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Processing in the Silicon Wafer Replacement Tool

This page provides additional details on processing in the Silicon Wafer Replacement (SWR) Tool within the Process Development and Integration Laboratory (PDIL).

Oxide Etch Tool

The oxide etch tool (OET) is designed to automate SiO2 etching with dilute, liquid hydrofluoric (HF) acid in preparation for epitaxy. Samples are transferred to the OET by the main robot, brought up to atmospheric pressure in a clean Ar environment, removed from their carrier, and exposed to a stream of dilute HF on a single side (the back side of the substrate is not exposed). After etching, the sample is rinsed on a single side with deionized water, placed back in its platen, gently heated to remove residual liquid, and brought back under vacuum before being delivered to a deposition chamber by the vacuum robot.


  • Removing native oxide layers from substrates and seed layers
  • Preparing the surface of substrates and seeds for subsequent epitaxial growth

Specific Features:

  • Automated sample removal from PDIL standard platen
  • Automated environmental exchange between high vacuum in the central robot chamber and the OET, which is at atmospheric pressure, including water vapor removal
  • Patented WaveEtchTM technology for HF single-side etching
  • Automated deionized water rinse
  • All sample handling is automated, which increases reproducibility
  • All waste handling is automated, which reduces operator exposure

Hydrogenation Chamber

Hydrogenation is a necessary step in most multicrystalline silicon solar cell technologies to passivate defects. The SWR tool has a chamber to perform this function using a remote plasma technology.


  • Hydrogenating silicon films

Specific Features:

  • Remote plasma
  • External sample heating to 500°C
  • Gases available: H2 and Ar
  • Chamber construction: Quartz

For more information, contact Charles Teplin