Thin Film Deposition System Platform
Designed for Advanced Research & Development Applications
The Kurt J. Lesker Company® (KJLC®) ALD150LX™ is an Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) system designed specifically for advanced research and development (R&D) applications. Innovative ALD150LX design features, like our Patented Precursor Focusing Technique™ and advancements such as our Patent Pending Ultrahigh Purity (UHP) Process Capability provide unparalleled flexibility and performance. With an emphasis on enabling and supporting innovative, cutting edge technology at the R&D level, the ALD150LX serves not only as a stand-alone platform, but provides connectivity with additional process and analysis modules in a cluster tool configuration.
ALD150LX cluster tool connectivity eliminates unwanted atmosphere exposure between critical process and analysis steps to protect sensitive surfaces, layers and their interfaces. This connectivity includes the integration of additional ALD and analysis modules, as well as other KJLC thin film deposition technologies for multi-technique process and analysis capability and support that are second-to-none in the industry. Combined quality, flexibility and performance, as well as multi-technique process and analysis capability make the ALD150LX an innovative, best-in-class design.
- Thermal or plasma-enhanced (PEALD) configurations
- Smart vacuum design, employing UHV-type sealing enabling UHP process conditions
- Perpendicular flow design
- Four separate chamber inlets for precursor delivery (not including plasma)
- Analytical ports for in-situ ellipsometry or other techniques
- Horizontal substrate loading port (up to 150 mm diameter substrates)
- Independent substrate heater stage
- High-performance, remote inductively coupled plasma (ICP) source with up to eight plasma gas lines
- ICP source equipped with metal and differentially pumped elastomer seals enabling UHP process conditions
- Integral cooling allows use of high ICP power (1,000 W)
- Up to twelve precursor sources with four separate chamber inlets (not including plasma)
- Variety of precursor delivery options are available including vapor draw, flow-through and pulsed gas delivery
- Exposure modes include dynamic, static and optional Variable Residence Mode™ (VRM™)
- Ozone source
- Al2O3, TiO2, SiO2, Ta2O5, HfO2, ZrO2, HZO, ZnO, AZO, AIN, TiN, and GaN (many others available, please inquire)
- Independent substrate heater stage capable of up to 600°C operation
- Process chamber and precursor delivery line heating up to 250°C
- Precursor heating up to 200°C
- Delivery Line heating up to 250°C
- Up to 200°C Valve Heating
Software & Controls
- KJLC eKLipse system control software (LabView based)
- Real time controller
- True precision ALD valve timing
- Data plotting & recording of any available signal(s)
- Multiple and customizable safety interlocks
- Optional gas/reagent compatibility safety PLC
- Choose from provided, tested recipes, or write your own
- Multi-user level access, customizable
- Rotary vane pump (53 cfm) with foreline purge/vent protection and oil filtration
- Dry pump (Recommended Ebara ESR20N optional)
- Customer supplied process pump
- Manual loading
- High vacuum Load-Lock (single or multi-wafer cassette)
- Cluster Tool
- Glove Box
The ALD150LX process chamber can be configured for purely thermal or plasma-enhanced ALD. A combination of metal and differentially pumped elastomer seals prevent atmospheric components (i.e., N2, O2 and H2O) from entering the reaction zone where the substrate is located, thereby promoting a UHP process environment. In particular, UHP conditions reduce the levels of background oxygen impurities to limit exposures before, during and after film growth for high-quality non-oxide based materials, as well as their interfaces. Oxygen impurities are also a source of parasitic CVD during oxide film growth. Our unique perpendicular flow design enables isolated, uniform precursor delivery, and promotes increased precursor utilization as well as longer mean times between service intervals. To avoid unwanted material buildup and particulate formation inside delivery channels, four separate chamber inlets (not including plasma) are available for precursor isolation. For example, separate inlets can be used to isolate metal organic precursors and co-reactants to prevent deposition in delivery lines and valves.
