November 2018 newsletter

Ion Times

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for your support and business this past year. It’s hard to believe the holidays are fast approaching. For our contribution to black Friday specials we are offering the chance to test drive our I-Beam 703 power supply. If you are concerned with aging power equipment on your production lines and a failure would be disruptive, it might be time to schedule your 3-week Demo period. Use 3 weeks to confirm the communication, source operation and recipe process all work as expected. We are here to help keep your production system alive. Just think, if you qualified a new power supply before the first failure in your old equipment, your boss might personally thank you.

Something broke on the production system?

Working with ion beam equipment can be very challenging, but many issues can be resolved over the phone or email. We never charge for phone or email support. But when it comes time to send equipment back for evaluation, please visit the general information section of our website. There you will find a Return Authorization form. Please fill it out to start the process. We pride ourselves on a quick return as we know that when your system is down, you are not making money.

Upcoming Show… the big one.

Headed to Photonics West in 2019? Come visit Plasma Process Group in booth 5451! Dan and Jim will be on hand to discuss your latest process need, the new technology you’ll want to meet the latest customer requests, and how to bring Ion Beam Deposition capacity into your lab without breaking the bank!

Same size ions, smaller source…

Last month we introduced the brand new 23cm RF ion source, our largest ion source to date. This month, we travel to the opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes you just need a smaller ion source! The 6cm RF source from Plasma Process Group is an ideal fit for smaller R&D chambers, one-off production systems, and smaller coaters. Combining all the benefits of RF into a smaller, tighter-fitting, and less expensive package, the 6cm RF source opens up new doors for small-volume production systems.

6cm source
6 cm RF source
6cm source grids
6 cm grids

The 6cm RF source can be highly valuable in Ion Beam Figuring as well. Because it can run with gases like Oxygen, it can even be used in Reactive Ion Etch processes. Further, with highly divergent or convergent grids (25cm focal point), it can project a wide area of uniform beam (divergent) or a tightly focused etch point (convergent). The beam current range from 25 – 200mA allows for slow, precision etching or faster larger area etching from the same ion source. Finally, beam voltage capabilities of 50 – 1500eV (equal to any of our other ion sources) gives the 6cm source access to the full range of ion beam processes.

At 7.5-inches in diameter by 5.6-inches deep (cylindrical), the 6cm source takes up less space inside your chamber. Available in Flange Mount or Internal Mount configurations, the 6cm source can also be installed however needed inside vacuum. Because of its size the shroud water cooling has been eliminated, thus using one less feedthrough on your chamber as well. As with any RF source, it does require an radio frequency neutralizer (RFN) and associated flange, and an RF Matching Network will be mounted on the atmosphere side of the source. For Flange Mount configurations, a 10-inch Conflat is standard. For Internal Mount configurations, two 2.75-inch Conflat flanges are standard. Other flange options can be considered.

Designed to operate with an I-Beam 703 power supply from Plasma Process Group, the 6cm RF source will also interface with most older Ion Tech RF supplies. A standard source package includes the power supply, cables, and Matching Network, plus the RFN and flange, ion source, grids, and source interface flanges. Call or e-mail today for more information and to configure your 6cm Source Package!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

October 2018 newsletter

Ion Times

Upcoming Exhibits

Having made it through the gauntlet of international exhibits over the last few months, we can finally look to our last domestic exhibit for 2018 – the 65th AVS International Exhibition in Long Beach, California. Plasma Process Group can be found in Booth #426 from October 23 – 25 (two weeks away!). Dan will be on hand to answer any questions and introduce the newest member of the PPG Ion Source Family, the 23cm RF Ion Source.

Believe it or not, we’re getting close enough to Photonics West 2019 to mention that Plasma Process Group will be exhibiting there as well – Booth 5451 – in January. Come see us at the industry’s most important show!

With Fall comes change…

It has been three years since our last change, and almost a decade since the last increase, but Plasma Process Group is officially going to be raising prices on all goods and services starting January 1st, 2019. However, all is not lost! We will also be introducing a new discount structure, designed to reward customers who make our jobs easier! Bulk quantities and order history will qualify your company for discounts on our new prices.

Birth Announcement

Plasma Process Group is delighted to welcome the newest member of our family – the 23cm RF Ion Source! With its 1.5A maximum beam current capability and exceptional performance at lower Assist-range voltages, this ion source fills the current need for a larger, higher-current ion source flawlessly. With its revolutionary design (the beam is round, but the source is not!), maintaining this source is a breeze despite its size, and we’ve managed to keep the price quite reasonable!

