Cluster Integration

This page focuses on Angstrom’s approach to automation sequencing within the Nebula Cluster platform using Aeres® control software. For a broader look at Nebula, please click here.

Angstrom Engineering has developed a cluster specific sequencing algorithm within Aeres® control software in order to efficiently operate multi-module systems that can include cleaning stations, substrate and mask load locks, as well as multiple deposition chambers also known as process modules.

Nebula uses a simple architecture wherein sequences are created by assigning substrate(s), mask(s), and deposition/cleaning recipe(s) to a particular cluster module; these sequences are then placed into a global queue to be processed in the order in which they were assigned by the user, typically utilizing recipes. Nebula provides powerful scheduling capability in a very simple to use platform.

Substrates and masks are first loaded into the appropriate module and given unique identifiers from the Aeres® software platform. Once loaded substrates and masks have been defined within the software, the user has complete control over the sequences that follow and can build them as simple or complex as desired.

For instance, If you load 3 substrates and 3 masks into a load lock module into a Nebula cluster system that has 2 process modules (A & B), you can create a sequence that involves a deposition run of substrate 1, with mask 1, in process module A, followed by a deposition run of substrate 1, with mask 2, in process module B, followed by a deposition run of substrate 2, with mask 3, in process module A…etc. Any combination of steps can be achieved. In addition to this, several sequences can run simultaneously, further increasing efficiency.

From the time it was delivered, this laboratory system has performed nearly flawlessly, arguably extending our capabilities well beyond those currently attainable by any organic thin film laboratory in the world. I attribute the success of this entire system to the excellence of the engineering as well as the cooperative nature of the Angstrom team in taking our best designs and making them better during the system construction process.

Dr. Stephen Forrest –
University of Michigan

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