- Plasma-Enhanced ALD (PEALD) configuration optional
- Combination of metal and differentially pumped elastomer seals enabling UHP process conditions
- Fully laminar flow, and fully inert-gas swept dead spaces keep reactor clean and reduce outgassing and virtual leaks
- Analytical ports (70° angle of incidence) for in-situ ellipsometry (ellipsometer optional)
- Four separate independently-heated inlet lines for precursor delivery to prevent unwanted buildup in delivery channels
- Independent substrate heater stage and outer chamber casing for excellent temperature control and uniformity
- 304L stainless-steel construction
- Accessible, low maintenance design
Our Patented Precursor Focusing Technology™ (PFT™) combines an inactive curtain gas barrier with centralized precursor delivery and pumping to minimize interactions with process chamber sidewalls, and keep precursors out chamber ports for improved precursor utilization and extended maintenance intervals. Analytical ports for ellipsometer integration are a standard feature on the ALD150LX (ellipsometer optional). Substrates (up to 150 mm diameter) are introduced through a horizontal loading port. Once inside a vertical pin lift mechanism is used to complete transfer by picking and placing substrates directly onto the surface of the substrate heater stage.
The base ALD150LX system includes two heated, single-source vapor draw modules with two separate chamber inlets (to avoid unwanted buildup in delivery line components), that operate in dynamic or static exposure modes. For the full range of precursor delivery options currently available, please refer to the Options Tab for more information.
The ALD150LX employs superior heating and temperature control that complements our unique UHP and PFT designs by further enhancing overall system performance. In particular, temperature uniformity and control helps to prevent unwanted precursor vapor condensation or deposition, and subsequent vaporization resulting in parasitic effects that reduce film quality and compromise chamber cleanliness.
Upper temperature limits for heated system components are as follows:
- Substrate heater stage 600°C
- Chamber and precursor delivery lines 250°C
- Precursors and delivery valves 200°C
- Delivery Line heating up to 250°C
- Up to 200°C Valve Heating
- Redundant overtemperature thermocouples for all heated zones to minimize thermal runaway; software interlocks
Our unique heater design combined with independent heat zones for precursors, delivery valves and lines, process chamber (multiple zones), substrate heater as well as foreline components provide unparalleled temperature control and uniformity of heated system components.
The ALD150LX plasma option is a fully integrated package that incorporates a high-performance, remote inductively coupled plasma (ICP) source design with up to eight plasma gas lines/channels. The use of expert vacuum design, including ultra high vacuum (UHV) type metal and differentially-pumped elastomer seals prevent atmospheric components (i.e., N2, O2 and H2O) from entering the ICP source, thereby promoting a UHP process environment. In particular, UHP conditions reduce the levels of background oxygen impurities to limit exposures before, during and after film growth for high-quality non-oxide based materials, as well as their interfaces. Oxygen impurities are also a source of parasitic CVD during oxide film growth. Typical plasma gases include oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. An alternate bypass channel is available for maintaining continuous gas flow during PEALD processing making the need to start-and-stop gas flow optional. Our advanced plasma source design is complimented by our state-of-the-art eKLipse software and controls package.
The base plasma option includes the following components:
- ICP source equipped with metal and differentially pumped elastomer seals enabling UHP process conditions
- Cylindrical dielectric plasma tube with helical inductive coil geometry
- 1 kW power supply operating at 13.56 MHz frequency
- Two plasma gas channels
- Self-supported, detachable auto-matching network
- Compact, modular design for ease of service
Other optional plasma features include:
- Six additional plasma gas channels
- Pump-purge manifold for gas line preparation
- Gas compatibility programmable logic controller (PLC)
An optional manifold is available for gas line preparation (i.e., pumping and purging) prior to charging. This pump-purge manifold provides built-in capacity for preparing gas lines to obtain optimal gas purity. To prevent mixing of incompatible gases (e.g., H2 and O2), a gas compatibility programmable logic controller (PLC) is also available.
Precursor Delivery Options
With up to twelve precursor sources that utilize four separate chamber inlets (not including plasma), the ALD150LX provides extreme process flexibility. Modules are available for gas, liquid and solid phase precursors with a host of delivery options including vapor draw, flow-through and pulsed gas delivery. A fully integrated ozone delivery option is also available. Please contact us for more information regarding our ozone option.
For delivery options that require heating, the ALD150LX employs superior heating and temperature control that complements our unique UHP and PFT designs by further enhancing overall system performance. In particular, temperature uniformity and control helps to prevent unwanted precursor vapor condensation or deposition, and subsequent vaporization resulting in parasitic effects that reduce film quality and compromise chamber cleanliness.