23cm Source
The New 23cm RF Source
23cm Source
Front layout

Primarily designed for large-coater Assist applications, the 23cm source can provide a very large coverage area with surprisingly large current densities at low voltages. For example, even at 100V our new ion source can still provide a beam current of 1000mA. With a 66cm focal point divergent grid set all that beam current is pointed into an area half a meter wide 75cm downstream. Additionally, because of the novel source design beam uniformity at these low voltages is naturally very good without any adjustments to the grid shape or hole pattern.

Lest you think that the 23cm source is a one-trick pony, this big little source can also provide a full 1.5A of beam current at higher (sputtering) voltages, making it a great high-current source solution for larger deposition chambers. Since your sputtering (and therefore deposition) rates are directly proportional to the beam current emitted from the ion source, extra beam current will result in higher rates and potentially shorter process times!

23cm Source
Side view
23cm Source
100V / 1000mA beam profile

The 23cm source can be used with all the standard flanges for Internal Mount or Flange Mount configuration. As part of the novel design, this source does not use shroud cooling, eliminating one of the feedthroughs and leaving just the RF Power and DC/Gas requirements. A special RF Neutralizer feedthrough and mount also allows a standard RFN to emit up to 2A of current. The RFN does require a standard 6-inch Conflat flange mount.
As with all our RF ion sources, the 23cm Source Package includes the ion source, grids, and interface kit, plus a standard RFN and its high current feedthrough. The package also includes the standard Matching Network and controller, the I-Beam 701 and an RF Generator, and the standard cable package.

Call or e-mail today for more information and to schedule your next big breakthrough!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

August 2018 newsletter

Ion Times

OPTO Taiwan

Just in the event that you happen to be in Taiwan next month, Plasma Process Group will be exhibiting at OPTO Taiwan from August 29th through 31st! Come see us at booth #1026, co-exhibiting with our regional representatives, NFort Technologies. We’ll be available for questions, comments, and conversation of all types!

Pick a Source, any (Ion) Source

You have a large evaporator. You have a process. You know you need an ion assist source. How do you know which one is right for you? How do you know which grid style to choose? With hundreds of possible combinations, which one is best for your system, your process? We have produced a quick guide to selecting the right source and grid combination that will provide the coverage you need with the best window of ion current densities. This delightful tool can be found in our Learning Center by clicking on “Assist Source Selection Guide”. All you need is the size of your chamber, the approximate diameter of your fixture, and distance between the ion source and fixture.


We probably don’t need to tell you that the field of optics is changing at a phenomenal pace. What was cutting edge yesterday is standard spec today and by tomorrow may be old news. New uses of laser light are appearing significantly faster than the optics themselves can be designed. Entire domains of new use are being created every few months – for example, BioOptics were essentially theoretical about five years ago, and are now the obvious path forward in medicine. With the lightspeed growth of the market breadth, how is any company supposed to keep up with changing demand in optical coatings? Who has the available coating lab space to run a full-time R&D system for new coatings? That’s where we can help! We have the ability to let you come in and do your R&D work without bringing one of your critical coaters down!

Techne Apps Lab IBD System
Techne Apps Lab IBD System
IBD Process
16cm RF Ion Source in use

Our in-house Applications Lab gives you access to a full IBD production coater to test new processes, validate theoretical coatings, or otherwise research ideas your engineers develop without interfering with your production schedule. Our Techne IBD system is capable of running any standard sputtering materials with the full range of process gases like Argon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and others. While we do not allow radioactive or toxic materials, we can accommodate almost anything else. All you have to do is provide the materials and the recipe.

The Applications Lab at Plasma Process Group can accommodate substrates of as little as a few millimeters to up to 19cm in diameter on our three 8-inch planets. Each planet can support multiple smaller substrates or a single larger substrate, and substrates of different shapes as well, including cubes, cylinders, prisms, and more.

Call or e-mail today for more information and to schedule your next big breakthrough!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

June 2018 newsletter

Ion Times

A Thanks of Show

Having just returned from two consecutive excellent trade shows, Plasma Process Group would like to extend a warm “Thank You” to everyone who visited our booth at either the SVC in Orlando or OptaTec in Frankfurt, Germany. We appreciate the strong and continued interest in our products from each and every one of you!

