Plasmetrex is one of the worldwide leading provider of plasma process metrology systems, service and consulting as well as training for engineers in semiconductor manufacturing.
The main business segments are:
Sensor systems for process characterization inclusive software solutions for Integration into high volume production
Characterization of tool and plasma processes close to the application
- consulting and training for maintenance and development engineers in semiconductor manufacturing as well as in RF technique
The plasma metrology system Hercules® developed by Plasmetrex is used in high volume production.. The data acquisition is fully automated and is regularly connected with the data base of the semiconductor fab or PV manufacturer via SEMI standard interface. Further Plasmetrex provides a SAPC (small advanced process control) server as its own little system for the analysis and control of plasma processes in manufacturing environments. In industrial applications, the determination of absolute parameters and the robustness of the measurement method are an enormous advantage.:
For several years Plasmetrex performs very successful training to plasma processes for large industrial customers on the latest technology. Special training modules reflect industry-specific and economic aspects as well as statistical methods for process control.
With the development of a new plasma- physical model specifically for high process pressures (up to 1 kPa ) and for large area coatings also PECVD processes can now be be used in the photovoltaic production. Since about four years the new plasma sensor system N is used in production. The experience and knowledge of the physical processes in the plasma enables a process simulation with the plasma parameters from the manufacturing process and an efficient optimization of the technology.
Plasmetrex performs very successful training to plasma processes for large industrial customers on the latest technology.
In order to reach the project goal, first of all, external sensors which can measure the plasma parameters, e.g. electron collision rate and plasma density, need to be integrated in a smart way, in a matter known as “data compression by physics”. Afterwards the equipment can be virtually disassembled in its basic components which have an essential influence on the process results. Now an object-oriented analysis of the plasma process will take place to reduce the complexity and non-linearity of its behavior. Finally, the tool and process health state can be characterized by finger printing of a set of properties of a few equipment components, e.g. the RF subsystem.
Plasmetrex is leader of the tasks 2.2.1 and 2.5.2. In the Task 2.2.1 Innovative Process and Equipment Control a method will be developed to improve the process stability of plasma equipment. The process stability is a fingerprint of a set of properties of equipment components. Using also physical models equipment health tracing would maximize up-time and yield. Equipment Health Monitoring – the process of assessing the equipment performance and condition based on equipment measurable states In the Task 2.5.2: Smart sensor connectivity smart sensors are used as input parameters for process properties which are so far not accessible. This can be derived from physical models. Tracking the equipment health consequently can maximize the up-time and minimize losses of the wafer production. Following this approach a generic object-oriented component model of RF plasma equipment will be established. Leaving a statistical approach and following model based solution using smart process sensors will make equipment maintenance more effective.
Model-based process control on process level is an important milestone to increase production efficiency in the age of Industry 4.0. It also enables smart data compression and conditioning to have higher level of data processing and data mining at fab level to achieve the productivity goals of the Semiconductor factories of the future.