What is a Deposition Stage?

What is a Deposition Stage?

Deposition stages are important components in advanced coating and thin-film generation systems for enhancing process efficiency and promoting greater substrate coverage. They can be broadly defined by the extent to which they can manipulate substrates under processing conditions. Choosing the right deposition stage is subsequently a critical part of your workflow.

Deposition Stages: The Basics
Static deposition stages hold substrates securely in place within a direct line of sight of the deposition source using a set of convenient mountings. These can be configured for a range of substrate sizes and orientations but cannot perform rotations or temperature material modifications.

In order to increase deposition rates and promote greater thin film uniformity, the stages are designed as ultra-high vacuum (UHV) devices with heating and rotating deposition stages, as well as optional radio frequency (RF) and direct current (DC) Bias.

These features provide sample substrate surface preparation and activation to remove surface contaminants via RF plasma etching, and precise controlled crystal annealing ahead of thin film growth, with conducting, semiconducting or insulating sample substrate wafers.

For thin film growth, the stages can revolve substrates, with temperature control and optional biasing (RF or DC) in UHV conditions. These features offer improved coating uniformity, film and interface stress relief, density, and accelerated deposition rates, resulting in superior film morphologies.

Positioning Substrates in UHV Conditions
At UHV Design, we offer a choice of in-line, right-angle, and glancing configurations as well as modular designs for varying specifications.

Once the substrate is secured within the rotating cradle, a stationary heater module can uniformly increase the wafer temperature up to 1200°C. Physical vapour phase (PVD) of atoms and molecules begin to precipitate on the surface as it revolves at speeds of up to 60 rpm, facilitating even deposition across the entire wafer. Unlike conventional pyrolytic graphite heaters which are gradually consumed by oxidation at high oxygen partial pressures and high-temperatures, our refractory heaters are optimised for an extended life cycle in oxidising environments. This translates to greater efficiency and reduced ongoing operating costs for deposition applications like pulsed laser deposition, thermal evaporation, e-beam, RF and DC sputtering.

Browse our full range of EPICENTRE deposition stages for more information. Or, if you have any questions for the UHV Design team, simply contact us today.