Well-Traveled Grids

Through conversations with customers in the last few months, we have learned just how difficult it can seem to handle international shipments of grids and RFNs for cleaning and refurbishment. Figuring out how to have Customs recognize that your box full of dirty hardware is not an import sale, not new hardware, not priceless antiques can be challenging. Thankfully, we have created some instructional documentation that can make your life, much easier. You can find these instructions here, with more detail and more information coming very soon. We’d like to make this as easy as possible for you, so please take a look! You should be able to perform this transaction with a minimum of fees and import costs!

Titanium Grids

Plasma Process Group was founded in 2003 as a service company to clean and repair ion beam sources and electronics. Shortly thereafter, the need for new grid manufacturing become apparent, 16cm Titanium Grids and we built up our first grid manufacturing production line. Thus, grid manufacture and maintenance has been at the heart of this company since the early years. We have had years to perfect our processes and develop new products. We are happy to announce a new line of Titanium grid sets, now available for 16cm sources in 66cm single focal point and three focal point styles!

16cm Titanium 3-FP Grid Set
16cm Titanium Grids
6cm Moly 25cm FP Grid Set
6cm Molybdenum 25cm FP grids

With any grid set, a very small amount of grid material will end up in your process – it is a natural physical side effect of using grids. For most processes, this miniscule contamination is irrelevant. In some very sensitive processes, however, Molybdenum can be highly detrimental due to its absorption 6cm Molybdenum 25cm FP grids characteristics. Titanium offers an excellent alternative with significantly different absorption spectra, allowing for ultra high performance optics at previously difficult wavelengths. Further, since TiO2 is a common high-n material, Titanium from grids can become a non-contaminant entirely!

Beyond Titanium grids, Plasma Process Group also manufactures high-quality Molybdenum and Graphite grids. We offer dozens of different styles, sizes, and grid hole patterns for your RF and DC sources. We’ve built grids for 16cm, 12cm, and 6cm RF sources, 2.5x22cm, 6x22cm and 6x30cm Linear sources, and 3cm, 5cm, 8cm, 13cm, and 15cm DC sources. We’ve even built adapters to allow you to use our grids on different tools. We offer a variety of focal points on most of our Molybdenum grids, and a variety of hole patterns on almost all of our grids.

Since we know that not everyone knows what shape or focal point will best suit their purpose, we provide a Beam Coverage chart on our website that can illustrate what the ion beam will look like coming from your source. Naturally, there is some variation in this shape depending on your chamber conditions and beam parameters, but this document can greatly help narrow down the possibilities to one or two grid sets that will work best for your process. These can be found in the Learning Center on our website under the “Run Data” tab. As always, you can also call or e-mail to talk directly to us with questions, comments, or requests!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

May 2018 newsletter

Ion Times

SVC TechCon 2018

Plasma Process Group will be exhibiting at the 2018 SVC TechCon, booth 631 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. Come see us on Tuesday May 8th or Wednesday May 9th for the latest news, product information, and answers to whatever questions you may have!

Optatec 2018

We will also be exhibiting at the Optatec show held at the Messe in Frankfurt GmbH May 15th -17th. We are looking forward to seeing our European customers as this will be our first international show! We will be in exhibition hall 3 booth J90.

Feedback Loop

Part of our mission is listening and responding to your needs. We do our best to stay on top of new developments and process requirements, and to design solutions to meet these. However, we do rely on our customers to tell us what they need to do, or what they would like to be able to do. If you have recently come up with a great idea and you need equipment to pursue this, let us know what you need! We can provide tips and suggestions about ion beam source operation and sputter deposition that help accomplish your goals. We are here to help!

New approach to an old problem…

Compared with evaporation systems, Ion Beam technology has always been the comparatively slow deposition rates. With a High Current ion source from Plasma Process Group, we can now offer deposition rates nearly double the standard 600mA process rates. Available with our 16cm RF ion source, the High Current configuration can output up to 1000mA of beam current at up to 1500V of ion energy.

16cm High Current Ion Source
16cm High Current Ion Source
16cm High Current Ion Source
RF Neutralizer

In a given vacuum system, ion beam deposition rates are a function of two parameters: beam current and voltage. To first order, doubling the ion beam current will double the atoms sputtered from the target, thus doubling the deposition rate on your substrates. The key is to provide this ion current increase in the controlled, directional manner available only with gridded ion sources.

