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BALD Engineering News Blog

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Probably The Best ALD news blog. Covering new and old developments in Atomic Layer Deposition and Technology. From BALD Engineering:

Prof. Leskelä was awarded with a certificate in Cologne by MRS Cologne

Awards Posted on 2014-01-19 18:38:27

Prof. Dr. Markku Leskelä gave the first talk in the Materials Science Lecture Series titled “Industrial Applications of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)”
As reported on Twitter by @MRS_Cologne – Prof. Leskelä gets awarded the first ever MRS Cologne certificate.

Oxford Instruments is offering an upgrade option for its ALD equipment to apply a bias voltage to the substrate

ALD Technology Posted on 2014-01-19 17:38:41

After some recently published work* by Kessels group (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands) on using substrate biasing in PEALD Oxford Instruments is now offering an upgrade option for its ALD equipment to apply a bias voltage to the substrate, adding further control of the energy at the wafer surface in order to tune the properties of the deposited film.

Oxford Instruments’ technologists expect that control of the ion energy will enable the design of films with other optimized characteristics, or with simpler process requirements. “This is very new – a new dial to very easily tune the physical properties of specific materials,” notes Robert Gunn, Plasma Technology Business Group Manager. “We now need to explore the physics behind the material interactions to see what applications this would be relevant to.” What will be the driving market? “It might be easier to ask what market it won’t fit into,” suggests Frazer Anderson, Nanotechnology Tools Business Group Director

Continue reading:

* H. B. Profijt, ∗ M. C. M. van de Sanden, and W. M. M. Kessels; Substrate Biasing during Plasma-Assisted ALD for Crystalline Phase-Control of TiO2 Thin Films; Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters, 15 (2) G1-G3 (2012)


Substrate biasing has been implemented in a remote plasma atomic layer deposition (ALD) reactor, enabling control of the ion energy up to 260 eV. For TiO2 films deposited from Ti(CpMe)(NMe2)3 and O2 plasma it is demonstrated that the crystalline phase can be tailored by tuning the ion energy. Rutile TiO2was obtained at 200 and 300°C, typically yielding amorphous and anatase films without biasing. Aspects such as film mass density, [O]/[Ti] ratio and growth per cycle under biased conditions are addressed. The results demonstrate that substrate biasing is a viable method for ALD to tailor ultra-thin film properties.

Beneq wins Tekes’ Commercialization Breakthrough award

Awards Posted on 2014-01-19 15:47:42

Beneq reported on Wednesday, December 11, that Beneq received a special commercialization breakthrough award from Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for technology and innovation, as part of its six-year-long Functional Materials program. The goal of the program was to promote the development of application-focused materials and processes, as well as to raise foreign investor awareness of Finland’s exceptionally high level of material expertise.

Beneq was selected for the Commercialization Breakthrough award thanks to the company’s outstanding work on two particular commercialized projects: transparent conductive oxide (TCO) for aerosol applications and Roll-to-Roll atomic layer deposition (ALD).

During 2013 alone, Beneq sold three Roll-to-Roll ALD systems. The world’s first scaled-up Roll-to-Roll ALD system was delivered to the Advanced Surface Technology Research Laboratory (ASTRaL), a research unit based in Mikkeli, Finland, that belongs to the Lappeenranta University of Technology. This laboratory has been a global forerunner in developing new applications that take advantage of ALD coatings. The second delivery went to the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI). The third delivery will go to an undisclosed partner, whose unit is currently in build phase.

“Our Functional Materials program, which focused particularly on coatings and coating technology, achieved excellent results, despite the economically challenging times,” says Markku Lämsä, Program Manager from Tekes. “From the projects completed, we have more than 100 patents, 200 scientific publications and 90 theses. Moreover, companies that participated in the program estimate that they have already received over EUR 60 million in new funding from foreign investors.”

The final seminar of the Functional Materials program, which Tekes carried out from 2007 to 2013, brought together over 300 experts from many different fields. Beneq received its award at the end of the day.

“When we began, we only had a strong belief in our special coating know-how. Yet, we have continued to be driven mostly by our passion to reach a commercialized breakthrough – and bring our coating technologies to real-life applications” says Sampo Ahonen, CEO, Beneq. “We took well-calculated risks to bring something new to the market. But these kinds of decisions always need a strong vision and perseverance. This award validates the tough decisions we made many years ago.”

