meaglow.com or +1 807 252 4391, for more information on our plasma products.

Plasma source

by

High Radical Flux Hollow Cathode Shows Another Advantage for ALD Film Growth Over Old Legacy Plasma Sources

NecmiInductively coupled plasma (ICP) sources were developed for use in the semiconductor industry decades ago, at a time when mainly silicon oxide and silicon nitride were being deposited by plasma sources. Today new materials have more exacting demands, especially for plasma assisted atomic layer deposition. The older sources have problems with oxygen contamination from sputtered dielectric windows (typically quartz or alumina). However, apart from that, the idea of using a high density power source generated in a small area tube and then diluting the activated species over a larger deposition area may be an idea that’s had its day. Small area sources are used so that back flow of metalorganic into the dielectric tube is minimised, since such deposition can block RF transmission to the plasma gas, and potentially cause damage to the dielectric liner.

plasma four inch

Enter the hollow cathode plasma source, free of oxygen contamination problems (see our company white paper on this issue) and able to cope with both metallic and insulating deposition on the cathode. Now a high density plasma source can be made to the same dimensions as a substrate – there is no need to dilute the plasma species over a larger area. The plasma source can also be brought closer in. The OkyayTech P100 (shown above) utilizes Meaglow’s large area high density hollow cathode source. Below is a useful table showing some results from the University of Connecticut group of Dr. Necmi Biyikli (pictured above). These demonstrate the advantage of breaking away from the old ICP plasma delivery paradigm.

Check out the Meaglow website at www.meaglow.com or contact us at info@meaglow.com or +1 807 252 4391, for more information on our plasma products. Meaglow and OkyayTech collaborate to build ALD tools with new generation plasma sources. You can check out the OkyayTech website at www.okyaytech.com or contact them at aokyay@okyayenerji.com or +1 818 318 9616, for more information on their ALD and ALE tools.

Table

 

by

Hollow Cathode Plasma Sources – a wider operating pressure range than you might think

We 20190422_143455want to correct some recent disinformation in a journal article, the review paper J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 37 (2019) 030902, on plasma ALD, appears to have mistakenly reported a very narrow operating range for our hollow cathode plasma sources of only 0.3 to 2 Torr. It is unclear what this range was based on as none of the references cited actually provide a pressure range. Apparently it is a simple misconception of the authors, presumably due to their inexperience with hollow cathode plasma sources. However, all our designs have had larger pressure ranges than those given in the review, and in fact there have been some exciting recent advances in our designs that have extended operation down to tens of milliTorr and perhaps even lower.

For clarification, the operating pressure range of our earliest hollow cathode design is provided in Japanese Journal of Applied Physics 51 (2012) 01AF02. The optimum pressure for that cathode – used for CVD work – was 1 Torr, however measurements presented there clearly show an operating range of at least 0.23 to 6.6 Torr for that very early design, though in fact it was probably much broader.

When designing for ALD systems, lower optimum pressure ranges have been required, so from about 2014, our designs have been optimised for operation between 0.3 and 1 Torr, though the full operating range of our barrel design plasma sources – such as our series 50 source, commonly used as an ICP replacement – have  a lower  limit of approximately 100 mTorr and an upper limit of > 5 Torrs. The picture below shows one of these sources at 120 mTorr with nitrogen at 100 watts of RF power.

Our newer designs, based on our large area hollow cathode plasma sources, go to even lower pressures, which we’ve now run to the base pressure of our test systems, to as low as 35 mTorr. A measurement system upgrade will be required to see just how low these sources can go, an example at ~50 mTorr is shown top left.

Check out the Meaglow website at www.meaglow.com or contact us at info@meaglow.com or +1 807 252 4391, for more information on our plasma products.

 

120 mTorr nitrogen 100 watts 0.0005 sec exposure

by

New Hollow Cathode Plasma Source Designs Provide Better Quality Films

0.125 sec exposure 278 watt 4130 mTorr

The University of Connecticut group of Dr. Necmi Biyikli, with others, have recently published a paper (J. Vac. Sci. and Technol. A 37 (2019) 020927) where they were able to achieve good quality, highly stoichiometric AlN using hollow cathode plasma assisted atomic layer deposition (HCPA-ALD) with film densities near bulk values. Because of the high radical flux from the source, significantly lower RF power was required to achieve this improvement in material quality compared to past experience, and shorter plasma on cycles could be used at these lower powers (20 seconds at 100 watts compared to 40 seconds at 300 watts).

Similar improvements in silicon nitride deposition were recently achieved by a team at the University of Texas, Dallas, where excellent quality, highly stoichiometric, high density PA-ALD grown material was achieved using one of our hollow cathode plasma sources (see, for instance, IEEE Electron Device Letters 39 (2018) 1195 ).

IMG_9895

Meaglow’s hollow cathode plasma sources are widely used by the ALD Research Community as replacements for inductively coupled plasma (ICP) sources because there is less oxygen contamination when depositing non-oxide materials. However, these recent papers, by the University of Connecticut and the University of Texas, Dallas, illustrate advantages that may be far more important for the industry moving forward. Those being an extremely high radical flux, to the point where the ion signal (ion densities are similar to ICP sources) is swamped by the signal of radicals during optical emission spectroscopy measurements, and relatively low plasma damage (see our company white paper on hollow cathode sources). These result in quicker deposition times with potentially more stoichiometric, better quality material.

