17 February 2020
Meaglow receives order for 50th hollow-cathode gas plasma source
Hollow cathodes are best known for their application as sputter sources, but Meaglow Ltd of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, which produces migration-enhanced afterglow epitaxy equipment and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) accessories, has created an increasingly successful range of gas plasma sources for application in plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PE-ALD) and plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PE-CVD). In the past, thin non-oxide films grown by PE-ALD had suffered from severe oxygen contamination problems.
Meaglow says that these problems are largely solved by its hollow cathodes, which have other advantages of high radical flux, low ion damage, and scalability. The firm has made several large-area sources. The new order involving the 50th plasma source is for three 4”-diameter sources and an 8”-diameter source for the OEM Okyay Tech, which will use the sources in some of their upcoming ALD equipment builds. Meaglow has also built 12”-diameter sources for other customers.
“Meaglow’s designs represent the first successful, widespread application of hollow-cathode gas sources for thin-film deposition,” claims chief scientist Dr Scott Butcher. “Past designs struggled with uniform plasma distribution, a problem which Meaglow has overcome.” Butcher’s early exposure to radio-frequency hollow-cathode technology, back in the 1990s, was a good fit for solving some of the problems faced by PE-ALD customers, reckons Meaglow. The firm’s technology can now be found in ten countries, and customers have published over 40 related journal papers.