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RF Systems

• A typical RF power system:

RF Feedthru

Direct Connection
to Chamber

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Systems
• A typical RF power system has the following major parts:
– RF Generator
• Oscillator Circuits
• Power Amplifier Circuits
• Filter Circuits
– Transmission Lines
• coaxial cables
• RF feedthru
– Impedance Matching Network
• Includes Phase and Magnitude Detector
• Servo motor control circuits
• Variable capacitors and/or variable inductors
– Electrodes
• geometry, spacing, biasing, coupling
– Power Measurement
Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak
Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• RF Generator:
– Provides the energy source to create the plasma.
– Delivers an AC waveform at a specified frequency and
power level.
– FCC regulations concerning radio emissions must also be
met.
– (more on this later)

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• Transmission Lines:
– Transport the RF energy from the generator to the
impedance matching unit.
• Coaxial cable or hardline
• Cut to the nearest quarter-wavelength (12, 24, 36 ft., etc.)
– Transport the RF energy from the impedance matching unit
to the load.
• Direct connection to chamber or coaxial cable
• Kept as short as possible ( < 3 ft.)
– Specially designed to carry RF energy with minimal loss.
– (more on this later)

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• RF Feedthru:
– Couples the RF power from the RF matching network (at
atmospheric pressure) to the electrode in the chamber
(under vacuum).
– Consists of a high-conductance electrode encased in a
ceramic sleeve to provide insulation from the grounded
chamber body.
– Must provide a very good vacuum seal that does not break
down at high voltages.

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• Impedance Matching Network:
– In an RF Plasma system, the matching network, the
chamber, and the plasma itself combine to make up the load.
– In order to maximize the power that the RF generator
delivers to the plasma, a matching network is used to match
the impedance of the load with the output impedance of the
generator.
– Function #1: Continuously monitor the load impedance as
“seen” by the RF generator
• measures the phase and magnitude of the current and voltage
waveforms to determine the load impedance at any given time

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• Impedance Matching Network:
– Function #2: Adjust the impedance of the combined load so
that the RF generator always sees impedance matched to its
internal (output) impedance
• ensures maximum power transfer to the load
• internal impedance of the RF generator is usually 50 W
• the control circuitry in the matching network drives servo
motors that adjust variable capacitors and inductors
• changing values of the capacitor/inductor combination are used
to ensure MPT

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• Electrodes:
– The final component of an RF system is the load (includes
the electrodes, the vacuum chamber, and the gasses that
are in the chamber).
– Electrodes create an oscillating electric field inside the
vacuum space.
• The charged particles are set in motion by this electric field.

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• Electrodes:
– In a DC plasma system, one electrode is always positively
charged and is called the anode.
• The other electrode is negatively charged and is called the cathode.
– In an AC plasma system (with no DC bias), there is no polarity.
• However, the commonly used
naming convention labels the
grounded electrode the anode,
and the "hot" or energized
electrode the cathode.
• For optimum distribution of RF
energy throughout the interior
of the chamber, the ground
electrode is directly connected
to the chamber body.

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• Electrodes:
• The electrodes also serve other functions:
– The anode (grounded) delivers heat energy into the
chamber, and usually holds the wafer.
– The cathode (hot) is the means by which gasses are
uniformly introduced into the chamber, frequently called the
showerhead.

• The electrodes in a plasma system must be carefully designed.


– The material(s) from which they are made, their shape, their
relative size, and their spacing, all significantly effect the
process results on the wafer.

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy
RF Subsystems
• Power Measurement:
– There must be at least one power meter somewhere in an
RF system.
– A power coupler is used to direct a small fraction of the
forward power to the meter.
– The power measured at various points in the RF system
should be approximately equal.
– Power meters should be able to measure both forward
(delivered) and reflected power (returned power due to a
mismatched impedance).

Spring 2005 Semitec 215 Jozwiak


Plasma and RF Energy