We manufacture several different types of Plasma Etch systems, with varying electrode designs. Many designs developing from the needs of our customers and our ability to bring their needs to life.
Our electrodes range from “Square” to “Tumbler Drum” chambers, “Batch” type and Reel to Reel plasma systems. Our standard plasma systems contain the horizontal planar electrodes that provide shelving on which to lay the substrate. This was the easiest loading and unloading for the operator. Some misunderstandings about this style of electrode were called into question and Plasma Etch, Inc., evaluated the facts and stood by this design as it proved to be the best. Our electrodes do not inhibit the dispersal of gases or compromise “Etchback” performance in any way. Our power and ground electrodes etch at the same rate and substrates do not require any flipping or moving to achieve maximum etch uniformity. All that is basically required of the system operator is placing the substrate on the electrode, close the system door and start the process. It really is that simple.
The substrate resides in the vacuum chamber on or in the electrode. The electrode attracts the plasma to the substrate and should do so in an even, uniform manner without damaging the substrate. Electrode design varies according to the plasma equipment manufacturer and the purpose of the plasma system. Some electrodes are vertical, some are horizontal much like a shelf. The number of electrodes contained in a vacuum chamber, the sizes, forms and functions can vary from one electrode style to another. The design can mean a world of difference in results and plasma effectiveness. Plasma activity must be uniform across the electrode area.
Process temperature is extremely important. If the operator fails to have direct control over the temperature, it’s obvious the results could be devastating. Temperature has primary control over etch rates and a secondary effect on etch uniformity. Does the system operator have true control over the temperature? Without true control it can be very difficult to consistently repeat parameters or results since many variables can effect on the starting temperatures of new cycles if the operator cannot properly control temperatures.
Some plasma systems require a “warm-up” or “dummy run” to obtain the desired temperature and this can be expensive both in time and supplies. (Pre-heating of some materials is sometimes required and should not be confused with lack of temperature control or a “dummy run”). If your process is slow or minimal, you may not mind warming up the plasma system, but you might want to know whether it’s required or not on any plasma system you desire to purchase.
Some equipment manufacturers offer a heat produced by the plasma reaction, however often the R.F. power must be limited to control heating and thus slowing etch rates and throughput.
Some equipment manufacturers offer a cooling function as a form of temperature control. It’s best to know the facts either way.
Plasma Etch, Inc. manufactures Horizontal, Rotating and Reactive Ion Etch electrodes.
You are never required to warm-up or pre-run with Plasma Etch, Inc. equipment and temperatures are regulated throughout the entire process via computer control.