Beneq introduces the next revolution in industrial ALD
Atomic layer deposition, ALD, is an exciting technology for anybody looking for extremely thin pinhole-free and totally conformal coatings. It is already in use with great results in a variety of applications from photovoltaics to flexible electronics and from anti-tarnish treatment of jewelry to LED efficiency improvements.
Sometimes, however, the batch production that has been typical in ALD manufacturing comes with size and capacity limitations.
In batch ALD (sometimes also called temporal ALD, or conventional ALD, if you will) the coating is applied on stationary items in a chamber with sequential pulses that are separated in time. After each pulse, the chamber needs to be emptied before the next material pulse can be introduced to the target surfaces. It is like airplanes landing on an airport with specific time slots, after which the runway has to be cleared before the next aircraft can use it.
Redefining high speed in atomic layer deposition
Unlike temporal ALD, in spatial ALD the precursor gasses are separated in space. With careful management of gas flow and by applying relative movement between the substrate and spatially separated gasses, it is possible to apply the coating continuously on moving substrates at high speeds.
Beneq has already pioneered continuous ALD processes with the introduction of roll to roll ALD. Our R2R ALD equipment has proven the benefits of continuous ALD on flexible surfaces. The natural next step for us is to apply our knowledge of spatial ALD to moving sheet substrates.
The result is a revolutionary spatial ALD solution that takes the whole concept of continuous ALD to the next level, with processing scale and throughputs that have not been possible before. The ALD process now is like an automated car-wash, where the substrates move on a production line and each phase of the treatment is applied on the move. Based on the first results, it looks like we will completely redefine what high speed in ALD manufacturing means.
And it is not just small wafers…
For applications where batch production is not suitable, the novel way of applying ALD coating comes with many major benefits while maintaining the quality that is characteristic to ALD:
– Lower cost of ownership
– Excellent process scalability
– Unforeseen process flexibility
– Totally new ALD applications.
And what makes all this even better, we are not only making ALD faster again, we are making it big! With the new spatial ALD equipment we are now piloting, the unit for throughput per minute is m2 instead of mm2 like it used to be. We are really excited about this.
We will be sharing more information about the pilot runs with our new spatial ALD equipment later in this blog. Stay tuned for more details.