Variable Angle Stages (GLAD)

With a variable angle stage, you can get creative with your depositions, considering how your materials will behave in the third dimension.This process is also known as glancing angle deposition (GLAD). By rotating the sample into an oblique angle in relation to the deposition plume, material can build up on the substrate in very unique ways, giving the researcher the ability to explore material properties from a new angle.

Applications never even considered before are possible by arranging materials on the substrate using this approach. It is also an essential deposition technique when creating superconducting circuits like qubits for quantum computing applications. More on quantum deposition here.

These stages allow you to control the shape and properties of complex nanostructures, and conformally coat 3D features for imaging. With -95° to 95° tilt, continuous rotation, and precise control via our Aeres® integrated software, this is a tool that can perform, and bring your innovation forward. Angstrom Engineering has had a very successful track record in working with all kinds of deposition systems that are enhanced with the use of variable angle – also known as GLAD – stages.

Variable angle film and SEM images provided by our partners in the Gorodetsky group at UC, Irvine, USA.

A variable angle stage will also allow for versatility not associated with nanostructure morphology or feature coatings. Because the stage can tilt towards any location within the chamber, sources can be placed throughout (and even on the sides of) the chamber, making direct lift-off depositions possible from any direction without any shadowing effects.

We have successfully deployed the technology in many dozens of platforms, including small standalone chambers, in massive multi-stage systems, and even with in-situ automated transfer capabilities. Our partners pioneered this technology, and we are proud to help them continue to create innovative new applications using this specialized process enhancement.

Variable angle stages can come equipped at diameters from 50-500mm, can be heated to 800°C, cooled to -150°C, and have positional repeatability better than 0.1º of radius.

Variable angle stages allow for very powerful thin film techniques. However, one of its biggest challenges is reproducability. The substrate is often set at a very oblique angle in relation to the source, and the films are very sensitive to the precision of this angle. If it’s off by even half a degree, it will affect the morphology of these nanostructures considerably. Angstrom went to great lengths to refine the tolerances of the tilt angle, improving it from a variation of up to a full degree on non-Angstrom systems I’ve used, to less than 0.1 degree. Those wonderfully narrow tolerances allow us to repeatedly create very precise nanostructures. I can say wholeheartedly, the product and service Angstrom Engineering delivered has been amazing.

Dr. Steven Jim – University of California Irvine

Need a new angle?

Let’s talk about implementing variable angle stages with your work.

This video demonstrates a variable angle stage during a process, along with automated substrate transfer.

Above: a variable angle stage integrated with our Nexdep PVD platform.