Reticle® Ion Beam Sputter Deposition System

Our Reticle® ion beam sputter deposition systems are designed and engineered to create precise optical films of the highest purity, density, and stability. Angstrom Engineering’s Reticle® systems provide a turn-key solution for those looking to realize any optical design into a high-performance film.

This is an ideal system for applications such as antireflective (AR) coatings, highly reflective (HR) coatings, coatings for laser diode bars, telecom optical filters, as well as vanadium oxide deposition. Angstrom Engineering designs and engineers each Reticle® platform to provide our partners in the optics community the ability to create the films they need with excellent purity, density, and uniformity, all in a highly repeatable and automated fashion.

When precision is paramount, Reticle® delivers.

  • Ion Beam Sputter Deposition (IBSD)

Reticle® employs IBSD, in which a focused beam of highly energetic ions is accelerated toward a target comprising the material to be deposited. Thoughtful design of the ion beam focusing optics confine the beam entirely to the area of the target, eliminating any risk of contamination. The IBSD process creates a highly energetic flux of deposition material, leading to films with improved density, hardness, and surface roughness compared to those deposited by evaporation processes. Contrary to conventional magnetron sputtering, IBSD takes place in a high vacuum environment, minimizing noble gas inclusion in the deposited film and improving the environmental stability of the coating. IBSD processes can also employ a secondary ion source for substrate cleaning and energetic assist, substrate heating for reactive deposition, and in-situ optical monitoring or ellipsometry for critical layer thickness termination. For precise and complex optical coatings, choose ion beam sputter deposition systems from Angstrom Engineering.

Which Reticle® Do I Need?

Engineering and custom design services are available with our Reticle systems. If you have unique requirements, we would be happy to design a Reticle system to meet your specific needs. Whether you’re coating 100-micron-wide laser diode bars or an entire batch of 300 mm diameter wafers, there is a Reticle® platform that will make it happen. Reticle®100 gets you started with optical films on a single wafer. Reticle®200 allows for more process enhancements, monitoring, and allows for a larger single wafer. Reticle®300 is about throughput, as you can batch-process multiple larger wafers at once.

Reticle®100 (left), Reticle®200 (right), and Reticle®300 (middle).

  • Film Quality

Deposition Ion Source 

Reticle® employs a selection of gridded RF-ICP ion sources for high energy deposition. Available sources include 4, 10, 14, and 22 cm grid configurations with ion energies up to 1200 eV and beam currents greater than 1000 mA. Self-aligned ion optics are configured specifically for the desired deposition requirements and geometry of your process. A low frequency neutralizer ensures stable beam operation without contamination from a traditional filament. Operation of the RF-ICP source is handled by Aeres®, combining the power of full process flexibility with the ease of one-touch, automated recipe control.

Secondary Ion Source

All standard Reticle®platforms include an additional gridless end-Hall ion source with hollow cathode neutralizer. The end-Hall source is optimized for substrate cleaning/etching, ion assisted deposition, or reactive IBSD processes. For processes that require deep substrate etching, a selection of gridded DC or RF-ICP ion sources are also available.

Target Carousel

The deposition ion source is directed toward a material target which has been optimized in both size and position for the required deposition geometry. Targets are water cooled for improved process stability, and continuously rotate to prevent beam texturing. For multi-layer depositions, the carousel can be automatically indexed between targets, with up to 8 positions available. Target rotation and carousel indexing each have torque-sense, preventing any process problems due to slips or jams in rotation.

Vacuum Environment

Reticle® can be configured for both high and ultra-high vacuum environments. High speed, magnetically levitated turbomolecular pumps serve as the primary high vacuum pump. An optional cryogenic pump improves base pressure, pumping speed, and can be isolated from the chamber during reactive processes with oxygen. Low-profile chamber bake out heaters remove moisture from the chamber walls and shielding, improving base pressure and overall process stability.

  • Film Uniformity

Variable Angle Sweep

Along with sample rotation, the variable angle stage that is utilized for Reticle® provides for in-built angular motion through the deposition flux. Sweeping the tilt angle can improve film thickness uniformity and sidewall coverage, while also avoiding high energy reflected neutral species for critical processes. Each axis of motion is controlled through Aeres® using precision servo motors, providing better than 0.1 degrees of positional accuracy. Front side infrared heating bulbs tilt with the stage to provide a consistent temperature profile for reactive processes.

Planetary Motion

Planetary rotation integrates a third axis of motion to the variable angle stage. The size, position, and gear ratio of each planet are optimized to provide the absolute best possible film thickness uniformity.

Uniformity Shaping

Dynamic uniformity shaping is achieved using a flux correction shield between the deposition source and the substrate. The shape of each correction shield can be modeled and empirically optimized for any process. Each correction shield can be tilted in-situ to find the perfect balance between film uniformity and deposition rate.

  • Productivity and Throughput

  • Control station PC with touch-screen manages each control variable on Reticle®, including primary and secondary ion sources, power output, planetary and angular motion, and target carousel.
  • Simple to use yet highly advanced integrated software platform
  • PC/PLC controlled recipes for single, batch, or automated processes
  • Advanced data logging and process tracking ensure consistent and repeatable processes
  • Feedback from optical monitor, ellipsometer, or QCM automatically tracked and recorded
  • Complex recipes can be created and modified easily
  • Automatic PID control loop tuning significantly reduces process development time

Load Lock

With the Ion beam sputter deposition system, a secondary vacuum chamber can be annexed, allowing for a significant improvement in throughput. Keeping the main chamber pumped down lowers the chance of contamination and eliminates the need for vent and pump down cycles for sample changes. While keeping the main chamber at its base pressure, you can load multiple samples into the load lock chamber, enter all recipes in Aeres®, and let the system take care of transferring samples into the main chamber for processing.

  • Precise Thickness Control

Optical Monitoring

In-situ optical monitoring and control is available through Angstrom’s optical monitoring & control package. Our unique design allows for direct or indirect monitoring of the variable angle stage, eliminating the need for tooling factors or a witness glass changer. Learn more about the Optical Monitoring & Control package here.

In-Situ Ellipsometry

In-situ ellipsometry provides critical information on the performance of an optical film while it is being deposited. Layer termination from ellipsometric data is fully integrated to Aeres®. A variety of multi-wavelength and spectroscopic ellipsometry solutions are available with the ion beam sputter deposition system.

Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM)

A shuttered QCM located near the substrate provides feedback on the deposition rate and physical thickness of the growing film. Commonly, a QCM is used to calibrate an initial deposition rate before completing the layer thickness under time control with a fixed beam current. Shuttering the crystal will drastically extend its operating lifetime during long processes or on systems with a load lock. 

The Angstrom Engineering system has revolutionized our work-flow. We are much more confident in our processing, and can push true scientific boundaries without worrying about the possibility that some technical detail will throw the experiment off. Angstrom Engineering has been wonderful to work with. The instrument and customer service are by far the best. Aeres process control software provides among the best control I’ve ever worked with. Learning to use the software was intuitive and straightforward. It was immediately easy to produce the desired deposition in a highly reproducible way.

Dr. Matthew White – University of Vermont

Please get in touch and we can collaborate on your project
When we work together, amazing things can happen. Your brilliant ideas with our innovative team will create the tool that will bring your research or production to the next level. We’re looking forward to hearing from you: