This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes to address the market need for a real-time in-situ thin film thickness monitor for use in chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and related high temperature processing of solid-state electronic and optical devices. Current practices, which rely on post process measurements, often result in large amounts of waste and high numbers of failed devices. Furthermore, effects of process conditions on device performance can only be inferred when testing is done post fabrication. By adapting existing quartz crystal microbalance technology, it will be possible to create a sensing and monitoring system capable of operation in excess of 900 degree centigrade. The goal of this Phase I project is to produce a complete high temperature thin film process monitoring system for use in solid state electronic and optical device manufacture. System elements are: 1) a replaceable crystalline film thickness sensor, 2) a reusable high temperature sensor head, and 3) a microprocessor controlled thin film thickness monitor based upon commercially available technology.
Industry usage examples of this technology would include the following: 1) Real-time furnace monitoring of nitride and oxide layers on silicon wafers used in integrated circuits 2) Process control of organic thin film depositions used for the production of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), 3) Deposition sensors for the manufacture of LEDs such as Gallium Nitride and 4) Thin film monitoring of multi-layer dielectric optical coatings.