Precursor exposure modes include dynamic, static and Variable Residence Mode. Dynamic and static modes are standard features; Variable Residence Mode is optional. Please contact us for more information regarding our Variable Residence Mode option. The modular, scalable ALD150LX design accommodates a variety of different configurations including future expansion and upgrades.
Single-Source & Multi-Source Vapor Draw Modules
Vapor draw sources are ideal for liquid and solid phase precursors with sufficient vapor pressure such that they do not require any special assistance for effective vapor delivery other than heating. The base ALD150LX system accommodates two heated, single-source vapor draw modules with two separate chamber inlets (standard feature).
- Optional multi-source vapor draw module
- Multi-source module can include up to five vapor draw sources
- ALD150LX can accommodate up to two multi-source modules with two separate chamber inlets
- Precursor and delivery valve heating are independently controlled up to 200°C
- Delivery lines are independently controlled to 250°C
- Vapor draw modules feature true precision ALD valve timing for optimal precursor dose control
Flow-Through Vapor Delivery Module
For liquid and solid phase precursors with insufficient/low vapor pressure, flow-through sources provide enhanced vapor delivery. Our unique, modular flow-through design provides added flexibility for advanced low vapor pressure delivery and supports both flow-through and vapor draw methods.
- Maximum R&D flexibility through fully enclosed oven or independently heated precursor cylinder configurations
- ALD150LX can accommodate up to three flow-through modules with three separate chamber inlets
- Precursor and delivery valve heating independently controlled up to 200°C (oven configuration not fully independent)
- Delivery line heating independently controlled to 250°C
- True precision ALD valve timing for optimal precursor dose control
- Customers may provide their own ampoules/bubblers or choose from our selection of liquid or solid source containers designed specifically for the ALD150LX
Substrate Transfer Options
Substrates (up to 150 mm diameter) are introduced/removed through a horizontal loading port either manually in atmosphere (using a hand held fixture or mechanical rail assembly), or by automated transfer using a load-lock (single or multi-wafer cassette) or cluster tool configuration that provide a controlled vacuum environment for substrate handling. Glove box options are also available for manual or automated transfer configurations.
Substrate transfer options include the following:
- Manual loading in atmosphere (using a hand held fixture or mechanical rail assembly)
- Automated load-lock transfer (single or multi wafer cassette)
- Cluster tool with high vacuum and robot transfer
- Glove box
Pumping & Pressure Measurement
The standard pump for the ALD150LX is a Leybold D65BCS rotary vane pump (53 cfm, PFPE prepared) with optional foreline purge/vent protection and oil filtration. A dry pump with foreline purge/vent protection, as well as a customer supplied pump are optional. A heated (150°C) capacitance manometer measures process chamber pressure.
- Leybold D65BCS rotary vane pump, 53 cfm, PFPE prepared (or equivalent)
- Heated (150°C) capacitance manometer measures process chamber pressure
- Foreline purge/vent protection
- Oil filtration
- Dry pump (optional Ebara ESR20N) with foreline purge/vent protection (or equivalent)
- Customer supplied pump
Pulsed Gas Delivery
Pulsed gas options include our Pulsed Gas Source™ (PGS™) delivery module specifically designed for precise, accurate, high-speed dosing of toxic gases (e.g., WF6, HCl, NH3, H2S, etc.). The KJLC unique PGS design utilizes a fixed charge volume (or reservoir) for precursor dosing that eliminates the need for a mass flow controller for precise, accurate delivery. To accurately, precisely, and reproducibly control the amount of precursor being delivered, high-speed ALD valve timing as well as reservoir pressure are tightly controlled through our eKLipse software and controls package.
- Designed specifically for precise, accurate high-speed dosing of toxic or reactive gases (e.g., WF6, HCl, NH3, H2S, etc.)
- Eliminates the need for mass flow controllers
- Includes separate channel for pumping and purging of input line components
Film Sense In Situ Ellipsometer Integration
In fact, the first Film Sense FS-1 in-situ testing was performed on a Kurt J. Lesker ALD150LX reactor in 2014. The FS-1 has since been integrated on multiple Lesker ALD reactors, and has been used to characterize a wide variety of thin films including: Al2O3, TiO2, HfO2, and TiN.
