Tag Archives: Thin-film deposition

High-end thermal solutions for wafer processing operations

In the semiconductor sector, machine-manufacturers at different stages of the wafer manufacturing process are looking for high-performing heating solutions that meet cutting-edge specifications in terms of design, uniformity, repeatability and lifetime but that are also able to withstand very corrosive environments under ultra-high vacuum and with ambient temperatures above 100°C.

THERMOCOAX’s expertise is in responding to strict specifications and in designing tailor-made high-performing thermal solutions from mineral insulated cables.

Our engineering know-how, our prototyping capacity and our knowledge of mineral insulated cables allow us to offer unique solutions to our customers.

We are also able to develop complex mechanical parts that incorporate our heating elements.

Our strength is that we master all these processes internally with a factory certified “Copy exact” dedicated to SEMICON applications for wafer manufacturing processes: high precision machining, welding, soldering, tests and qualifications, control, ….

Over the last few months, THERMOCOAX has developed an innovative, reliable and efficient solution to heat a system inside a vacuum chamber.

The challenge of this project was combining two thermal systems that had to be integrated into the customer’s final system, in an ultra-high vacuum and corrosive environment at high temperature.

The first thermal system that we had to develop was a kind of heating element coiled on a mandrel

The solution was complex because we had to meet critical specifications such as:
• The limitations and dimensional tolerances of the heater
• Critical operating temperature of 800°C
• Achieving a 10% power distribution uniformity – Several heating areas have been designed with different power densities
• Operational guarantee > 5 years, in ultra-high vacuum with a corrosive environment

We designed 6 different concepts and compared these solutions in order to select one.

THERMOCOAX chose a design with EC wound / brazed on a metal support which was mass-produced in line with a specific process.

Progress achieved – results achieved – originality of the chosen solution

This design, which at first glance looks like a heating cartridge, is innovative in its design because it has a fully wound heating element integrated in a mandrel by a process developed by THERMOCOAX.

The expected performances and lifetime results were validated during the qualification phase of the prototypes.

This all-encompassing design by THERMOCOAX targets many areas, with its performance advantages, its low cost design and its long lifetime performance.

The second thermal system is a complex assembly of a 3D design metal part with high temperature heating elements

Problems to solve

Being able to assemble complex metallics with a demanding dimensional specification and an operating temperature that can reach up to 800-900°C.

This temperature is near critical, especially when specifying a lifetime greater than 5 years.

We had to resolve the problem of complex machining.

It was also necessary to take the deformations caused by the machining into account, as well as the deformation from the welding and brazing processes.

The design and manufacturing method was developed entirely by THERMOCOAX to achieve a feasible design suitable for high volume manufacturing and minimizing the risk of non-compliance with dimensional or functional specifications.

We worked on raw material (304L) and evaluated and selected the material that was the most cost / quality / time effective.
For the metallic parts we evaluated: Full mass / forged / foundry material.

The other challenge with these pieces was treating them on the surface so that the highly corrosive liquid in the vacuum chamber would not stick to them.

After much research and testing we identified a substance that has very good anti-wetting properties and could be used for this type of application.

Work has also been done to validate the most suitable deposition process (PVD or CVD).
We finally selected the best deposit solution that operates in up to 600°C.

 

Specific heating solutions for thin-film solar cells manufacturers

Heating systems for thin-film PV cells manufacturing process

Thermocoax has been designing and manufacturing innovative heating solutions for the SEMICON market for many years. We manufacture heating systems with high heat repartition homogeneity, high heat density and complex designs.

All our heating solutions and temperature sensors are manufactured using Thermocoax Mineral Insulated Cables.

This enables us to meet the most demanding specifications of the vacuum industry.

 With the arrival of new photovoltaic cell technologies that use thin-film deposition techniques (CdTe and CIGS), we are in touch with major players.

With our technology and know-how for designing high-end electrical thermal solutions, Thermocoax is now part of this technological revolution thanks to our system manufacturing partners.

 

Our thermal solutions meet the needs of thin- film deposition techniques and can be integrated into all vacuum processes such as PVD, CVD, PeCVD, and other deposition processes.

 Thermocoax heating cables with diameters ranging from 0.5mm to 4mm with real cold ends and small bending radius make it possible to design complex 2D or 3D electrical heating solutions.

We offer highly reliable solutions with a maximum temperature of up to 1000°C.
We offer complete thermal solutions including the metallic parts onto which the cable is fixed.

We adapt our heating cable fixing techniques depending on the thermal fluxes, whether they are very low <3W / cm² or very high >6W / cm²: welded brackets, sandwiched between 2 plates, brazed, etc…

 Here are some examples of Thermocoax heating solutions that can be integrated into vacuum deposition systems for thin-film photovoltaic cells :

  • Cylindrical radiative heaters
  • Heating vaporizers
  • Heating transfer lines
  • Radiative heating plates
  • Conductive heating plates
  • Heating chucks
  • Multi-zone rod heaters
  • Other specific heaters and thermal sensors

 All our products are customised to meet our Clients’ specifications.