Saturday, March 22, 2014

Meglow hollow cathode plasma source for PEALD reactors reducing oxygen contamination

According to a recent press release: "Meaglow Ltd. (Privately Held) announces a breakthrough in semiconductor production. As computer chips become smaller and smaller, advanced production techniques, such as Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) have become more important for depositing thin layers of material. Unfortunately the ALD of some materials has been prone to contamination from the plasma sources used. Meaglow Ltd has developed a hollow cathode plasma source which has reduced oxygen contamination by orders of magnitude, allowing the reproducible deposition of semiconductor materials with improved quality."
"The breakthrough has been shown in a recent publication of oxygen reduction figures for the hollow cathode plasma source supplied last year to the group of Professor Necmi Biyikli, of the Institute of Materials Science and Nanotechnology, at Bilkent University in Turkey. The plasma source was used to upgrade their existing Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) system by replacing an inductively coupled plasma source. The publication in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C (J. Mater. Chem. C 2 (2014) 2123) shows a reduction in oxygen content of orders of magnitude compared to previous results. There is also a marked improvement in material quality. These results render the older inductively coupled plasma sources obsolete for many applications."
Information from the web pageof MEAglow: The hollow cathode plasma source has been designed to allow for a quick  on/off process without major power oscillation. The plasma source also  does not have the oxygen contamination problems that plague many  inductively coupled and microwave plasma sources - due to interaction  between the plasma species and ceramic introduction windows.  Capacitively coupled plasma sources are another plasma source that do  not generally have oxygen contamination problems, however these sources  only have electron densities of 109 to 1010 cm3, in the lower less active region of our hollow cathode source we have measured an electron density of 9x1011 cm3, and a higher density is expected closer to the RF electrode. Another  advantage of this type of plasma source is that it can be scaled by  simply increasing the number of hollow cathode holes.
System Application: Meaglow system, Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE), Low Pressure Metalorganic Chemical Vapour Deposition (LPMOCVD), Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD).
Example of an installation at the Bilkent University ALD System converted for use with a Meaglow Hollow Cathode Plasma Source. Looks like a Cambridge Nanotech Fiji system (?) [Source]
Here is a PDF loaded with Infomration:


  1. This is really interesting stuff, from my experience of hollow cathode PECVD, I'm only concerned about sputtering of cathode material

  2. The source sits on a funnel quite far from the substrate - do you think nof particle generation?

  3. Not so much particles but the generation of atoms, or even ions, that you don't want in the film. To me, that's something to keep in mind for semiconductors.