The ALD150LX was designed from the ground up for advanced R&D and features remote plasma as well as in-situellipsometry as a primary means of real time process monitoring and control during ALD. Patented Precursor Focusing Technology™(PFT™) prevents unwanted film deposition on sensitive surfaces inside the reactor including the analytical port windows used for light transmission during in-situ ellipsometry. The layout of the plasma-enhanced ALD (PEALD) reactor makes installation and operation of the compact FS-1 unit simple and easy.
The Film Sense vision "to create easy-to-use and affordable ellipsometers" is especially relevant for in-situ applications. The Film Sense FS-1 realizes this vision by providing the power of Multi-Wavelength Ellipsometry, at an affordable price and compact size that is ideal for in-situ measurements. The FS-1 can provide real time thickness data with exceptional precision, which can be indispensable for the efficient development of new ALD processes. In the plot below, the "steps" in the data are direct observations of the thickness changes on the sample throughout the ALD cycles: the thickness increases and saturates as the precursor is introduced (trimethyl aluminum in this case), and then decreases as the film is oxidized (thermally by H2O in this case).
"Overall performance, affordability and ease of use has made the FS-1 a workhorse for our ALD process as well as equipment development efforts. The next generation FS-1EX provides a combination of higher beam intensity and wider spectral range improving both precision and accuracy. For metallic thin films such as TiN, Pt and Ru, two additional IR wavelengths enhance the ability to monitor film thickness and resistivity in-situ during growth. This enhanced performance helps us to streamline development efforts by effectively understanding the impact of different process conditions on film quality in real-time."
Dr. G. Bruce Rayner, Principal Scientist Atomic Layer Deposition
Kurt J. Lesker Company
The ALD-150LE™ and ALD-150LX™ are now easily integrated with a glove box. The process chamber is strategically positioned in the glovebox to provide the user with easy access to load and unload their substrate.
Kurt J Lesker is able to offer a wide array of standard and custom glovebox suites, from a standard 4 port or 6 port arrangement, to custom lengths and depths.
Along with the gloveboxes and system adaptor boxes the following accessories can be supplied:
- Spin Coaters
- Hot Plates
- UV Ozone Curing
- Regenerable Solvent Purification System
- Other accessories upon request
- All stainless steel construction of the glovebox
- Specifically designed to integrate with KJL deposition system
- All stainless steel Swagelok valves, fittings and piping
- Modular design (for easy expansion)
- Lexan front window
- Quick release front window
- Electrical feedthrough with a six (6) outlet power strip
- LED light fixtures
- All stainless steel antechamber; size 15" diameter x 24"L with sliding tray
- Shock assisted door lifting mechanisms
- All stainless steel mini antechamber; size 8" diameter x 15"L
- Stainless steel stand with leveling feet and casters
- Stainless steel vacuum gauges
- Adjustable bin storage unit (adjustable shelving)
- Spare KF40 feedthroughs
- Two (2) HEPA gas flow filters; one (1) inlet, one (1) outlet
- Push button evacuation and refill of antechamber
- All stainless steel 24V DC solenoid valve for refill of antechamber
- Automatic electro-pneumatic valve for evacuation of the antechamber (KF40)
- Common vent line
- Stainless steel filter column for the removal of oxygen and moisture including automatic electro-pneumatic valves (KF40 size)
- Fully automatic system with Siemens PLC control unit and 7" color touch screen with built in operating instructions and system diagnostics. Includes:
- O2, H20 and pressure trending
- Maintenance alarms
- Power saver mode for vacuum pump/lights (optional)
- Automatic regeneration process using 3-5% hydrogen gas mixture
- Capable of removing 36 liters of oxygen from inert gas before needing a regeneration
- Capable of removing 1300 grams of moisture from inert gas before needing a regeneration
- Continuous oxygen monitoring
- Continuous moisture monitoring
- Includes 50 cfm circulation blower
- Built for continuous operation
- Manual solvent removal system including stainless steel filter column, 10lbs of activated carbon, manual bypass and isolation valves, evacuation and refill valves, and refill drain port (optional)
- Automatic solvent removal system including stainless steel filter column with 20lbs of molecular sieve, automatic bypass and isolation valves with automatic reactivation of filter material (optional)
- Automatic purge valve-200 L/min flow rate
How KJLC's ALD Systems are Powering Next Gen Research
Enhancing the Surface Properties & Functionalization of Polymethyl Methacrylate with Atomic Layer Deposited Titanium (IV) Oxide
