September 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

Free research

At Plasma Process Group, we do a fair amount of our own research and development, both to develop new products but also to characterize our existing products. Take a look at our Technical Papers available on the website – you can find some potentially useful information about sputtering, index of refraction, use of the assist ion source, and many other things that might just directly apply to your current project!

Apps Lab for Rent

Just in case you need some R&D that we haven’t already done we have an Applications Laboratory available! You can use our fully-equipped, fully-automatic ion beam deposition system for testing or proofing whatever process you might be interested in. The Applications Lab is available by the day or week, and provides full access to our technicians and engineers to help you run your process. Give us a call to schedule your time!

I-Beam 703 RF Power Supply – Featured Product

Just in case you haven’t heard, Plasma Process Group has a power supply that includes an ion source controller, DC bias supply, RF Neutralizer supply, and RF Generator all in one 19-inch rack-mount (4U high) unit.

I-Beam 703 RF Power Supply
I-Beam 703 Power Supply

I-Beam 703 Back Side
Back of I-Beam 703

The I-Beam 703 has continuously updated LED information displays showing operating conditions, as well as a simple, user-friendly interface for manually setting desired conditions. On-screen options include RFN and Ion Source test modes and an RFN health display that can improve downtime by helping determine when the RFN is close to failure. Several versions of the I-Beam 703 are available, including one for higher voltage requirements as well as a high-power variant capable of producing an 800mA ion beam. In most systems, a small adapter box allows our I-Beam unit to completely replace the aging RF2001 cluster of power supplies. Even better, with only one unit most of the extraneous cables are gone which dramatically simplifies setup!

The I-Beam 703 uses market-standard communications through an RS-232 port enabling standard computer control (in REMOTE mode) or direct user control (in MANUAL mode). It also has remote switch features allowing direct Beam Off / Beam On command for older systems. Cable connections use standard Mil-Spec and N-Type connectors. The unit also has obtained CE Certification.

The I-Beam 703 can be paired with any of our RF ion sources including our 6x22cm and 6x30cm Linear sources. This supply is also fully compatible with most Ion Tech RF ion sources, as well as most Veeco-style RF ion sources. The supply requires 208V AC 3-phase power input, and is air-cooled. Standard output is 1500V / 600mA Beam, 500W RF Power, but other options are available.

6×22 cm RF Ion Source

Linear Grids

If you’re looking for a complete ion source package, we’ve got you covered! Plasma Process Group has a wide array of ion source packages of both RF and DC styles which include the ion source itself, vacuum interfaces, grids, neutralizers, and power supplies. Take a look at our Interface Kit options to find the flange combination you need. Don’t see what you need? Not sure what you need? Give us a call and we can help configure the flanges for you! We also have a Source Selection Guide to help you decide which ion source is best for your chamber or process.

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

August 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

Quick Selection Guides

A recent addition to our website are quick selection guides. We have a source selection guide to help choose an ion beam source. If you are uncertain about your process, have a look at the grid selection guide that helps describe the various grid options available. If you already have an ion beam source, we have a quick reference for the source, grid, and power supply options.

Diagrams for Ion Optics

Are you aware that different grid styles and sizes will produce different ion beam shapes? For each of our sources and grid styles, we have posted beam shape and grid option diagrams that help illustrate how the ion beam evolves downstream from the source. These diagrams can be found in either our sales literature or run data sections of our website. We hope they provide needed insight for your particular process and help narrow down the options available.

3cm DC Ion Beam Source – Featured Product

One of the more versatile ion sources, our the 3cm DC Ion Source

can be installed in myriad different ways. Capable of being mounted directly to a flange, it is much more common to see this 3cm source mounted “internally”. Whether pointed up, down, left, right, above or below,

the 3cm source can provide a stable, consistent etch or assist ion beam from almost anywhere in your process chamber. At 7.3cm in diameter by 12cm long, the 3cm source can also fit into many places other ion sources cannot. Though the source is small, filament changes are a breeze with easy access to the filament mount posts beneath the grids.

The 3cm ion source comes with a 2-grid graphite ion optics capable of outputting up to 75mA of beam current at 1500eV. Most commonly this ion source uses a filament neutralizer strung across the beam path. However, a downstream PBN option is available. This source requires one 2.75-inch Conflat feedthrough or two 1-inch or 32mm bulkhead feedthroughs. When mounted

directly on a flange, a 4.625-inch Conflat or larger is required. If using a PBN, one additional 1-inch or 32mm flange or larger is required. In vacuum, seven 18-inch beaded electrical leads facilitate the necessary connections.

