27 March 2012

NanoLab@TU/e adds OIPT plasma etch & dep systems

The open-access facility for nanotechnology-related research, NanoLab@TU/e (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven) in The Netherlands, is continuing to expand its capabilities with the recent addition of two new plasma systems from UK-based Oxford Instruments.

“The PlasmaPro System100 RIE and PlasmaPro System100 ICP-PECVD tools are multi-purpose systems that complement the already existing tool-set dedicated to the processing of III-V photonic devices, many of which are Oxford Instruments tools,” says professor Erwin Kessels, Plasma & Materials Processing Group, Department of Applied Physics, TU/e. “They strengthen our capabilities for our own research as well as that for our partners within the NanoLabNL initiative. They also complement the extensive atomic-layer deposition (ALD)-capability of our cleanroom, that already contains the two FlexAL and one OpAL plasma and thermal ALD systems from Oxford Instruments,” he adds.

“With the capability to run both F- and Cl- chemistries, the PlasmaPro System100 RIE tool will be used for ‘standard’ processing of silicon-containing materials (SiO2, Si3N4, Si) as well as for etching more ‘exotic’ materials such as NbN,” Kessels continues.

The etching of niobium nitride thin films is used to fabricate nanostructured superconducting single-photon detectors. For this application TU/e needed to define an ultra-narrow (50nm) constriction in a 5nm-thick NbN film, by electron-beam lithography and etching with F-based chemistry.

When the resulting device is cooled down to 4K and biased close to the critical current, a single-photon absorbed in the constriction region (and only there) gives rise to a superconducting-resistive transition, producing a voltage pulse. This results in a single-photon detector with a spatial resolution of a few tens of nanometers, which could be used for near-field imaging with unprecedented sensitivity.

“Our broad, flexible and reliable system and process offering has led to a number of nanotechnology research institutes globally becoming established as Oxford Instruments centres of excellence,” says Mark Vosloo, sales & customer support director at Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT). “Several long-term relationships have developed between research centres and our company,” he adds.

Tags: OIPT

Visit: www.phys.tue.nl/nanolab

Visit: www.oxford-instruments.com

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