The Award Winning CCV Based ICP - Introduction and Interview with Horiba Scientific

AZoM conducted a series of interviews at the MS&T 07 trade exhibition in Detroit between September 17 and 18. Here's what one of the exhibitors had to say when asked about their latest developments, products and technologies.

Interviewee: Philippe Hunault (H), General Manager Emission Group, Paul Tivvons (P), Sales Engineer, Thin Film Group
Interviewer: Cameron Chai, AZoNano

AZoNano: Hi, this is Cameron Chai here reporting from the MS&T Trade Show in Detroit and I've got with me Philippe Hunault, the General Manager of the Emissions Group from Horiba Scientific, and also Paul Tivvons, Sales Engineer for the Thin Film Group. First of all, Philippe, I understand you've got a new device that you're promoting here. Something that won an award at PitCon earlier this year?

Horiba Scientific (H): Yes, so we just introduced a new type of ICP. It's a CCV based ICP. But here the approach is very unique because we provide all the help for the customer to develop the method from A to Z. So it's not only an instrument, it is a complete new analytical approach. And in fact this new and unique analytical approach is based on a new database of wavelengths. And this database is made of unique ICP wavelengths that never exist and never was developed before. So that's really a new approach in our instrument. So after that, we have also developed what we call the multi-line, and that is because until now we were using one wavelength to analyse one element. So now, for each element, we can use several wavelengths. And of course, for each element, we will get maybe five, 10, 15 results. And of course after all the statistics, the real ability of this result will be much better than to have only one result for one element. So in fact, this new approach is based on a new database of wavelengths specific for ICP and the multi-line analysis. And of course, all the software tools have been designed to drive the operator from A to Z in the method development. So it means that an ICP user will have no clue about the spectroscopy, can use an ICP in one or two days, but it's also very useful for a very good spectroscopist because this ICP database will be also very useful for a good spectroscopist.

AZoNano: Alright. So it sounds like a particularly user friendly device. How long does it take to do an analysis, given that it's doing so much more work than what sounded like a more conventional device?

Horiba Scientific (H): Yes, in fact the analysis time has been reduced dramatically, but also it's more for the method development. The method development now is very accessible to a person who is not a real spectroscopist. So we want really to bring the ICP technique to any user because now the people in the lab have less and less time to do method development. So with these software tools, it's become really very easy to develop the method.

AZoNano: Excellent. Sounds like it would have been a good thing for me to use way back when I was doing things like that and I had to send my samples away to specialist people to do.

Horiba Scientific (H): Exactly. And also what is very important because you know, when people analyse a sample, they want to be sure the result they are given is correct. They want reliable results. When you use only one result for one element, it maybe good, but it maybe wrong. If you have 10 results of the same element and if you do a statistic on 10 results, of course the result is more reliable and it is what everyone wants to do.

AZoNano: And so how does the cost of one of these machines compare to a standard ICP machine?

Horiba Scientific (H): Well now the ICP, the market price for an ICP or a CCV base is around $80,000, $85,000 and we are in this range, depending on the accessories. So it's about $80,000, $85,000.

AZoNano: Sounds quite reasonable to me.

Horiba Scientific (H): Yeah, absolutely, yes. Very reasonable, knowing the powerfulness of the system, that's very reasonable.

AZoNano: And you were also telling me earlier on about a new device that you had for analysing codings.

Horiba Scientific (H): Yes, so that is another optical emission spectrometer, but here it is for solid sample analysis. In fact this is the technique that we call a glow discharge optical emission spectrometer which is known as a GDOES. So this technique is a depth profiling technique and it is for the analysis of solid samples without any preparation. And we will do the sputtering of the sample, means that if you have for example a substrate with different coatings, different layers on it, we will start from the surface and we will go from the surface into the bulk material and will cross all the different layers and will get the composition in real time of all these different layers from the surface until the substrate. So we can go from coatings which are about one nanometre and less thickness, but the beauty of the technique is we can also go down to more than 150 microns. So you see the dynamic of the technique, we can sputter a layer from the nanometre or less, to more than 100 micron. The dynamic, in terms of concentration of this technique is also unique because we can see elements from the PPM level up to 100%. So for example if you have an element at the PPM level in a layer, you can see the same element which is at 100% in another layer. So this technique is a very good dynamic in terms of depth, but also a very good dynamic in terms of concentration.

AZoNano: And what sort of applications does this technique have?

Horiba Scientific (H): I know in the past, this technique was very well known in the steel industry for zinc coating, for PVD and CVD coating. So now the door is open because now we can also sputter conductive and non-conductive material because we just introduced a unique pulsed radio frequency source and with the radio frequency source we can sputter almost any type of material, conductive and non-conductive. But the unique system that we just introduced is the pulsed radio frequency source. And with the pulsed radio frequency source, we can now sputter very fragile material like polymers, resin and things like that. So that opened the door to the market in the semiconductor industry, the glass and the polymers and so on. So now, this technique can cover a very large variety of applications.

