Evaporation involves two basic processes: a hot source material evaporates and condenses on the substrate. It resembles the familiar process by which liquid water appears on the lid of a boiling pot. However, the gaseous environment and heat source (see “Equipment” below) are different.
Evaporation takes place in a vacuum, i.e. vapors other than the source material are almost entirely removed before the process begins. In high vacuum (with a long mean free path), evaporated particles can travel directly to the deposition target without colliding with the background gas. (By contrast, in the boiling pot example, the water vapor pushes the air out of the pot before it can reach the lid.) At a typical pressure of 10-4 Pa, an 0.4-nm particle has a mean free path of 60 m. Hot objects in the evaporation chamber, such as heating filaments, produce unwanted vapors that limit the quality of the vacuum.
Evaporated atoms that collide with foreign particles may react with them; for instance, if aluminium is deposited in the presence of oxygen, it will form aluminium oxide. They also reduce the amount of vapor that reaches the substrate, which makes the thickness difficult to control.
Evaporated materials deposit nonuniformly if the substrate has a rough surface (as integrated circuits often do). Because the evaporated material attacks the substrate mostly from a single direction, protruding features block the evaporated material from some areas. This phenomenon is called “shadowing” or “step coverage.”
SCT Evaporation Systems are readily scaleable in size to 2 meters and beyond. We exclusively offer the full Telemark product line as for integration into our systems. This would include E-guns, power supplies, sweep controllers, crucibel indexers, ion sources as well as optical monitoring. Combinations of multiple E-guns, E-guns with thermal sources, E-guns with our ion source are readily available predicated customer application. SCT also designs its own substrate fixturing which may include single or multiple axis rotation, flip tooling, lift off or optical fiber tooling as the substrate requires.