DMC designed and developed a custom process control and monitoring system upgrade for a Perkin Elmer film deposition tool used for reactive RF sputtering of oxide thin films for optical device applications. Prior to this effort, the tool was used in a completely manual mode, relying on the operator to manually setup, start, monitor, and stop all processing equipment. Using National Instruments LabVIEW software with NI Fieldpoint hardware, DMC was able to fully automate the most labor intensive functions of the system.
The software system starts and controls the RF plasma generator, balancing electronics, mass flow controllers, and chamber pressure controller. As a result, configuration of the system involves only loading of a substrate and selection of the required deposition recipe, as opposed to setting multiple configuration settings. During deposition, the software continually monitors the process, logs measured parameters, and checks process variables for alarm conditions. The application also can automatically shut down the system after an alarm or at the specified process time.