The image to right shows the University of Connecticut plasma source with ellipsometer ports and sample entry door. The 4″ diameter source was custom made for use with an Okyay Tech ALD system.

 

by

Ammonium Nitrate Sensor/ALD Paper From Oklahoma State University

IMG-3804Congratulations to Prof. Dave McIlroy’s group, at the Physics Department of Oklahoma State University, for their recent publication in ACS Sensors Vol. 3 (2018) pg. 2367. The paper, authored by Lyndon Bastatas, provides some of the first results from the Okyay Tech ALD system recently acquired by that group. The ALD system includes a 4″ diameter Meaglow hollow cathode plasma source that was used to pretreat silica nanowire mat samples prior to the thermal deposition of ZnO in the Okyay Tech system. The ALD steps were part of a process to make a collection of 1D structures for ammonium nitrate sensors.

The picture shows Aaron Austin, one of the Oklahoma team next to the Okyay Tech ALD system with Mealgow plasma source shown at the top. Apparently more papers are on the way, with another 2019 publication already available. Meaglow is pleased to be an enabler of this next generation of research, check our products at www.meaglow.com.

 

by

Happy holidays from Meaglow

IMG_2125The Meaglow team wishes everyone a Joyous holiday season! And may 2019 bring you good health, prosperity and happiness.

Meaglow also thanks all our customers for their support. 2018 was our best year so far for plasma source sales, our hollow cathode product lines (see our homepage at www.meaglow.com) continue an upward trajectory, especially within the atomic layer deposition community where our plasma sources are providing some of the highest quality nitride materials grown by that technique. We were particularly pleased to see publications this year by the University of Texas, Dallas group of Prof. Jiyoung Kim which showed exceptional (possibly the best) quality PE-ALD silicon nitride – grown using one of our hollow cathode plasma sources (see our July 16th article). There have also been publications by Berkeley National Laboratories – one of those in Nature Communications – and by others (see publications here).

This year we had our first sales to Germany, Israel, South Korea and the United Kingdom, in addition to sales to Taiwan, Turkey and the United States. Our first orders for 2019 are already in hand, with one of our university customers ordering their fourth and fifth hollow cathode sources for conversion of their new and existing commercial PE-ALD deposition equipment.

Below are a few customer photos of systems converted in 2018 and now operating with Meaglow’s hollow cathode plasma sources. These are now taking advantage of the low oxygen contamination that allows higher quality nitride films using Meaglow’s patented technology (see related company white papers here).

collage

by

The University of Liverpool adds a Hollow Cathode Plasma Source

meaglow1Dr. Richard Potter of the University of Liverpool, in the UK, has upgraded his thermal ALD system for deposition with a Meaglow hollow cathode plasma source. This upgrade, which proceeded earlier this year, adds to the ever growing list of equipment that has been converted for use with this enabling technology.

Apart from being relatively inexpensive, the Meaglow plasma source has the advantages of low oxygen contamination and has generally shown higher growth per cycle than other plasma sources. See our website at www.meaglow.com for details, or our recent white paper on hollow cathode plasma sources.

 

Meaglow3

Dr. Potter used one of our very popular and versatile Series 50 plasma sources for this conversion. However, an ultrahigh-vacuum series is also available, as are custom plasma sources. Meaglow is happy to aid our customers. Congratulations to the University of Liverpool, we’re glad we could help with another successful adaptation.

new logo colour_logo_0848

Meaglow Logo White Background Transparent

by

Meaglow and Okyay Tech Sponsoring Nano-Ontario Conference

At the invitation of Prof. Sean Barry of Carleton University, Meaglow Ltd, together with it’s industry partner Okyay Tech, will be sponsoring part of the 9th Annual Nano-Ontario Conference to be held in Ottawa on 22-23 Nov 2018 on the Carleton campus. We look forward to catching up with as many nano-experts as we can! Look for Dr. Scott Butcher to attend on behalf of Meaglow (pictured below).

Meaglow Ltd. produces a range of innovative hollow cathode plasma sources that have seen strong uptake for plasma enhanced ALD. See our website at www.meaglow.com. A company white paper on our hollow cathode plasma source technology can be found here. Okyay Tech produces low-cost custom ALD systems for the research community, see their website at http://www.okyaytech.com/

ALD2017

by

Caltech Convert to Hollow Cathode for Better Quality Nitride Layers

IMG_2164Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have joined a growing number of institutes that have upgraded their plasma assisted ALD system with a hollow cathode plasma source. Meaglow’s plasma sources are well known for improving nitride layers by lowering oxygen content.

One such upgrade enabled low temperature GaN thin film transistors to be deposited at 200 degrees C (see the related Applied Physics Letter). While more recent work has allowed the demonstration of superior silicon nitride layers grown for device purposes (see our earlier article).

Meaglow is committed to enabling the next generation of materials development by providing deposition solutions that meet the stringent requirements of today’s researchers. See our product lines at www.meaglow.com.

Upgrade Your Plasma Source Today!