Neutral plasma beam sources
The HS-Group GmbH is your reliable partner in the design, construction and production of plasma beam sources. We always find the optimal solution in plasma technology for our customers and their application. You always receive state-of-art technology and at the same time reliable products, competent advice and first-class service! More than 200 plasma sources have been sold and are used daily and reliably by our customers.
The methods of plasma generation and extraction used and patented by HS Group GmbH allow the use of plasma technology in a variety of applications.
Our QUATRON technology is based on four important features that make our plasma source an outstanding tool for versatile use in the industry and in science.
The four important QUATRON features are:
⇒ Capacitive coupled
⇒ Highly energetic
⇒ Resistance to process-related pollution (no glass bodies)
⇒ All process gases, including reactive gases, can be used
A conversion of our plasma sources to different frequencies, for example, 13.56 MHz, 27.12 MHz or 40 MHz is easily possible. Higher frequencies lead to a higher degree of ionization and thus to a higher plasma density, a higher ionic current and higher energy.
Coatings directly “from the source” are possible. For example, in DLC processes, we prepare the C+ atoms in the source and process the surfaces with defined energy, current, and direction.
The magnetic coils are aligned along the axis. This allows influencing the magnetic field and changing the beam characteristics (energy, focus). The magnetic field allows the plasma to be applied to a wide variety of process conditions, such as adjusting the chamber pressure.
More features of our QUATRON plasma sources:
⇒ Neutral and parallel beam (no static charge of the substrate)
⇒ Extraction network - only wear part
⇒ Ion energy in the beam exactly adjustable: 20 to ~2,000 eV
⇒ Beam current: up to ~ 6 mA/cm²
⇒ Typical work range/pressure range: 1*10-4 to 5*10-3 mbar
⇒ Very mono-chrome energy distribution in the respective pressure range
⇒ Plasma operation with several gases simultaneously with initial contact (mixing) in the plasma source
With our capacitively coupled plasma sources, both CVD processes and plasma-assisted processes in conventional PVD processes are possible. Typically, the energy range is 20 eV to 2,000 eV and higher.
Plasma is a partially or completely ionized gas consisting of neutral atoms or molecules and charged particles (ions and electrons).
Often, plasma is referred to as the fourth state of matter. The other three states are solid, liquid and gas.
The most important feature of plasma is its quasi-neutrality. This means that the total electric charge is almost zero despite free charges (ions and electrons). The free electric charges make plasma the conductive medium, which leads to a very good interaction with magnetic and electric fields. As a result, plasma can be formed and influenced and thus controlled, which is very important for the use of plasmas and plasma sources in different places and for different purposes.
Plasmas are used in many ways:
For example, for etching, plasma-induced material deposition (PECVD), non-stick coating, mirroring, roughening and curing of surfaces, improving the adhesion of layers, plasma oxidation and cleaning.
Regardless of the chosen etching process, our QUATRON plasma beam sources are reliable and provide reproductive results.
If entire layers must be removed, plasma etching can be applied. Plasma etching is understood to mean a chemical process (CDE = Chemical Dry Etching) for the selective removal of entire material layers at a high etch rate (for example removal of paint layers). The process is very accurate—as not to damage the substrate and isotropic—because of the freely moving gas particles.
This process should not be mistaken as ion beam etching or other dry etch techniques - such as reactive ion etching, since in these processes the material loss is primarily physical and thus anisotropic.
If lower selectivity is beneficial for the process and in order to process almost any substrate surface, the high energy particles help in ion beam etching (IBE). These particles bombard the surface and etch anisotropically. In order to reduce the ejected material and contamination in the vacuum chamber, a reactive gas is used in addition to the argon, which adds a chemical character to the etching.
when applying reactive ion etching, both an anisotropic and an isotropic etch profile can be achieved. This chemical-physical process plays the most important role in the semiconductor industry, since the most significant variables (reproducibility, homogeneity, selectivity and etch profile) can be influenced precisely. By controlling the gas flow, pressure and power and selecting different gases, the desired results are achieved in a controlled manner with very good repeatability.
Common methods are:
IE = Ion Etching
- Inert ions accelerate towards the substrate. The substrate is in contact with the plasma
IBE = Ion Beam Etching
- Inert ions that are accelerated towards the substrate with an ion gun. The substrate is outside the plasma
RIE = Reactive Ion Etching
- Etching with reactive ions substrate and plasma in contact
RIBE = Reactive Ion Beam Etching
- Etching with reactive ions. - Reactive ions that are accelerated towards the substrate with an ion gun. The substrate is outside the plasma
PE = Plasma Etching
- Chemical etching with free radicals and little support by ions
BE = Barrel Etching
- Chemical etching is done exclusively with free radicals.
Plasma cleaning processes can be used to clean the surface of substrates without the use of highly toxic cleaning chemicals. In typical plasma cleaning, the environmentally friendly argon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are used.
Fine cleaning of glass, metals and plastics allows subsequent coating of these surfaces with excellent adhesion. Plasma can be used to treat sensitive material surfaces and to remove unwanted chemical or organic substances by disrupting their structure.
Plasma has several advantages over other surface cleaning methods:
• High cleaning efficiency
• Low temperature of processes
• Penetration into microscopic gaps
• Drying is not required
• Versatility (suitable for all types of materials)
• Low cost of the process and consumables
• Minimal costs for waste disposal
Plasma assisted coating is often used in fine optics to improve the density and stoichiometry of the vapor deposited layer.
The steady development of plasma and ion beam sources and the possibility of their use for a direct influence on the atomic and molecular level during the coating process, is met with great interest by the companies that are active in the field of nanotechnology (microelectronics, polymers, functional coatings, bio-medicine, etc.).
Intensive use of oxide layers (TiOx, SiOx, ZnO, etc.) in the thin film industry needs the unique properties and capabilities that a modern plasma beam source can offer, such as QUATRON.
The vapor deposition of thin films very often requires a lower temperature, so that the chemical compounds or the structure of the substrate are not affected. This is where the saving property of plasma sources comes in, helping to accelerate the atoms and molecules towards the substrate, which can lower the overall temperature of a coating process.
The most commonly used methods in which plasma assist is indispensable and QUATRON plasma beam sources can be successfully applied are, for example, PVD (Plasma Vapor Deposition) and PECVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition).
PECVD coatings directly “from the source” are possible. When using DLC processes, for example, we prepare the C+ atoms in the source and process the surfaces with a defined energy, current, and direction.
Our plasma sources are very commonly used in plasma enhanced coatings (PECVD).In doing so, for example, plastics are coated at lower temperatures. Generally, plasma enhanced CVD processes allow the deposition at temperatures around 300°C, which will not damage the substrates. The decomposition reactions of the process gases are triggered by the HF plasma excitation at lower temperatures.