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

April 2017 newsletter

Ion Times

SVC TechCon 2017

Plasma Process Group is pleased to be attending the 2017 SVC TechCon on May 2nd and 3rd. We will be in booth #1003, so if you plan to attend please stop by and see us! As always, we will be more than happy to discuss ideas, talk tech, or even just chat!

Growing Pains

If you requested a quote from us in the last few months, you may have noticed something very unusual – long lead times! We have recently seen a tremendous increase in the number of customers and orders which caught us by surprise. We apologize to those of you who have had to wait longer for a grid set or 12 weeks for a power supply, and we are happy to announce that our lead times are starting to return to normal. The new staff that we have hired are finishing training which is increasing our production capabilities. We have also undergone a shift in the organization of the company – streamlining our production throughput without sacrificing quality. Our goal is to have high-quality staff producing high-quality products!

A Modern Take on an Ancient Greek Goddess

Techne IBD System

In ancient Greece, a successful engineer was said to be blessed by Techne, the Goddess of craft and invention. Indeed, “Techne” is the root of the modern word “technology”. With that in mind, the Techne IBD System from Plasma Process Group is engineered to present a new, fresh, and inventive platform for Ion Beam coatings, Ion Etch processes, and Ion Deposition capabilities for the Optical, Biomedical and other industries.

Techne IBD System
Techne IBD System

Inside Techne
Techne – A Look Inside

Building on the foundations from the Ion Beam systems that came before, Techne creates a much more user-friendly, intuitive, and easy-access environment for engineers, operators and maintenance technicians to work with. PLC-based controls eliminate the need for Operating System interface with updates, driver issues, crashes, and all the other headaches that come with any home computer. Chamber liners are easy to remove and clean. RF Neutralizers are placed at shoulder height within easy reach from the front of the machine drastically simplifying both tuning during operation and removal for refurbishment. Dozens of improvements have been made making Techne a far superior system to use on a day-to-day basis.

The Techne is also a physically smaller system, providing significantly more efficient use of laboratory space. With dual access doors the Techne can be placed in a dividing wall, allowing clean-room access to parts pre- and post-coating from the front and maintenance access from the rear. Featuring four 8-inch planets or six 7-inch planets, the total throughput of the Techne is comparable to a much larger system, while still reaching the same or better rate and uniformity specifications. Additionally, stationary masking for deposition processes results in almost perfect run-to-run repeatability as well as excellent planet-to-planet uniformity.

Rotating target faces keep the deposition plume much more constant through the life of the target, resulting in consistent process repeatability over not just two or three runs, but dozens of runs with no physical changes needed. Additionally, the face rotation of the targets offers a much higher utilization fraction of the target face, meaning less wasted material when the target is changed. A new three-target assembly is in testing right now, which will bring additional material capabilities to the system. Overall, the Techne provides an easy, inventive, and much less expensive means of expanding your existing ultra-high quality Ion Beam offerings or adding Ion Beam capabilities to your company.

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

February 2017 newsletter

Ion Times


Please come visit us in the Holiday Inn, San Jose, booth #60 on February 23rd. We encourage everyone to stop by and chat, ask questions, and talk through what we can do to help you meet your deadlines, expand your business, and meet your production and R&D goals this year.  Hope to see you there!

Replacement Power Supplies

We try to keep a close watch on the needs of our customers to put ourselves in the best position to help you when you need it, and as fast as possible! As such, we have noticed a recent and extraordinarily large uptick in the number of old Ion Tech power supplies failing. For us, this translates into a big spike in the need for our I-Beam 703 All-In-One power supply, which replaces the entire RF2001 setup including the RF Generator. Due to the sheer size of this spike, we have gone through great lengths to improve our ability to directly assist you – including hiring several new staff members to help with everything from circuit board soldering to unit configuration! Since our I-Beam 703 is a direct, drop-in replacement for your old Ion Tech 2001 setup, save yourself some time and the huge headache of being system-down when those old units fail and look into our replacement power supplies now!

The Little (6cm) Ion Source That Could

Getting a round ion source to fit in a square vacuum port can be challenging. Sometimes you need an ion source of a smaller size just to make everything work. Plasma Process Group is delighted to offer our 6cm RF Ion Source, designed for coating or etch systems that are short on space but still want to run reactive processes (oxides, nitrides, etc.).