Our 16cm High Current ion beam source does indeed provide the increase in a controlled, reliable manner. We have kept the same footprint, size and shape as the legacy 16cm sources. We worked hard to improve RF efficiency and added extra RF power for unprecedented performance. Our standard grid shapes are all functional with this High Current ion source. It uses all the standard feedthroughs and connections from Plasma Process Group. The ion source can be run completely from the front panel of your I-Beam power supply or controlled remotely.

Complete High-Current Package
Complete High-Current Package

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

February 2018 newsletter

Ion Times

Embracing the New Year

With January past and the big Photonics West show over we want to thank customers and prospective customers who stopped by our booth last week. We hope to continue working with you this year and into the future! With the rapid expansion of the photonics market, we, too, are bringing in some new resources and staff to help fulfill the dramatically larger volume of orders we have seen in the last year. We will strive to meet your needs for Ion Beam sources, Ion Beam systems, and support equipment!

Business In Florida

Come visit us in Orlando Florida this May at the SVC TechCon! We will be in Booth 631 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center on May 8th and 9th

The Mad Scientists’ Lab

We’ve been busy in the Lab at Plasma Process Group. We are bringing our newest Techne IBD System online as a test platform for customer processes – an Apps Lab! Available by the day, you can rent the use of our fully-automated, dual Ion Source, Planetary-equipped, 200+ layer Techne Ion Beam Deposition chamber. Need to validate a new process, but all your chambers are in full use? Use ours! Want to try IBD, but don’t want to spend the capital dollars on an unproven idea? Try it in our chamber!

Techne IBAD System
Techne IBAD System
Techne IBAD System
Planetary holder

Our Applications Lab optical deposition tool utilizes high quality equipment for IBD process. It can handle over 200 layers, each with a different thickness as needed, with an endpoint termination accuracy of a few milliseconds. The layers can be terminated on Time/Power, by QCM, or even by a third-party device such as an OMS. The system offers a planetary fixture capable of handling optics as large as 6.5 inches on each of its three available planets, or larger numbers of smaller optics on each planet. With uniformity capabilities of better than +/-0.5% over the full diameter of the planet, and planet-to-planet variation typically better, almost any optic can be run in this system.

A 16cm RF ion source provides the deposition capability, with rates of up to 4 A/s SiO2, or up to 1.5 A/s TiO2. Multi focal point grids offer the most consistent deposition plume for longer processes. A 12cm RF ion source offers Ion Assist capabilities for substrate pre-cleaning and in-process Assist. Both ion sources can be run on most gases or even combinations of gases.

Up to three different materials can be used in the process. Rotating target faces ensure that the deposition plume coming from these targets remains constant throughout your process runs, leading to even better run-to-run reproducibility. You are welcome to use any target materials we currently have in house and are welcome to bring in any other material you need (non-toxic or radioactive)! Contact us for more details.

Just because we like saving you more money, we also built our system to require a bare minimum of your time to run a process. Not only is the system fully automated using recipes built on site or at your leisure before hand, but the chamber itself takes a mere 30 minutes to reach process pressures from atmosphere leaving you with the maximum time spent testing your process and minimum spent waiting for equipment to be ready. Further, using our Apps Lab gives you full access to one of our system Techs who can walk you through (or just plain run) your process. Give us a call to set up your appointment time!

Techne IBAD System
Software control

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

January 2018 newsletter

Ion Times

Photonics West 2018

Happy New Year! We hope to see you soon. Plasma Process Group will be exhibiting at Photonics West later this month, in the North Hall, booth #4341. Come see us if you have questions or want to chat about an idea. The show is at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and runs from Tuesday January 30th thru Thursday February 1st.

One Stop Shop

Plasma Process Group can be your one stop shop for Ion Beam System needs! On the top end, we offer our Techne Ion Beam Deposition System. With dual ion sources (deposition and assist), either fixed-axis high speed or planetary fixture, and a rotating face two-target assembly, the Techne is designed for production Ion Beam processes. It has an optimized geometry and it can handle almost any process with excellent uniformity and rates. With a small chamber volume and an large Cryopump, it can produce your coatings quickly.

