Automated Plasma and Reactive-Ion Etching System – Caroline PE12 from ESTO-Vacuum

ESTO has developed Caroline PE12 system for plasma etching and reactive ion etching of thin films deposited on ceramic, silicon or any other flat substrates with a thickness of less than 30mm and diameter up to 250mm. Substrates processing is carried out individually since the system is fully automatic.

The PE12 system features a unique bench with the HF-bias applied for extracting and accelerating of plasma ions. It also includes a patented high density plasma generator with high frequency generator for plasma excitation.

For improved substrate cooling, a helium cooler can be fitted into the system that creates helium flow between the bench surface and the substrate to sustain the temperature gradient between the electrode and the substrate.

Key Features

The main features of the Caroline PE12 system are:

  • Full etching process automation from loading to unloading of substrates
  • Gas consumption control in each channel and three-channel gas flow rate stabilization
  • Large rectangular vacuum chamber door allows for easy holders changing


The applications of the Caroline PE12 system are:

  • Metal film etching, including silver, gold, platinum and other films
  • Gallium nitride and gallium arsenide etching, and other complex semiconductor etching
  • Silicon-containing layers etching
  • Quartz substrates and piezo quartz etching
  • Any polymer layers etching
  • Hydrogen plasma etching for vacuum tubes
  • Highest-grade ceramic surface cleaning
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