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Veeco Unites Incompatible Materials

Veeco's GEN10 features automation and the capability to grow incompatible materials, such as nitrides and oxides. Richard Stevenson quizzes the company's MBE product manager, Andy Harkison, about the merits of the new tool.

Why have you launched a tool for growing incompatible materials?

In the R&D environment we re seeing people doing research on oxides and nitrides, as well as the traditional III-Vs. The GEN10 is configurable around a cluster tool. You can add up to three growth modules, each for different material sets. You can transfer between these to grow one layer in one chamber and then move to another chamber to grow another layer.



You can also have two researchers working on different projects that may include different materials. A lot of people already do that manually, by connecting systems with a long transfer tube. We are automating it to remove the variability of transfer.

How does the GEN10 fit with Veeco s products?

This is an R&D-sized system specifically for that purpose, with a process that is scalable to production-type systems. You can do a 1, 2 or 3 inch wafer.

Who is the new reactor aimed at?

It s going to be aimed at university labs and corporate R&D customers. We are seeing interest in migrating to production-worthy processes from universities and corporate researchers.

How does automated wafer transfer work?

You load wafers into the load-lock. The cluster tool takes them and moves them to the growth module. If you are using incompatible materials, or you want to start a recipe in a different growth module, you can move the wafer into a second or third growth module and run those recipes in an automated fashion.

The key benefit is that it gives you time to focus on the science of MBE. So if you re running a calibration wafer, rather than starting it in the morning and being ready in the afternoon, you could have it automated so that you could start up at night and be ready [to go when you get into the lab].

Are the cluster tools reliable?

We ve got a good track record with our production environment where cluster tools run all of the time, moving a number of wafer plates. Cluster tools prevent problems. If you re doing manual transfers you could drop a wafer.

How much does the tool cost to run?

A Veeco automated GEN10 with single growth module is comparable to a 3 inch manual system for research and development. The cost benefits come as you add growth modules. Rather than buying a second MBE system, you buy a new growth module and add it on. So you re capitalizing on some existing infrastructure. That s where the cost savings come in.

What kind of support do customers get?

We have a service person who goes on site to assist in set up and check-out. We work closely with our customers on facility requirements, so that it s all lined up. And we can offer on-site training to help.

You released the GEN10 in August at the International Conference on MBE. Did it attract much interest from delegates?

We met a number of university and corporate customers and they received it very well. Budgets are tight and that s always difficult, but it was well received from the point of view of automation. Researchers need more throughput of research papers, so most appreciated the automated idea and what it meant for being productive with their research.


  

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