In this paper, we introduce a vacuum cluster tool designed specifically for studying reaction mechanisms in atomic layer deposition (ALD) and atomic layer etching (ALE) processes. In the tool, a commercial flow-type ALD reactor is in vacuo connected to a set of UHV chambers so that versatile surface characterization is possible without breaking the vacuum environment. This way the surface composition and reaction intermediates formed during the precursor or etchant pulses can be studied in very close to true ALD and ALE processing conditions. Measurements done at each step of the deposition or etching cycle add important insights about the overall reaction mechanisms. Herein, we describe the tool and its working principles in detail and verify the equipment by presenting results on the well-known trimethyl aluminum–water process for depositing Al2O3.
In vacuo cluster tool for studying reaction mechanisms in atomic layer deposition and atomic layer etching processes
Note: This paper is part of the 2023 Special Topic Collection on Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD).
Heta-Elisa Nieminen, Mykhailo Chundak, Mikko J. Heikkilä, Paloma Ruiz Kärkkäinen, Marko Vehkamäki, Matti Putkonen, Mikko Ritala; In vacuo cluster tool for studying reaction mechanisms in atomic layer deposition and atomic layer etching processes. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 1 March 2023; 41 (2): 022401. https://doi.org/10.1116/6.0002312
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