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The ALD expert

Picosun develops and manufactures state-of-the-art ALD reactors for micro- and nanotechnology applications. Its versatile, reliable, and user-friendly process tools offer unique scalability from research needs all the way to full-scale production.

Leading scientific institutes and companies across Europe, North America, and Asia use the atomic layer deposition (ALD) reactors developed and manufactured by Picosun, together with its unique Ald process tools. The company’s unrivalled expertise has been built up over more than three decades in the field. Its latest reactor design, the SUNALE™ P-series batch reactor, represents the fifteenth generation of reactor design for the company’s designers.

One of the biggest strengths of Picosun’s ALD tools has been the ease with which they can be scaled up from R&D to production, thanks to their use of the same basic construction. This overcomes the problems that are normally encountered when a company wants to leverage its promising laboratory results in the production world. These difficulties can sometimes be so big, in fact, that instead of simply slowing down the switch-up, they can make it impossible – but not with Picosun.

The SUNALE™ R-series has been optimised for research, product development, and pilot production, while the SUNALE™ P-series offers fast and reliable compact reactors for production purposes.

The new SUNALE™ P300 system – designed for batch production with wafers up to 300 mm across – comes with a large variety of built-in configurations and is capable of processing hundreds of silicon wafers a day, as well as 3D objects, with industry-leading accuracy.

One system, one scalable tool

The recently introduced Picoplatform™ vacuum cluster takes the unique scalability of Picosun products one step further, and enables one and the same system to be used all the way from R&D to production. Picoplatform™ automates cassette-to-cassette loading between carrier cassettes and clustered ALD tools without breaking the vacuum in between. Clustering with other process modules, such as pre-treatment and deposition systems, is also possible.

The large base of customers using Picosun ALD tools and the fact that Picosun works closely with Brooks Automation, the leading provider of vacuum automation solutions to the semiconductor industry, help ensure the optimal performance, support, and maintainability of automated Picosun ALD systems.

A true future technology

Picosun believes that ALD will be the key enabling thin film technology in many future micro- and nanotechnology applications because of its ability to create thin films on practically any surface. ALD thin films are virtually gap-free and evenly thick down to atomic level, and can act as barriers or enablers in a wide variety of ways, depending on their structure.

The fact that ALD is by far the most reliable atom-scale method of producing thin films makes it ideal in a world where the size of electronics and IT products is shrinking almost exponentially – and it is already being used in producing microprocessors, DRAM chips, optoelectronic read heads, TFEL flat panel displays, and electronic components.

Picosun’s latest ALD systems product, the Picoplatform™ vacuum cluster, offers a clear path from R&D to production using one and the same tool.
> Juhana Kostamo
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)