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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:

BENEQ nSILVER coating for special edition coins in honor of Tove Jansson – creator of The Moomins

ALD Technology Posted on 2014-02-01 10:40:54 reports that Mint of
Finland will mint a special issue of 100 numbered Tove Jansson coins with a
nominal value of EUR 20. The special edition coins will be given anti-tarnish
nSILVER ALD coating developed by the Finnish company Beneq (

The Tove
Jansson collector coin will be issued on 7 February. It will be available on
the Mint of Finland online shop and from distributors.

Jansson is
best known as the author of the Moomin books for children. The first such book,
The Moomins and the Great Flood, appeared in 1945, though it was the next two
books, Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and
1948 respectively, that brought her fame. Tove Jansson was selected one time
previously as the main motif in the 2004 minting of a Finnish commemorative
coin, the €10 Tove Jansson and Finnish Children’s Culture commemorative coin. [Wikipedia]

ALD:ed Tove Jansson €20 coin from Mint of Finland. The coins have been coated with nSILVER(R) from BENEQ to protect them from oxidation.

More information on the BENEQ nSILVER coating you can find here and below you can watch a Video on development of silver saving technology by University of Maryland using a BENEQ TSF 500 Batch ALD reactor.

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.

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.”

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[this post will be updated when results become available]