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Real-Time Control of Thin-Film Fabrication with TOFWERK Semicon Process Solutions

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Real-Time In Situ Parallel Detection of Elements and Molecules with TOFMS during ALD for Chemical Quality Control of Thin Films 

Priebe, A., Dousse, B., Tzou, C.-Y., Papadopoulos, G., Utke, I., Bensaoula, A., Michler, J. & Guerra-Nuñez, C.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.1c09544

In this publication, Agnieszka Priebe and her colleagues from EMPA and Swiss Cluster as well as colleagues from TOFWERK show the integration of TOFWERK Semicon Process Solution with ALD to enhance real-time control of thin-film fabrication, crucial for enhancing material properties like hardness and chemical stability. The solution addresses challenges in monitoring and optimizing processes, offering potential benefits across microelectronics, sensors, and biomedical applications.

Thin films possess remarkable properties due to their two-dimensional structure, requiring precise fabrication techniques to ensure characteristics like hardness, durability, and chemical stability. This study investigates the integration of a time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS) with atomic layer deposition (ALD) to enhance real-time control of thin-film fabrication. TOFMS enables parallel detection of all ionized molecules and fragments, surpassing traditional quadrupole mass spectrometers. This in situ monitoring allows immediate adjustments to deposition parameters, ensuring optimal process control and high material quality.

Reliable monitoring is crucial, especially in large-scale industrial settings where failures can be costly. TOFMS with ALD allows early detection and correction of process deviations by adjusting parameters like precursor temperature and pulse duration. This technique is superior to others like QCM and FTIR, offering fast, non-intrusive, comprehensive chemical data acquisition.

This study highlights the Semicon Process Solution’s potential in optimizing thin-film fabrication, implementing end-point detection for complex interfaces, and providing guidelines for reproducibility, contaminant identification, and quality assessment. This method is broadly applicable across various deposition and etching processes, essential for manufacturing microdevices, coatings, sensors, and biomedical applications.

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