The I-Beam 601 Power Supply offers complete control and operation of our 3cm ion source. With many of the standard connection and communication features, it makes a quick, intuitive change from older legacy power supplies still common in the field. For PBN equipped sources, the I-Beam 602 serves the same purpose. If you need something more than our 3cm can provide, take a look at our other DC ion sources, the 8cm and the 13cm. They offer the extra beam size and ion current you may need for your larger-scale processes.

I-Beam 601

13cm DC Ion Source

Already have a 3cm source and just need some parts? Check out our Source Components section for many of the individual bits and pieces that make up your 3cm source. Head spinning with all the options? Give us a call or send us an e-mail and we’ll help you configure your source package. We’ll make sure you get everything you need (and nothing you don’t!)

May 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

Old is New Again

The R&D team at Plasma Process Group has transformed two older sources and upgraded them for your benefit. This summer we will be releasing our versions of a 6cm and versatile 6×22/30cm RF ion beam sources.

The 6cm RF source will allow users to gain the advantages of ion beam in much smaller spaces. With a diameter of 7.5″ and a depth of about 5.5″, the new 6cm RF source will fit into chambers where our larger 12cm and 16cm RF sources will not. Despite its relatively small size, the 6cm source will offer a significant increase in beam current over the 3cm DC source.


Designed specifically to be adaptable, the new 6×22/30cm RF linear ion source will allow users to select which grid size is most appropriate to their process. The larger size (6×30) increases the beam current and runs with flat graphite grids in a variety of patterns. The smaller size (6×22) offers shaped Molybdenum grids, which can provide the needed beam control for critical processes. Additionally, all feedthroughs exit the side (not the rear) of the ion source, which makes positioning the source much more flexible. This source is the perfect addition to a web or roll coating system…


OIC in June

Headed to Tucson this summer? Come see us at the OIC Conference in June! We’ll be in booth #117!

April 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

Class is in Session at Ion U

Come visit the PPG Learning Center! From Ion Beam Sources 101, where you can study an introduction to the basics physics to our latest technical White Papers, we’re making an ever-growing wealth of information available to our customers.

Reduce your system downtime by watching our tutorial videos on ion source installation and use, grid cleaning and reassembly, and RFN refurbishment.

Improve your coating results with our expanding research library of technical notes, run data and new concepts. You can find information on getting better results from your process setup, video and document help on typical source conditions, and ways to better care for your hardware. Please check in from ocasionally as we are continuously adding more papers, manuals, instructions, and videos!

While much of this information is posted openly on our website, to get access to the best information you will need to sign up for a free account. On the Account page, select “Register” to begin.

OIC in June

Come see us at the Optical Interference Coatings conference in Tucson this June! We’ll be there to learn some things ourselves, and to answer any questions about using Ion Beam with your coatings.

March 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

Boldly Going Where No Technician Has Gone Before

How many times has a great idea struck you – one that could really revolutionize your product line. But you are buried in production with no time for a little proof-of-concept R&D work. Let us help. Our Applications Laboratory equipped with a fully-automated Techne IBAD system. Rent our system by the day, or
week, and implement your new process without interfering with your busy schedule.

You are welcome to come, watch and learn how to run the Techne system. If pressed for time, just send us your coating design and substrates and we will coat the demonstration parts for you. We can readily process 1″ diameter x 0.125″ substrates and we are currently setup for SiO2 and TiO2 films. If you have different substrate sizes or different material requirements, just send us an e-mail to explore the possibilities (no radioactive materials please!)

Let us help you develop that next-generation coating whether it be for Optics, Energy, BioMed, or any other idea you may have. Call or e-mail today to determine your material requirements, design specifications, get a project quote, and schedule your system time!


Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

February 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

Surely sometime, somewhere, you have realized that you cannot remember everything about the equipment you are using. If you, like everyone else on the planet, occasionally find your self scratching your head trying to remember how those grids were assembled, or why there are extra parts after RFN maintenance, then it’s time to visit our Training Video section on our website!