“I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all our Beneq employees, the team at Tekes and all our suppliers and partners. Without them, we would not be here today. A company always needs to rely on talented team members who are ready to give their best to accomplish a challenging goal,” he continues.

[as reported by Beneq]

Colnatec and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT develops QCM Technology for ALD

ALD Technology Posted on 2014-01-19 13:41:41


Press Release May 21, 2013

Gilbert AZ and Dresden, Germany— May 7, 2013 – Arizona-basedColnatec LLC and Fraunhofer Center Nanoelectronic Techologies (IPMS-CNT), of Dresden, Germany, have signed a joint research and development agreement with the mutual goal of advancing the development of deposition equipment and processes for atomic layer deposition (ALD) in semiconductor and photovoltaic applications. The project itself will test the efficacy of Colnatec’s real-time, high-temperature film thickness monitoring system in a manufacturing-scale equipment environment.

Colnatec Engineer on source inspection before final design of chamber feed thru is made.

One of the key issues in ALD is the lack of in-situ process control during production. This is due to the high temperatures and the corrosive nature of the constituent gases used. The lack of real time measurement leads to an inability to control the process, the ramifications of which are yield loss, process failure, and poor production economics.

“Current competitor measurement systems are post production, meaning manufacturers can’t prevent yield loss from precursor pulse failure,” commented Colnatec CEO, Wendy Jameson. “With a real-time system in place inside the hot chamber, process line engineers can know immediately if a pulse failure occurs, as it occurs, and stop the process before the wafer is ruined, saving thousands of dollars per batch.”

“Another potential use for the sensor system is for particulate,” added Scott Grimshaw, Colnatec Chief Technology Officer. “Tempe operates as a machine maintenance sensor, predicting when an ALD system needs to be cleaned. With the minute amounts of “dirt” allowable inside a chamber, having a dirt-buildup warning system is akin to having a smoke detector: as soon as maximum allowable amounts of particulate accumulate, the system shuts off, sending a warning signal to the operator and preventing wafer damage.”

Colnatec hook up to a 300mm Metal PEALD at Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT. The sensor can access the centre of chamber and by stepless movement move out to radius corresponding to 300mm and 450mm (!).

With the scaling down of semiconductor devices, need for nanotechnology has increased tremendously. Nanoscale devices need to be as thin and perfect as possible, so the use of ALD during nanofabrication is inherently well suited, as it is intrinsically atomic in nature and results in the controlled deposition of films at the atomic scale, conformal coatings, and pin-hole free deposition. Today ALD is used in production of DRAM, Advanced CMOS, MEMS, and passivation of crystal silicon solar cells, to name a few applications.

The Tempe™ System is designed for thin film coating process control when high evaporation or chamber temperatures are required. Because it is able to maintain temperatures within a range of 50-500ºC the sensor is able to detect the breakdown of the gases used in the ALD process. This leads to a real-time measurement of film thickness on the order of Angstroms. The Tempe™ system is equally suited for other high temperature manufacturing processes, including thin film solar cell, organic light emitting diode (OLED), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and rapid thermal processing (RTP). Combined with the Eon™ film thickness controller, which is capable of real-time correction of any natural frequency drift in the crystal during heating, any process that requires heated crystals or high measurement accuracy will see exponential improvement, leading to the highest accuracy possible as well as enabling continuous crystal operation without cooling.

“Colnatec sensors are exciting for us,” noted Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, Group Leader, High-k Devices at Fraunhofer CNT, “because they will give us insight into our process where we’ve had none before. They also enable us to build better ALD equipment, develop stable ALD precursor chemistries, and eventually deliver a process to our customers worthy of mass production with a low cost of ownership. By integrating the Tempe™ sensor in to the ALD process chamber kit,” he added, “we think we can reduce machine down time, use fewer test wafers, and optimize time and fab floor space for ex-situ process control through monitoring with in-line metrology. This could be very important for our industry–today on 300mm wafers but especially for the upcoming move to 450mm wafer size.”

