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Sputter-Plasma Diagnostic Tool in the Integrated Measurements and Characterization Cluster Tool

This page provides details on the sputter-plasma diagnostic (SPD) tool in the Integrated Measurements and Characterization cluster tool. It supports the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Technology Roadmaps for crystalline and amorphous silicon, copper indium gallium diselenide, cadmium telluride, organic PV, transparent conducting oxides, and reliability. Access the Technology Roadmaps on the DOE Solar Energy Web site.

This diagnostic tool runs in two distinct modes: (1) deposition tool for thin films, and (2) analytical tool for studying plasma deposition chemistry with a high-resolution mass spectrometer. The primary purpose of this tool is to understand the deposition chemistry of many plasma-activated processes to improve their reproducibility, reliability, and scalability.


  • Providing references and calibration for in-situ diagnostics equipment
  • Assisting precursor and sputter target characterization. For example, we can analyze CdSnO4 and CdS sputter targets to develop better specifications for the targets and improve reproducibility and film quality. We can also explore growing these materials by potential higher-throughput CVD-like techniques.
  • Characterizing plasma sources, sputter guns, and other deposition equipment
  • Conducting annealing studies

Special features:

  • High-resolution mass and energy analyzer for plasma diagnostics. Acquisition of in-situ mass spectra; radical, neutral, and ion energy distributions; fast response; 510-AMU detection limit.
  • Uniformity of SPD film deposition is ±5%
  • Accessible gases will include Ar, N2, H2, O2, and other reactive gases (including toxics), with flow rates between 10 and 200 sccm, depending on gas reactivity
  • Annealing can be performed with any of the accessible gases or in vacuum at substrate temperatures up to 650°C
  • Base pressure is ultra-high vacuum (<10-10 torr)
  • Can use controlled back-fill to atmospheric pressure with Ar, N2, and O2
  • Equipped with radio-frequency, direct current (DC), and pulsed DC sputter guns. Additional guns can be installed.
  • Shuttered optical ports for in-situ spectroscopic ellipsometry, optical emission spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Multiple gas injection locations, including a separate gas ring for organometallics
  • Platen orientation is face-down
  • Dedicated load lock for sample insertion from air
  • Two additional ports for future extension or for industry tools
  • ±0.5-in. z-motion to accommodate different substrate thicknesses

Contact Teresa Barnes for more details on these capabilities.