Vacuum Technology i

Foreword

Underlying the deposition and etch capabilities is a robust understanding of vacuum technology. Nordiko systems are thoughtfully designed and manufactured and assembled with care. They provide our customers with advanced capabilities and exhibit excellent longevity.

Introduction

With the passing years our modern day lives are impacted by the use of vacuum technology to an ever increasing extent.  From smartphones, computers, the cars we drive, communication systems to health care, many elements of life are touched by the application of the technology.  Most thin film technologies rely on a vacuum environment to facilitate the fabrication process for devices and assemblies. Here we shall concentrate on the generation and measurement of vacuum used for thin film applications.

To create a vacuum we use pumps to remove the air from an enclosure.  One can envisage two types of vacuum system, or vessel.  One that is closed; it is evacuated and sealed.  Good examples of these are: a vacuum Dewar, or thermos flask, a old fashioned cathode ray television screen, or a thermionic valve from an old radio.  The latter are seeing a resurgence in niche tube driven HiFi amplification.  These are generally glass vessels that are evacuated to about 1.3 x 10-4 Pa.  They are sealed containing a vacuum getter to help maintain the vacuum level.  The second type of vessel is usually metal, considerably larger than the sealed units and is continuously pumped.  These pumped systems are tools in which processes are performed.

In general, vacuum technology is not that complicated, but is a rather niche discipline, hidden from the layman.  The needs of the semiconductor sector has driven the advances in this area to benefit itself, affiliated disciplines and other industries.  The requirement for low defect levels in devices has pushed the development of pumps that provide a low level of vacuum, together with very low levels of contamination.  Contamination typically takes the form of particulates and residual vapours, such as hydrocarbons.