Oxford Instruments, the high-technology tools and systems company, is pleased to announce the launch and first customer orders of its new OpAL atomic layer deposition (ALD) system. Following on from Oxford Instruments’ successful launch of its FlexAL ALD process tool in 2006, the OpAL system offers a compact open-loading system to complement the load-locked FlexAL.
The OpAL system is based on Oxford Instruments’ renowned Plasmalab 80Plus open-loading process tool platform, and can handle from small wafer pieces up to full 200 mm (8”) wafers – making the OpAL tools equally suitable for academic and industry R&D. The base thermal ALD system can be upgraded with the addition of a remote plasma ALD source. The remote plasma option allows for the widest possible choice of precursor chemistry with enhanced film quality; plasma enables low-temperature ALD processes while the remote source maintains low damage. Liquid or solid precursors can be heated to 200 °C and bubbled with argon, and are housed inside an extracted stainless steel cabinet providing safe management of hazardous precursors, located within the tool to minimise delivery line length.
Five orders have already been received from customers across the USA, Europe and Asia, for both thermal OpALT and combined thermal/plasma OpALRPT systems, and are now being delivered.
With its global service and support team, Oxford Instruments gives worldwide hardware and process support to its customers in addition to the process guarantees provided from its own
“OpAL offers a high-quality entry route into atomic layer deposition with an excellent range of process capability and uncompromised tool standards,” says Oxford Instruments’ ALD Applications Specialist, Chris Hodson. “Our intention has always been to offer our customers a family of ALD solutions, and together the OpAL and FlexAL tools give choice with trusted and reliable hardware platforms.”
ALD offers the opportunity to create precisely controlled structures for advanced semiconductor and other nanotechnology applications, by creating ultra-thin films on nanometre scales. A unique property of ALD is its ability to deposit material conformally around high aspect ratio features.
The technology is widely regarded as an enabler of the next generation of semiconductor devices.