We have several videos including instructions on testing and troubleshooting RFNs and how to re-assemble them. There are videos on Grid cleaning and assembly instructions, grid installation and troubleshooting, and normal source operation examples with our I-Beam 703 power supply. We also have an instructional video on how to connect our I-Beam power supply into your existing Ion Tech power supply setup.

Keep checking in too, because the next video to be posted is almost ready – Ion Source Installation. With over a dozen more videos already in planning and production, this is a tremendous resource for keeping your equipment running smoothly and minimizing downtime.

To gain access to the Training Videos, you will need a login account. There is no charge for this account; simply click “Account” at the top of the page, and then select “Register”. Once your account is authorized, you will have access to the wealth of information we are making available!


Come find us at Photonics West 2016! We’ll be in booth 5445, ready to answer your questions!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

January 2016 newsletter

Happy New Year!

Our New Years Resolution is to help you find the ion beam solution you require. For that, we’ve made some major updates to our website! Check out all the new stuff available, including significant updates to the online store!

Our on-line catalog was re-organized by product categories. Each product has additional links in the general information tab to other useful documents such as CAD drawings, manuals and much more! If you’ve ever considered expanding your ion beam deposition capabilities, take a look at the Techne-IBD system . You can customize it with all our standard options right on the website! Need a feature you don’t see in the drop-down boxes? Send us an e-mail, and we’ll custom-configure it for you!

Our new Resources section includes a learning center with training videos and technical notes. Check the news feed for the latest PPG information and re-read this newsletter. Ion beam run data, product manuals, sales literature, CAD drawings and much more are centrally located for easy reference.

Sign up with a user account for access to assembly drawings for our equipment and our new and still-expanding Training Video Library, with video instructions on installing, cleaning, and maintaining your equipment!

Come find us at Photonics West 2016! We’ll be in booth 5445, ready to answer your questions!

December 2015 newsletter

Ion Times

Powering your Process

It’s been mentioned before, and you can be sure we’ll mention it again – Plasma Process Group has the replacement for your old, dying power supplies. If you’re curious but you don’t want to commit without seeing for yourself how well our supplies work, ask about our Demo unit! We’d be happy to let you use our power supply for a week or two to prove just how easy the transition will be!

That’s right, you can try before you buy! If that’s not cliche enough, how about this? We’re taking it to the next level by returning to our core competencies and thinking outside the box – and that’s how we came up with a smaller box! Our I-Beam all-in-one power supplies combine the entire power supply cluster into a single unit, simplifying connections and user interface. Further, if anything goes wrong with your new I-Beam power supply, we’ll send our loaner unit to you so you’re not system-down during repairs!

We have an App for that…

Our Applications Lab can help you do research and development on a dual-ion-beam deposition system without slowing down your production! If you don’t have any ion beam systems, our in house Techne system can help you decide if ion beam deposition is a smart move for your company, without having to invest more than a few days and a few dollars! Bring us your process, parts and engineers, and we’ll let you use our fully-equipped, fully-automated in-house system to test for yourself!

Have a new process idea, but you’re not quite sure how to do it? Let our engineers help figure it out! The Applications Lab at Plasma Process Group is your ticket to becoming the market leader in a whole new product line.

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

November 2015 newsletter

Ion Times

Proper care for your Ion Source Grids

Even though we offer grid cleaning services, many customers choose to do their own ion source grid maintenance. With proper attention to detail, keeping your grids in good working order is not too difficult. There are a couple important things to keep in mind. As with any high-tech device, improper maintenance can cause more harm than benefit.

The nominal maintenance interval for Molybdenum grid sets is 200 process hours. Past this point, the coating deposited on the grid may begin causing noticible changes in the ion source performance and will decrease grid lifetime.

We recommend media blasting at no more than 40psi air pressure, and with 150 grit alumina media. During the blasting process, the blast nozzle should be held roughly 6 inches from the grid, and ideally at about a 30 degree angle from surface normal. It is even possible to repair the shape of deformed grids slightly using this process! For more information, click here or contact us directly.

As always, if you just don’t have the time or desire to clean the grids yourself, Plasma Process Group offers a quick service to clean them for you!

Please note – it’s not a great idea to media blast graphite grids. Any Molybdenum or Titanium grids from Plasma Process Group are fine to media blast. Chemical cleaning is not recommended due to the nature of the chemical solutions used. These chemicals are dangerous, toxic, and can leave significant contamination on the grids after cleaning unless used exactly correctly.