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11 October 2013

Picodeon unveils first automated cold ablation pulsed laser deposition production system

In cooperation with PVD Products of Wilmington, MA, USA, Finland-based nanotech firm Picodeon Ltd Oy, which specializes in thin-film coatings and surface treatments, has developed the ColdAb Series 4 thin-film deposition system, which is claimed to be the world’s first production equipment for the use of pulsed laser deposition (PLD) in volume manufacturing.

The ColdAb Series 4 system delivers industrial-scale PLD coating production of 4-inch wafer sizes, including the fully automated delivery of substrates to the pre-clean chamber and to the main Coldab coating chamber. The deposition chamber includes many of the unique features that have been developed by Picodeon, and uses the patented ColdAb ultra-short pulsed laser deposition (USPLD) process, which enables large-area thin-film coating deposition using a high-frequency picosecond laser. The firm says that this has not been possible before at this scale, as conventional PLD has a lower growth rate compared to the ColdAb process. The benefits of the cold ablation process are a smooth and particle-free surface, and that the target material’s stoichiometry may be fully transferred to the thin film on the substrate (an important issue for oxides and composites, for example).

The new ColdAb Series 4 tool includes a 10-wafer Loadlock chamber. Also, instead of having many costly laser sources, ColdAb Series4 is equipped with one 200W @ 40MHz laser source. “This makes the system less expensive and easier to use,” says CEO Dr Jari Liimatainen. “Picodeon has used earlier versions of this equipment for R&D for many years, and now it is time to ramp up that process technology to industrial scale with Series 4.”

Just in August, Picodeon completed a €5m round of funding by private investment and project management firm Enso Ventures Ltd. The firmk said that the investment would fund further research into thin-film applications and the development of new thin-film materials, as well as the production of a market-ready range of laser deposition equipment.

The new system provides multi-layer deposition capability for a wide variety of materials including oxides, metals and several composites, and also enables temperature-sensitive polymers to be coated. Picodeon will use the system to commercialize new applications based on a wide range of coating materials including its patented Nicanite graphitic carbon nitride. Precious metals such as gold (Au) and oxides for the semiconductor and sensor industries are in the development roadmap, and the firm is seeking industrial partners to join these projects.

The first ColdAb Series4 system will be available in January 2014.

See related items:

Picodeon to ramp up research and manufacturing of thin-film deposition tools after €5m investment

Tags: PLD

Visit: www.picodeon.com

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