6cm RF Ion Source
6cm RF ion source
6cm - Flange Mount
6cm – flange mount

Smaller than both the 16cm and 12cm RF sources but still capable of outputting 200mA of beam current at up to 1500V, this little guy can still be the workhorse for a smaller batch process system or a great assist source for a small evaporation or e-gun coater!

The 6cm RF Ion Source is designed to be mated with the I-Beam 703 All-In-One power supply from Plasma Process Group, but will work with most older Ion Tech power supplies as well. Since it is an RF Source, the 6cm does require an RF Matching Network. Highly-divergent or highly-convergent grids are available, with 25cm focal points to provide either optimum beam current density or optimum beam uniformity. The 6cm ion source measures 7.5-inches in diameter by 5.6-inches in depth. The shroud is not water-cooled, so only two feedthroughs are required – RF Power and DC Bias/Gas. This source is also typically purchased with an RF Neutralizer, which requires one additional flange (2.75-inch CF or larger). Give us a call or send an e-mail and we’ll help configure your complete source package, or just get you the parts you need!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

January 2017 newsletter

Ion Times

Photonics West 2017

Please come visit us in the Moscone Center North Hall, booth #5046! We encourage everyone to stop by and chat, ask questions, and talk through what we can do to help you meet your deadlines, expand your business, and meet your production and R&D goals this year.  Hope to see you next week!

Northern California AVS

Please come visit us in the Holiday Inn, San Jose, booth #60 on February 23rd. We encourage everyone to stop by and chat, ask questions, and talk through what we can do to help you meet your deadlines, expand your business, and meet your production and R&D goals this year.  Hope to see you next week!

White Papers

While white paper may not seem interesting, Plasma Process Group has some white paper with valuable text on it! Take a look at our Learning Center area where we have an array of white papers covering some of the research we’ve done regarding IBAD coatings and processes. All research presented in these white papers was done on our in-house Deposition System, which is, by the way, available for your use as an Applications Laboratory.

Getting the Most from your Gear

In a coating facility, nothing hurts more than having a system down. Thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per day can be lost when a system is not working. It is therefore critical that these systems be kept in excellent condition as much as possible. While Plasma Process Group provides services to keep your system running at peak performance, we also understand that sometimes it doesn’t make sense to send us your equipment for maintenance.

Grid Cleaning
Grid Care
RFN Maintenance
RFN Maintenance

As such, we have put together a number of different pages on our website regarding best maintenance practices, pitfalls, and tips & tricks to keeping your equipment in good shape.
Take a look through our maintenance notes and see if you could be doing something to help keep your systems running.

We have maintenance information and notes, performance standards, and refurbishment hints for almost all parts of your ion source package.  We are continuously adding more to the available information on our website, so check in often. You will find useful training videos in our ‘Resources’ section. The videos do require authorized access which is free when you sign up.

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

December 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

16cm of Deposition Domination

The engineers at Plasma Process Group have developed a higher-current ion source that can achieve 800mA without needing a separate 1000W generator! They poured over every hotspot, analyzed each strap and connection, and evaluated the efficiency of the matching network and made some significant improvements in the interface allowing us to reach such a high beam current!

Photonics West 2017

Our biggest show of the year is coming up soon! Plasma Process Group will be exhibiting at Photonics West 2017 in booth #5046. Come visit us between January 31st and February 2nd in the North Hall of the Moscone Center. See what’s new, chat about what’s old, or run a custom idea by us – we’ll be there to talk to you!

The Impending Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again – when we all eat to much and wish we could remember why we thought spending so much time with family was a good idea. It’s also the time of year when schedules get tight! If you’re hoping to get an order in before the end of the year, now is the time to submit that PO so we can ship that order as soon as possible! Our Source Package and Power Supply lead times are already extending through February, so lock your place in line before it’s too late! As a reminder, Plasma Process Group will be closed for Thanksgiving (Thursday, Nov. 24), Christmas (Monday, Dec. 26) and New Year’s (Monday, Jan. 2)

12cm Ion Beam Source – Featured Product

If you aren’t already using Ion Assist in your coating applications, it’s probably time to start thinking about it. The advantages of using ion assist are extensive, including dramatic improvements in environmental stability, contamination minimization, and better control over absorption to name a few. The 12cm RF Ion Beam Source from Plasma Process Group is a popular choice as an upgrade to evaporative, magnetron, and IBD systems. Providing up to 400mA of ion current at up to 1500V ion energy, our 12cm ion source can even be used as a primary deposition source.

