Modelling and optimization of film thickness variation for plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition processes

Ewan Waddell, Desmond Gibson, Li Lin, Fu Xiuhua

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a method for modelling film thickness variation across the deposition area within plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) processes. The model enables identification and optimization of film thickness uniformity sensitivities to electrode configuration, temperature, deposition system design and gas flow distribution.

PECVD deposition utilizes a co-planar 300mm diameter electrodes with separate RF power matching to each electrode. The system has capability to adjust electrode separation and electrode temperature as parameters to optimize uniformity. Vacuum is achieved using dry pumping with real time control of butterfly valve position for active pressure control.

Comparison between theory and experiment is provided for PECVD of diamond-like-carbon (DLC) deposition onto flat and curved substrate geometries. The process utilizes butane reactive feedstock with an argon carrier gas. Radio-frequency plasma is used.

Deposited film thickness sensitivities to electrode geometry, plasma power density, pressure and gas flow distribution are demonstrated. Use of modelling to optimise film thickness uniformity is demonstrated. Results show DLC uniformity of 0.30% over a 200 mm flat zone diameter within overall electrode diameter of 300mm. Thickness uniformity of 0.75% is demonstrated over a 200mm diameter for a non-conformal substrate geometry.

Use of the modelling method for PECVD using metal-organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) feedstock is demonstrated, specifically for deposition of silica films using metal-organic tetraethoxy-silane.

Excellent agreement between experimental and theory is demonstrated for conformal and non-conformal geometries.

The model is used to explore scalability of PECVD processes and trade-off against film thickness uniformity. Application to MEMS, optical coatings and thin film photovoltaics is discussed..
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationADVANCES IN OPTICAL THIN FILMS IV
EditorsM Lequime, HA Macleod, D Ristau
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
ISBN (Print)978-0-81948-794-0
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
PublisherThe Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


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