Techne IBAD System
Techne IBAD System
3cm DC Source
3cm DC Ion Source

We also offer a wide range of gridded ion beam sources, both DC and RF. Our 16cm RF Ion Source is an industry workhorse, with up to 1000mA beam current and a variety of grid shapes. Our 12cm RF Ion Source provides an excellent mid-range Assist capability for evaporation chambers, or as a secondary ion source for DLC systems and IBD processes. Our 3cm DC Ion Source is a great budget option for research and prototype systems. We also offer 6cm RF, 8cm DC, and 13cm DC Ion Sources, as well as a 6×30/22cm Linear RF Ion Source, capable of switching between 6x30cm and 6x22cm grids for varying process needs. We are always adding to our product line. Stay tuned…

In the field of Ion Source Power, we have our I-Beam series all-in-one power supplies. Operating as both new supplies and direct replacement for most older Ion Tech-style supplies (both DC and RF), the I-Beam brings Power to the 21st century! The I-Beam 703 RF Supply can drop-in replace the entire cluster of RF2001 supplies needed for Ion Tech-style systems. All I-Beam supplies use the market standard for communications and so are backward-compatible in older systems while still offering new diagnostic information, higher communication capabilities, and 21st century circuit technology. The I-Beam 601 and 602 can replace your 20-year-old MPS Power Supply without interruption to keep you going for another 20 years!

A wide variety of grid options are available as well, for every size ion source we make and several we do not! We offer numerous standard grids made from Molybdenum and graphite. Most sizes of grids come with several shape and hole pattern options to provide the best ion beam for your specific situation. We also have RF and DC neutralizers! Whether you need a new RFN for your system or just a replacement gas isolator, we can provide the parts and services to keep you up and running. We can also replace your DC filament or Plasma Bridge Neutralizer!

Maybe you already have a fully-functioning system making excellent products, and all you really need is a vendor for the occasional replacement part that gets consumed or damaged. Plasma Process Group can help with that too! Call or e-mail us, and we’ll be happy to help with your parts needs!

16cm Quartz Discharge Chamber
16cm Discharge Chamber

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

August 2017 newsletter

Ion Times

Milling About

Here at Plasma Process Group we have recently made the investment in a second CNC Mill for grid manufacturing! We expect to have the new mill in-house by mid September, and reach full production capabilities in October. This should help bring down the lead times many of our customers have been faced with over the last few months, and in the future to fill larger orders more quickly.

A Ghost in the System

Your deposition system has been trundling along, making product and money for years now, perhaps even decades, when suddenly something goes wrong. Maybe you know exactly what the problem is, perhaps you don’t and the problem is just a ghost (or shall we call it a specter?) in the system. Either way, Plasma Process Group has the solution. We can provide replacement parts for many of the components of your Ion Tech style equipment, from ion sources and grids to neutralizers, power supplies, and even beaded leads and heater bulbs! Give us a call, and we can start getting your process back from the dead zone!

How to Make Ions (Part II)

So you’ve decided to get a new (or upgrade your existing) ion source. You know you want ions, but you don’t know how best to make them – will a DC ion source work? Do I need an RF ion source? Is having more ions always better? Can the ion source be 3cm from my substrates? Can the ion source be 3m from my substrates? Will convergent grids increase my deposition rates? There can be a bewildering array of questions, possibilities, and options, and that is why Plasma Process Group is here to help! We will take whatever information you can provide about your chamber, expected process, and specifications, and help you put together the ion source package that works best for you!

16cm RF Source
16cm RF Ion Source
3cm DC Source
3cm DC Ion Source

Once the ions leave the ion source, it makes no difference whether they were created using a DC or RF ion source. They will have the same downstream properties, and the same effect on your targets and substrates. It is what happens inside the ion source that makes a difference. A DC source is simple, robust, and inexpensive, but the high-current filament that creates the plasma and neutralizing electrons is quite vulnerable to reactive gases. DC ion sources are available in 3cm, 8cm, and 13cm sizes. RF sources are far more versatile, allowing the use of reactive gas or combination of gases in the ion source, and have very low maintenance requirements, but are more complex and more expensive. RF ion sources are available in 6cm, 12cm, and 16cm round, and 6cm x 30cm rectangular sizes. The size of the ion source largely determines the maximum beam current that can be extracted.