Visit Colnatec at

[this post will be updated when results become available]

PICS – A EU project to develop innovative Atomic Layer Deposition materials and tools for high density 3D integrated capacitors

Capacitor Posted on 2014-01-19 13:24:45

PICS – A EU project to develop innovative Atomic Layer Deposition materials and tools for high density 3D integrated capacitors

GRENOBLE and CAEN, France – Oct. 23, 2013 –CEA-Leti, Fraunhofer CNT and three European SMEs, IPDiA, Picosun and SENTECH Instruments, have launched a project to industrialize 3D integrated capacitors with world-record density.

Thetwo-year EU-funded PICS project is designed to develop a disruptive technology that results in a new worldrecord for integrated capacitor densities (over 500nF/mm2) combined with higher breakdown voltages. It will strengthen the SME partners’ position in several markets, such as automotive, medical and lighting, by offering an even higher integration level and more miniaturization.

The fast development of applications based on smart and miniaturized sensors in aerospace, medical, lighting and automotive domains has increasingly linked requirements of electronic modules to higher integration levels and miniaturization (to increase the functionality combination and complexity within a single package). At the same time, reliability and robustness are required to ensure long operation and placement of the sensors as close as possible to the “hottest” areas for efficient monitoring. For these applications, passive components are no longer commodities. Capacitors are indeed key components in electronic modules, and high-capacitance density is required to optimize – among other performance requirements – power-supply and high decoupling capabilities. Dramatically improved capacitance density also is required because of package shrink.

IPDiA has for many years developed an integrated capacitors technology thatout performs current technologies (e.g. tantalum capacitors) in terms of stability in temperature, voltage, aging and reliability. Now, a technological solution is needed to achieve higher capacitance densities, reduce power consumption and improve reliability. The key enabling technology chosen to bridge this technological gap is atomic layer deposition (ALD) that allows an impressive quality of dielectric.

Picture 1: Prototype of medical pills integrating temperature sensor and RF transceiver
Picture 2: 3D trench capacitors integrated into Silicon

The PICS project consortium will address all related technological challenges and setup a cost-effective industrial solution. Picosun will develop ALD tools adapted to IPDiA’s 3D trench capacitors. SENTECH Instruments will provide a new solution to more accurately etch high-K dielectric materials. CEA-Leti and Fraunhofer CNT will help the SMEs to create innovative technological solutions in order to improve their competitiveness and gain market share. Finally, IPDiA will manage the industrialization of these processes.

Dresden, Germany and Espoo, Finland, October 25, 2013 – Picosun Oy, the leading Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)equipment manufacturer, provides novel batch ALD processes for fast, cost-efficient mass production of next generation 3D capacitors.

High power density 3D capacitor technology, which is suitable for storing and handling largequantities of energy, is utilized for example in pacemakers and other implantable medical devices, electric cars, and more and more efficient memories for computers and mobile devices. To realize these applications, power consumption, long-term stability, and general reliability of the capacitors and other related electronic components need improvement and their footprint substantial reduction.

Advanced, innovative ALD structures are in a central role when addressing these challenges and Picosun, as the leading supplier of mature batch ALD technology, is a natural choice for providing both ALD tools and processes for the capacitor manufacturing. With its demonstrated, optimized and production-proven ALD processes, Picosun is solidifying its position as the technological leader in the future 3D capacitor market.

“Picosun is the only company offering mature ALD batch equipment that can run stand alone or be clustered using a vacuum robot enabling a production ramp in a cost-efficient way. We aim at transferring our proven high-k capacitor material and process knowledge to an ALD batch system from Picosun and thereby improving cost-of-ownership for applications employing thicker high-k for high voltage applications. Such an offering is not available at the market today,” comments Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, group leader of high-k devices at Fraunhofer CNT, Germany. Fraunhofer CNT, a top European research center for micro- and nanoelectronics is one of Picosun’s collaboration partners in the EU 7th Framework Program project PICS (“Development of innovative ALD materials and tools for high density 3D integrated capacitors”,, a part of which the work for the next generation 3D capacitor production upscaling is.

Picosun’s world leading ALD technology enables industrial leap into the future by novel, cuttingedge coating solutions, with four decades of pioneering, groundbreaking expertise in the field. Today, PICOSUN™ ALD systems are in daily production use in numerous prominent industries around the globe. Picosun is based in Finland, it has its subsidiaries in USA and Singapore, and world-wide sales and support network.