The Swiss company Evatec is specialized in the development and production of equipment for thin-film deposition. The company’s head office is located in the city of Trьbbach in the canton of St. Gallen. Currently, Evatec employs around 200 specialists. The range of produced equipment includes the systems of vacuum deposition and etching of different types. In the beginning of 2015, the company purchased a subdivision producing thin-film technologies from the Oerlikon Group, which enabled Evatec to strengthen its positions in key segments of the market. Allan Jaunzens, the head of the Marketing and Communication department, told us about the advantages of the equipment produced by the company.
What effect did the acquisition of Oerlikon Systems have on the business of Evatec?
The purchase of the subdivision Oerlikon, which works with semiconductor and thin-film technologies, enabled us to expand the range of solutions for production of 3D microchips, elements of power electronics, MEMS, pnotonics, wireless devices. Currently, we offer our customers a wide range of equipment for deposition, etching and control of thin-film with different specifications for different industries. Now, we are the leaders in such market segments as thin film deposition systems for 3D-integration or production of components for wireless communication.
What tasks determine the development of thin-film technologies and what solutions does Evatec offer?
At high production volumes, the main trend is improvement of process control. We have developed complex methods of Advanced Process Control (APC) to monitor the process conditions and basic parameters of thin film in the production environment. The combination of film thickness optical control, stoichiometry monitoring, film stress measurements and electrical measurements provides the desired mechanical, optical and electrical characteristics of thin films in high-frequency processes. APC is particularly effective when working with expensive materials, as it minimizes defects.
Another important task is simplification of production processes and management. To this end, we use modern digital technologies. We produce equipment with different degrees of automation, up to fully automatic solutions. For example, the Solaris system can be integrated with other automated systems for mass production of electronic, optoelectronic and optical products, from touch panels to thermoelectric generators and photovoltaic devices based on flexible or rigid materials. Furthermore, Solaris is versatile and can be used for deposition of thin films of metals, dielectrics, metal oxides, including transparent conductive oxides, anti-reflective and dirt-resistant coatings.
The process control and automation improvement is closely interrelated with cutting costs and cheapening production. Alongside, we help our customers to resolve the problems of high-precision formation of increasingly complex structures and very smooth deposition on increasingly diverse materials, which is especially important in the production of MEMS and high-precision optics. In electronics, the trend is the increasing diameter and reducing thickness of wafers, so a particular focus is made on preventing their damage in the process of their handling.
Lately, the atomic layer deposition technology has been rapidly developing. How do you assess the prospects of their use in industrial production?
In fact, atomic layer deposition and other new technologies have very high prospects, but the possibilities for improving the conventional methods of thin-film vacuum deposition are far from being exhausted. Indeed, different methods of physical vapor deposition (PVD) are most widely used in the modern mass production of electronic and optical components. Our company is successfully deposition developing technology. For example, we have developed high-precision plasma ion assisted deposition (PIAD), which is characterized by low temperature, high speed and fine configuration of deposition modes with required properties. This technology is optimal for producing high-precision optical and optoelectronic products. Additionally, we are developing the plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), which provides deposition with high uniformity and no defects. When applying dielectrics, it is important for such films to have a high breakdown voltage level, as it is critical for optics to have a desired refractive index. We have the know-how in the field of low-temperature PECVD process and produce equipment used both in individual processes and in cluster systems. I would like to emphasize that the Evatec facilities used for different technologies are provided with the latest APC control systems.