Both DC and RF ion sources can be provided in any of three different mounting configurations. Flange Mount offers the ion source fixed directly to a flange, with the back of the ion source typically being the flange itself. This uses the minimum amount of space inside the vacuum chamber, but offers no flexibility of movement or positioning – the ion source points straight out from the flange. Extension Mounted ion sources are also fixed to a flange, but are extended out from the flange itself using several posts. This allows the distance between the ion source and its target to be set to whatever value is required in the chamber, but still does not allow any angular adjustment. Internal Mount takes the ion source off the flange entirely, and allows it to be positioned at any angle desired inside the vacuum chamber. This configuration also allows the largest variety of flange options.

Grids for your ion source are available in four general categories. First, convergent grids narrow the ion beam to create a higher-density plasma that can improve etch and deposition rates at the sacrifice of uniformity. In a deposition process, convergent grids will tend to punch through the center of the target material rapidly, giving a very low utilization fraction. Second, divergent grids spread the ion beam and create a more uniform density plasma that improves beam coverage and process uniformity at the expense of etch or deposition rates. These grids are usually the optimum choice for Ion Assist applications, as they provide the largest and most uniform coverage area. Third, multi-focal point grids use varying convergent and divergent regions on the grid to create a (relatively) uniform beam over an optimized diameter. Typically these grids are used for deposition operations to provide good deposition rates while still using a much larger fraction of the target material. Finally, flat grids (usually graphite) provide a collimated ion beam. Flat grids have highly predictable ion beam shapes, but offer few other advantages or disadvantages. Be sure to check out our grid selection guide.

Collector include unstable RFN emission, inability to reach high emission levels, and over time an increase in required gas flow to the RFN due to increased erosion of the ceramic discharge chamber. All of these can cause complete process failure when the ion source in turn becomes unstable and goes out. A new Collector can provide as much as 3000 hours of performance before replacement.

At Plasma Process Group, we understand the importance of a functional RFN. We also understand how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble an RFN to reach the highest number of hours of performance between refurbishments. Send us your failing RFNs, and we’ll send them back cleaned, repaired, and ready-to-go, helping you keep system downtime as low as possible and results as consistent and reliable as your RFN!

The remainder of an ion source package is determined by the choice of source size, type, and mounting. We are hear to help you with these selections and provide a quote for your desired setup.

13cm DC Source
13cm DC Ion Source

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

July 2017 newsletter

Ion Times

Powering Your Process

If you’re struggling with failing power supplies in your Ion Beam process, Plasma Process Group can help! Our I-Beam 703 can replace the whole batch of RF2001 power supplies you are likely already using for your RF sources, and our I-Beam 600-series can replace your older MPS power supply for your DC ion sources. Best, these I-Beam supplies come with proven reliability plus the excellent service and support you should expect from us.

Making Grids

In the last few months, we have been inundated with orders for new ion source grids. You may have noticed our lead times have extended. In order to help you, we are pleased to announce the acquisition of another CNC milling center to help resolve this backup. Scheduled to be up and running in the next two months, we hope we will be able to handle large orders of grids without adding a several week delay to smaller orders! This additional CNC capacity will also help us process orders for graphite or custom grids faster.

Target: Neutralized

Lurking behind every RF ion source, shrouded by … the shroud… is a little-known and poorly understood device that holds the success of your entire process in its tiny little … orifice. A well-functioning RFN goes unnoticed because everything works as it is expected to, but a struggling RFN can cause a wide range of problems such as ion beam instability ion source failure, and even complete process failure. A better understanding of your RFNcan help keep these catastrophic problems from becoming a … catastrophic problem.

RF Neutralizer
RF Neutralizer Brochure
RFN Flanges
RFN Flanges

RFNs come in one size, but many different configurations. They can be installed on any flange that allows all three leads to pass through to the Matching Network. In practice, this means any flange equal to or greater in size than a 2.75-inch Conflat. The most common flanges are the 2.75-inch and 6-inch Conflat. The emission from the RFN will couple with the ion beam as long as the electrons can easily reach the ion beam without interference fromother objects in the chamber. The RFN does not need to point directly at the beam! It is important that a ground-potential surface not be too close to the RFN, since the electrons will happily go there if the beam is much further away. However, it is also critical that there be good ground-potential surfaces in the chamber, since there will always be more electrons than ions!

Chambers with heavily coated liners often see unusual effects from the RFN and ion source, including beam current instability and RFN emission instability. A bright plasma halo around your target material that travels with the target when it changes position is a strong indication that electrons from the RFN cannot find a good ground surface.

