Plasma Etching HCPECVD System

High Rate, Low Pressure, High Density Plasma Etch / Deposition System

Hollow Cathode Chamber

HOLLOW CATHODE Reactor from Electrogrip offering High Density Etch and Deposition Processes...Self-Cleaning and Low Particle Counts in a Low Pressure, High Rate reactor.

Electrogrip's high-density hollow cathode plasma systems have extremely low deposited particle counts over extended periods.

Our hollow cathode systems directly compete with other high density plasma systems such as Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) etch and deposition systems, and Triode, Helicon, and ECR (Electron Cyclotron Resonance) microwave plasma systems. Because the hollow cathode chamber is compact and symmetric, all deposited films facing the wafer being processed are rapidly removed by a later etch step.

Such etch cleans are not possible with ICP, Triode, Helicon, and ECR systems due to their large chamber volumes. These large volumes are poorly attacked by cleanup plasmas, thus requiring careful treatment to hold particle count down, and requiring frequent open-chamber maintenance and replacement of consumables.

Low pressure operation at high rate, with high product yield, are all economically attained in our novel and simple hollow cathode chamber design. Outer regions of the Hollow Cathode Reactor chamber can still accumulate deposits, which eventually require manual cleaning.

The Electrogrip Hollow Cathode Reactor is provided with a load lock and automated transfer arm, and the model pictured above processes 76mm, 100mm, 150mm, and 200mm wafer diameters in a compact and accessible system. Please contact Electrogrip for more details and relevant publications.

Obtain Selective Etching with Angle Control ...

Oxide on Silicon Angled Etch

or Gap-Filling Deposition of Silicon or Silicon Dioxide ...

Gap Fill over Al Lines on Si

In a Self-Cleaning and Compact Hollow Cathode Single-Wafer Chamber...

Processing for 76mm - 200mm wafer diameters in a compact system

with electrostatic chucking and easy chamber maintenance ...

System Features;

  • All-automatic process after placement of wafer on loadlock arm
  • Flexible Electrogrip DepEtchPro system automation
  • Silane process purge system ensures pump and exhaust safety for Si and Oxide deposition
  • Three turbopumps and symmetric gas injection yield exceptional uniformity
  • Low particle count for pinhole-free depositions ...
  • chamber plasma particle sweep after each run
  • periodic self-cleaning etch removes chamber deposits
  • pneumatic hoists yield full access to top and bottom chamber plate
  • Simple, reliable, low-maintenance ...
  • compact system fits in tight spaces
  • one rf power supply
  • no rf automatch - fixed rf vacuum-capacitor tuning for all runs
  • chamber gas flow controls use no MFCs


Plasma processes can be used to etch or deposit thin films on semiconductor wafers and other substrates. Such processes use gas chemistry in a vacuum chamber, enhanced by plasma ion bombardment of substrates, to obtain low temperature but high rate selective etch of patterned substrates, or Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) of thin films. Such systems use radio-frequency (rf) power supplies to generate plasmas and direct ions to substrate surfaces.

At the lowest vacuum pressures, users can obtain the added advantages of high ion directionality and energy, yielding sidewall angle control in etch processes, and gap-filling and planarizing films in deposition processes. However discharge intensity typically falls with vacuum pressure, yielding correspondingly low process rates in standard 'Reactive Ion Etch (RIE)' or 'Diode Reactor' process chambers.

In order to maintain high rates at low pressure, various High Density Plasma (HDP) systems have been developed using additional rf power supplies and chamber volumes which can add to discharge intensity. The Hollow Cathode system from Electrogrip is the latest HDP system to enter this marketplace. It uses only one rf power supply and a compact chamber, and is configured to maintain exceptionally low particle counts. The result is a high-performance system with low operating costs.

Please contact Electrogrip for publications and patents covering:

  • directional and angled selective etch of silicon dioxide layers to silicon substrate surfaces,
  • directional silicon and polymer etch, and
  • deposition of high-density silicon and silicon dioxide films over topography to yield void-free and pinhole-free planarizing dielectric layers for semiconductor and doped optical waveguide applications.


    DIODE REACTORS for "Reactive Ion Etch" (RIE) and "Plasma Enhanced CVD" (PECVD): Low pressure operation yields low rates in these simple systems ...

    In DIode "RIE" Reactors, Etch and Deposition residual flakes are not effectively attacked in the diffuse glow region, requiring manual cleaning and consumable replacement.

    diode reactor RIE

    ECR (Electron Cyclotron Resonance) SYSTEMS:

    In the ECR chamber's diffuse glow regions, again process residues accumulate on chamber walls and fixturing since they are not etched in cleaning plasmas, requiring manual cleaning and replacement of parts.

    ECR chamber

    ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) High Density Systems for

    Reactive Ion Etch / Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (RIE/PECVD)

    In ICP reactors, process deposit flakes are not cleaned during plasma cleaning runs in the diffuse glow regions. Even in the intense glow region of an ICP upper source there are often alternating areas of intense and weak glow regions which permit deposits to accumulate and fall onto substrate wafers.

    ICP Reactor

    TRIODE REACTOR ... for RIE and PECVD processes ...

    There are many areas of standard Triode Reactors where deposits form. Most are inefficiently cleaned in etch plasmas. Chamber sidewalls, perforated metal plates intersposed between targets, and 'focus rings' around the substrate wafer all experience lower glow discharge intensities than at target surfaces.

    Triode Reactor

    For great solutions and experienced support ...