Mina Shahmohammadi from the research group of Professor Christos G. Takoudis, Full Professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in collaboration with College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Kurt J. Lesker Company recently developed conformal atomic layer deposition (ALD) based titanium (IV) oxide (TiO2) thin film processes on Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) displaying excellent surface and mechanical properties for potential engineering, medical, and biomedical applications. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Materials Science....READ MORE
Ultra-High Purity Conditions for Nitride Growth with Low Oxygen Content by Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition
Ultra-high purity (UHP) reactor conditions provide a process environment for growth of nitride thin films with low oxygen content by plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD). In particular, UHP conditions correspond to partial pressures below 10-8 Torr for impurities within the PEALD process environment to limit incorporation before, during and after film growth. In this article we...DOWNLOAD MANUSCRIPT
This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. This article appeared in Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A 38, 062408 (2020), and may be found at https://doi.org/10.1116/6.0000454
Atomic-Scale Processing Enables Advanced Electronics
Nanotechnology continues its march through the field of electronics, enabling faster and more energy-efficient computer processors, larger computer memory density and increased battery capacity. These ever-shrinking micro and nanodevices require advanced manufacturing methods to produce. Atomic-scale processing refers to a collection of these methods that may be used to deposit and remove material at the smallest scales, a single atomic layer at a time...READ MORE
Comparison of Hafnium Dioxide & Zirconium Dioxide Grown by Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition for the Application of Electronic Materials
Dr. Zhigang Xiao, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Alabama A&M University, in collaboration with the ALD group in the Kurt J. Lesker Company recently developed the plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition process and grow high dielectric constant (K) oxide for the application of electronic materials. They grew nanoscale hafnium dioxide (HfO2) and zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) thin films using remote plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PE-ALD) and fabricated complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuits using the HfO2 and ZrO2 thin films as the gate oxide. Miniaturization in modern semiconductor industry requires thin film deposition to have atomic level control and the deposited film to be conformal and pinhole-free...READ MORE
Equivalent Oxide Thickness (EOT) Scaling with Hafnium Zirconium Oxide High-K Dielectric from a Surprising Boost in Permittivity
Dr. Kai Ni from the research group of Professor Suman Datta, Stinson Professor of Nanotechnology at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with Purdue University and Kurt J. Lesker Company recently developed conformal atomic layer deposition (ALD) based hafnium zirconium oxide thin film processes displaying excellent electrical properties for potential gate oxide complement or replacement in scaled logic and memory technology nodes...READ MORE
Molecular-scale ALD discovery could have industrial-sized impact
(Edmonton) In the world of nano-scale technology, where work is conducted at the atomic level, even the smallest changes can have an enormous impact. And a new discovery by a University of Alberta materials engineering researchers has caught the attention of electronics industry leaders looking for more efficient manufacturing processes...READ MORE
3D Deposition of Conformal Lead-Based Ferroelectric & Piezoelectric Thin Films by Atomic Layer Deposition
Dr. Nicholas A. Strnad (General Technical Services, LLC) in collaboration with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Command Army Research Laboratory and the University of Maryland, College Park have recently developed conformal processes for a variety of lead-based electronic materials with outstanding properties using atomic layer deposition (ALD). The findings have been recently published in the Journal of Vacuum Sciences and Techology, A (ref. 1) and the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM) (ref. 2)...READ MORE
Global KJLC Systems Service and Support
The Process Equipment Division™ (PED) Global Service Department consists of dedicated, experienced personnel who strive to provide world class customer service.
North America, South America, & Australia
Phone: +1 412 387 9128
Fax: +1 412 233 4275
Europe, Middle East, India, & Africa
Phone: +44 1424 458100
Fax: +44 1424 458103
Phone: +86 21 50115900
Fax: +86 21 50115863
For other regions please e-mail: NAservice@lesker.com