Inside your RFN is a shaped metal Collector made of pure Nickel. Chosen for its conductivity and machining properties, the Nickel Collector serves as the electronic pathway for the ions in your RFN discharge chamber while the electrons are ejected through the orifice. However, Nickel and in particular hot Nickel react very quickly with oxygen and water vapor. This is why the RFN always operates on inert gases like Argon, even when the ion source is operating on Oxygen or other reactive gases. Further, when Nickel reacts, it does not develop a surface oxide layer like some metals. Rather, the reactant travels into the material. This allows the Collector to work longer, but also means that when it finally fails, it cannot be simply cleaned and reused. During a refurbishment the Collector should be replaced each and every time. Symptoms of a poorly-working

Collector include unstable RFN emission, inability to reach high emission levels, and over time an increase in required gas flow to the RFN due to increased erosion of the ceramic discharge chamber. All of these can cause complete process failure when the ion source in turn becomes unstable and goes out. A new Collector can provide as much as 3000 hours of performance before replacement.

At Plasma Process Group, we understand the importance of a functional RFN. We also understand how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble an RFN to reach the highest number of hours of performance between refurbishments. Send us your failing RFNs, and we’ll send them back cleaned, repaired, and ready-to-go, helping you keep system downtime as low as possible and results as consistent and reliable as your RFN!

Interested in more information on your RFN? We offer new RFNs but also take a look at our website here for more information about keeping your RFN in good condition as long as possible. Also, customers are welcome to obtain a free account to access training and instructional videos on RFN maintenance and refurbishment. As always, send us an e-mail or give us a call with any questions or to request a quote!

RFN Refurbish Service
RFN Refurbish Service

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

June 2017 newsletter

Ion Times

Opening Doors

Coming to Colorado any time soon? Maybe for the OSA Optical Design & Fabrication Congress in July? If you should find yourself in our area any time and would like to visit, let us know! We’d love to have you visit to take a look around, show off our facility, and answer your questions!

Surfing the 5G Wave

Scheduled for 2020, the 5G Wireless revolution is bearing down like a tsunami and if you hope to get in on your share of that several billion dollar market, you are going to need IBS! Next generation wide-band notch filter and DWDM optic specs virtually demand the precision process control available only in IBS deposition systems, and the transmissive (loss) requirements require a film defect count unavailable through most other means. If you don’t have IBS capabilities, take a look at our Techne System! If you do, let us know what upgrades you need and we’ll show you how we can help!

Lining Up Your Ions

Plasma Process Group now has a 6cm x 30cm RF Linear Ion Source. Designed with flexibility in mind, RF and DC leads exit this source from the side instead of the rear, allowing the source to be installed in the chamber in a more ideal location than previous similar sources. Additionally, versatile grid mounting allows this source to be used with flat graphite 6x30cm grids or shaped Molybdenum 6x22cm grids, providing a range of options from a single source – 6x30cm and 6x22cm grids can even be swapped between processes!

6x30cm Linear Ion Source
6x30cm Linear Ion Source

6x22cm Grids
6x22cm Shaped Moly Grids

Linear Ion Sources offer a powerful alternative to large-area ion sources for ion assisted deposition. By aligning the ion source radially, a 30cm grid pattern in a linear ion source provides complete ion assist coverage to a 60cm rotating planetary fixture. Linear ion sources can also be paired end-to-end to create a 6x60cm or even 6x90cm ion beam, covering planetary fixtures of 120cm or even 180cm in diameter. The ion beam from Linear ion sources are also remarkably uniform along the long axis, ensuring that the entire planetary surface rotating through the beam receives the same ion dose. Also, since the Plasma Process Group Linear Ion Source is RF-driven, it can function on reactive gases like Oxygen, allowing a better, more controllable film stoichiometry. The benefits of this are numerous, but perhaps most importantly can include a significant reduction in the optical absorption coefficient.

A Linear Ion Source Package from Plasma Process Group will include the ion source itself with your choice of grid style, plus the vacuum interface needed for your system. It will also include the I-Beam 703 Single-Unit power supply to run all aspects of your ion source, the cables for the supply, and the RF Matching Network. The complete package include the RF Neutralizer and its interface kit, providing overall every item needed to install and run this device.

More detailed information about this ion source can be found here, and Run data and calculated beam shapes can be found here. Our vacuum interface options can be found here, along with grid choices for the Linear ion source. Finally, as always feel free to contact us directly with questions!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions