Monday, February 25, 2019

Picosun’s ALD yttria eliminates corrosion in demanding applications

ESPOO, Finland, 25th February 2019 – Picosun Group, a leading supplier of ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) thin film coating solutions for global industries, has developed an excellent quality ALD yttria process for corrosion protection in harsh environments.

Yttria, aka yttrium oxide, Y2O3, is extremely hard, dense, and mechanically strong material which has excellent chemical and erosion resistance and very high melting point. These characteristics make it ideal for protective coatings in applications where operating conditions are extreme. Some examples of these applications are various semiconductor production equipment and metal production. Y2O3 also finds uses as a high-k gate dielectric in novel microelectronics such as carbon-based components, thin film transistors, and germanium-metal-oxide semiconductors. 
A street in Sweden close to the Ytterby mine, famous for having the single richest source of elemental discoveries in the world; the chemical elements Yttrium (Y), Ytterbium (Yt), Erbium (Er) and Terbium (Tb) are all named after Ytterby (photo from Miras Miarakel LINK)
Yttrium oxide coatings are typically produced with physical vapor deposition, electron beam evaporation, or sputtering methods, but ALD offers several advantages over these techniques. ALD-manufactured yttria films are intrinsically pinhole-free, extremely dense, ultra-thin, and highly uniform, and they cover conformally even the smallest nanoscale details, voids, crooks, and steps on the surface. Achieving these properties with a fraction of film thickness compared to traditional methods saves costs and materials. As the ALD process is based on spontaneous surface chemical reactions between gaseous reactants, it is gentle to the coated surface and can be applied at moderate temperatures, if needed. Cost-efficient, high throughput production of yttrium oxide coatings can be realized in Picosun’s industry-proven PICOSUN™ P-1000 and P-300B ALD equipment (*).

“Our high volume production ALD machinery such as PICOSUN™ P-1000 and P-300B reactors has been a huge success since their launch. With this equipment we have been able to take ALD to totally new application areas in e.g. surface protection and functionalization of various mechanical components, anti-tarnish and decorative coatings for coins and watch parts, and production of biocompatible coatings for medical devices. Now, our superb quality yttria process, upscaled to production in our high volume reactors, enables revolutionary ALD solutions in industries where durable and reliable surface protection against extreme conditions is needed,” states Dr. Jani Kivioja, CTO of the Picosun Group.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Picosun’s ALD encapsulation prevents electronics degradation

ESPOO, Finland, 14th February 2019 (LINK) – Picosun Group, a leading supplier of ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) thin film coating solutions for global industries, reports unprecedented results in high reliability electronics protection with ALD.

Hermetic encapsulation by ALD nanolaminates developed by Picosun has been proven to block tin whisker formation on PCB (printed circuit board) assemblies completely(*). During the observation period of over one month to three years, ALD-protected samples showed no tin whisker growth at all, whereas on non-protected samples tin whisker density of over 1000 pcs/cm2 was measured. In addition to blocking tin whiskering, Picosun’s ALD nanolaminates help to protect the PCBAs against other key degradation phenomena such as various forms of corrosion and oxidation. Hermetic ALD coating works efficiently even against moisture and gaseous sulfur in polluted atmosphere. Due to its nanometer-scale thickness, the ALD film has no effect on the PCBA functionality, mass or dimensions and it allows reworking of the PCBA. 

Tin whisker formation and corrosion are particularly fatal in several high reliability electronics applications such as data centers, space, aviation, military, medical and industrial control systems. Picosun’s revolutionary ALD encapsulation method offers now safety improvement, product lifetime lengthening, and even long-term cost savings to these manufacturers. Fast, cost-efficient processing of large amounts of PCBAs can be realized in PICOSUN™ P-1000 and P-300B high volume batch ALD systems with production-proven, industry-optimized processes.
“We are happy to announce these groundbreaking results obtained with our ALD encapsulants in protection of specialty electronics. This is a new, potentially huge market for ALD. There has already been lots of interest towards our turn-key coating solutions for large scale PCBA protection from the corresponding industries. This shows again the versatility of ALD and its power to disrupt near all fields of today’s industrial manufacturing”, says Dr. Jani Kivioja, CTO of Picosun Group.

Strem Chemicals offers ALD & CVD Precursor bubblers and ampoules for R&D and high volume manufacturing

Strem Chemicals, Inc. manufactures and markets specialty chemicals of high purity. Their products are used for research and development, as well as commercial scale applications, especially in the pharmaceutical, microelectronic and chemical/petrochemical industries.

Strem Chemicals has more than fifty years of experience in manufacturing inorganic and organometallic chemicals and probably the world´s most extensive product offering of MOCVD, CVD, and ALD precursors. Continually adding new products for this dynamic and exciting field, their range of products is presented in the on-line catalog (LINK) and include:
  • Metal alkyls
  • Metal alkylamides and alkylimides
  • Metal amidinates
  • Metal alkoxides
  • Metal β-diketonates
  • Metal cyclopentadienyls
  • Metal halides
  • Volatile organometallics
  • Volatile metal carbonyls
  • Fluorinated derivatives
  • Electronic grade chemicals
  • Single source precursors for mixed metal oxides
The standard and absolutely safest way to transport and deliver highly reactive ALD & CVD precursors is in stainless steel ampoules. These are often referred to as bubblers since in many cases they are fitted with a dip tube on the inlet allowing efficient vapor delivery by an inert carrier gas like N2, He or Ar. These bubblers are readily fitted with seal tight valves and VCR vacuum fittings for easy and safe installation directly on the ALD/CVD tool gas box by a qualified person.

In addition to their 450+ precursors, Strem Chemicals offer a variety of electropolished stainless steel bubblers at capacities ranging from 150ml to 3000ml. These bubblers are available in horizontal-in-line and vertical configurations. While standard bubblers are equipped with diaphragm valves rated to 121°C (PCTFE stem tips), Strem also supplies bubblers with high temperature bellows valves rated to 315°C. DOT and UN approved configurations are available.

An assortment of cylinders for ALD can be found in the on-line catalog (LINK) with standard, high-temperature and high-purity options. In addition, Strem Chemicals provides additional services to our customers for their MOCVD, CVD & ALD needs such as:
    • Cylinder/Bubbler Cleaning
    • Precursor Filling & Refilling
    • Prepackaged Precursors in ALD Cylinders

      Above, are small sized vapor draw ampoules for research amounts of precursors. The sleek design affords a very compact precursor delivery system.

      Bubbler specifications 

      Strem Chemicals allows you to match a bubbler to your current ALD or CVD tool gas box. The bubbler can be specified using a vast range of types, dimensions and valve configurations. Depending on the precursor to be supplied the valves, materials and dip tube configuration can be optimized for the most efficient precursor delivery even at elevated temperatures (up to 315 °C).

      Strem offers four of the most popular bubbler designs, and can be made to fit inside most of the ALD/CVD tools on the market today as well many custom build systems.

      Once you decide your preference of bubbler, you will need to measure the critical dimensions (A to E), such as volume, temperature operation and dip tube configuration. Then you´re ready to order the ideal bubbler filled with your desired precursor. By following the guide you can be sure that the bubbler will fit like a glove into your precursor cabinet!

      Example of a bubbler configuration sheet for a stainless steel bubbler fitted with high temperature valves.

      Promotional Blog for Strem Chemicals, Inc.
      Researched, produced & written by BALD Engineering AB, Stockholm, 2019-02-21
      Abhishekkumar Thakur, Jonas Sundqvist