AZoNano: Sounds like you've just about got the market covered for coatings and ¡K

Horiba Scientific (H): Yes. So that's the reason why we are at this show because here we have the people doing the coatings, so we expect that these people will come to see us to analyse the coating. Because to do the coating is good, but to check if the coating has been done correctly is very important itself.

AZoNano: Very good. Alright Philippe, thank you very much for that.

Horiba Scientific (H): Yes, thank you very much.

AZoNano: Now, Paul, how are you going, Paul?

Horiba Scientific (P): Real good.

AZoNano: How's the trade show going for you so far?

Horiba Scientific (P): It needs a little more momentum.

AZoNano: Now, you were telling me you've got a fairly recent elipsometer you've released?

Horiba Scientific (P): The MM16 is a new elipsometer system that we introduced recently, recently is a relative term. What distinguishes the MM16 is that it is a very fast also relatively, I'll call, inexpensive, affordable spectroscopic elipsometer. It's a system based upon liquid crystal modulation and that's a new technique that has taken a number of years to develop. We've been able to bring it to market and package it very compactly an inexpensively. This is something that brings the realm of spectroscopic elipsometry for the analysis of complex materials into many different areas where people would have been ¡K perhaps historically have been concerned about the cost of such an investment. The other thing that makes the MM16 very flexible as well is the fact that we have utilised the same software that we have developed over a number of years for our other elipsometric model systems, that's the Delta-Psi 2 software. It runs fully functionally in the MM16 and therefore the power of that software for analysing almost anything and not even knowing what you're analysing as a starting point, is still available to the user. In addition, all the accessories that have been developed over time for the other elipsometric systems are also available on the MM16, including such things as motorised garniometer, motorised stage, high temperature, low temperature stage, liquid cell for measurement of biological materials, polymers, interactions with solvents, etcetera. All of those accessories are also readily installed on the MM16.

AZoNano: And just for anybody who's not ¡K who doesn't already know, what actually is an elipsometer?

Horiba Scientific (P): An elipsometer is a tool that will measure by looking at the change in the polarisation of reflective light from an incident, a light incident beam on a sample material. An elipsometer will measure the structure of the films that may be deposited on a sample, whether it's one layer of a film or it's a multi-layer stack, there are different materials in many different applications. You can think of the optical industry, for example, used to manufacture lasers, you can look at semiconductors, many different applications in the semi-conductor industry. And another interesting new technology is of course, and it's an extension of some semi-conductor manufacturing, is in the photovoltaics. So anything that involves thin film process and the materials, whether they be semiconductor, metallic, insulator, polymer and biological, can be analysed through elipsometry.

AZoNano: Sounds like a bit market you've got there.

Horiba Scientific (P): Potentially, yes. We need to introduce it to many applications or people because of complexity of analysis and cost historically have not looked at elipsometry. Now there's an opportunity to look at it again.

AZoNano: Sounds exciting.

Horiba Scientific (P): It indeed is. And we are selling the MM16 for what I would call applications you would never dream about.

AZoNano: So what you're saying is that even though there are so many applications that you've identified, you're already selling it into other applications that you hadn't thought of before?

Horiba Scientific (P): We had never though of, quite frankly. A recent order was to a university in New York system whereby they were going to be analysing small channels in a silicon structure that's used for controlling biological processes. It's very strange. And don't ask me to try and explain the technology on that part.

AZoNano: Never [unclear - overtalking].

Horiba Scientific (P): That part, I couldn't explain to them. But yes, many different areas that people ¡K for which elipsometry is a totally unfamiliar technology. It can be simplified with this tool and with our software and it can give very useful results that they wouldn't be able to get by any method.

AZoNano: Sounds like you guys are Horiba are doing a really good job of taking a high tech science and then bringing it to the general scientists so they can use all these techniques to analyse things that they probably didn't think they could and put it in the hands of people that didn't have specialist training for.

Horiba Scientific (P): And that's an exact summary of what this marketing effort is going to be and the areas in which it can, these tools can fit. That's the exciting part, as you said.

AZoNano: I only wish that I was now doing my studies now rather than 20 years ago.

Horiba Scientific (P): It would have been a lot easier (laughs).

AZoNano: That's right.

Horiba Scientific (P): And you would have probably been able to start your own company, sell it to General Electric for $10 billion or a billion and retire.

AZoNano: We can only hope.

Horiba Scientific (P): We can hope. We can all hope on that part. Good.

AZoNano: Alright Paul and Philippe, thank you very much for your time.

Horiba Scientific (P): Very good.

AZoNano: All the best for the rest of the trade show.

Horiba Scientific (P): Thank you.

Horiba Scientific (H): Thank you, 'bye, 'bye.

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