12cm RF Ion Source
12 cm RF Source
12cm Internal Mount Interface
Internal Mount Hardware

When used as an assist ion source, typical applications require more modest current and voltage in the 200mA and 100 – 300V range. Our 12cm ion source is capable of running on pure O2, N2, and many other reactive gases. For applications requiring a bit more flexibility, or for less-than-ideal chamber configurations, the 12cm source is available in an Internal Mount configuration, requiring just three 2.75-inch conflat feedthroughs, and allowing the source to be set freely into the chamber at any angle necessary for your process.

The 12cm source is available with an array of different grids ranging from lightly-dished Molybdenum 130cm focal points to highly-divergent or -convergent options, as well as collimated flat graphite designs.

As a complete package, the 12cm source will include grids, an RF Neutralizer, our single-unit I-Beam 703 power supply, RF Matching Network and Controller, cables, and all the vacuum feedthroughs – everything you need to install and run the source in your chamber! Plus, you’ll get our absolutely unbeatable customer service.

I-Beam 703

RF Neutralizer

Wondering why you want a gridded ion source for your ion assist application? Take a look at these technical papers and their references. Yes, Ion Beam is more expensive, but it makes a huge difference when working with sensitive materials like Tantalum, Niobium, Halfnium, and Zirconium. It also makes steep-edged filters, gratings, and other complex optical devices possible, providing control over the process unachievable with gridless sources.
Of course, if you already have an ion beam source and you just need a vendor for parts and maintenance, give us a call or send an e-mail!

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

October 2016 newsletter

Ion Times

The Source – A Reference Guide

If you’ve ever looked at your ion source and thought that maybe something wasn’t working quite right – is that accel current a little high? – take a trip to our website! We have an array of Source Run Data available in the Learning Center, where you can find typical conditions for all of our ion sources. Small discrepancies are to be expected, but it can help determine if you need to be worried!

Cleaning and Refurbishing Service

While cleaning your grids and refurbishing your RFN might seem like something you can do yourself, consider whether your time might be better spent making product and let us do your grid and RFN repairs! Our grid cleaning service is fast and inexpensive and can catch problems with your grids before they cause a process failure. We provide reports with each cleaning that will provide insight on the overall grid and RFN health to help you predict replacement timing. We have also refurbished hundreds of RFNs, and we offer a 100% guarantee on the performance of our RFN refurbishments. Many of our customers get over 2000 hours of operation between cleanings!

The Techne Ion Beam System – Featured Product

We are proud to offer a total solution for your sputter coating needs. Our Techne Ion Beam Deposition system is equipped with the latest in ion beam hardware and is automated for the highest quality results while still handling volume production. A 30-minute pumpdown from atmosphere ensures your process starts with minimal delay, while our unique target assembly delivers extra long life and extreme uniformity!

Techne Deposition System
Techne – Front View

Techne Deposition System
Techne – Rear View

With a wide array of options, the Techne can be configured to meet your specifications. Equipped with either a planetary fixture holding six 7″ planets or four 8″ planets or with a single-axis high-speed rotation fixture, the flexible platform allows for rapid-change of product. The Techne was also designed with maintenance in mind. We’ve placed all the hard-to-reach stuff in easy-to-reach places. For example, the RFN ports are right on the side of the chamber, easily reached by a technician standing in front of the chamber. Front and rear doors make anything inside the chamber easily accessible as well.

Even the liners are easy to remove and clean, and we’ll give you the drawing, so you can make more if you want! With a footprint of 7 feet x 4.5 feet, less production floorspace is committed to the same production volume. The control system is PLC-based with a built-in network for remote access and control from a computer or phone (no bulky computers and no future operating system upgrades). Our I-Beam 703 power supplies also minimize the equipment mounted on the frame by combining all source power production and control into a single unit.

Process data is displayed on the screen in real-time, and all data can be backed up to the provided laptop computer for later recall. The process software can handle time files for Time/Power control, or thickness files for QCM control. We are currently working on adding OMS control.

16cm RF Ion Source

Ion Source Grids

Already have a chamber and just need an ion source for deposition? Or maybe Ion Assist? Take a look at our 16cm and 12cm RF ion sources. We offer several configuration options for both, and can provide a complete package or just the components you need! Not sure what you need? Give us a call and we can help configure the flanges for you! If you’re not convinced that you need Ion Assist in your Evap chamber, take a look at these Technical Papers (and, of course, their references!)

Plasma Process Group – Simple Ion Beam Solutions

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!)

July 2016 newsletter

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!