The new Queensland Microtechnology Facility at Griffith University has ordered a Gamma sputtering system from Surrey NanoSystems, to support commercially-backed research into advanced semiconductor devices.

The prime application for the system is to research, develop and establish pilot production procedures for silicon-carbide-on-silicon (SiC-on-Si) devices on wafers of up to 200 mm diameter. Established with support from the Queensland State Government, Queensland Microtechnology Facility (QMF) has developed a unique epitaxial SiC-on-Si wafer deposition process. By combining the superior semiconductor and physical properties of SiC with low cost silicon wafers, QMF is creating a platform technology that has the potential to enable radical new generations of semiconductor devices and electronics products.

One of the many performance advantages of SiC is its low leakage, and superior new forms of semiconductor memory for non-volatile and volatile applications are some of the researchers' targets. QMF's memory research and development is funded by Qs Semiconductor Corp.

Surrey NanoSystems won the tender for three main reasons: The ability of the hardware and its control system to replicate commercial production processes; the flexibility of the system to support wide-ranging research; and the high quality vacuum engineering.

The equipment chosen is a configuration of Surrey NanoSystems' Gamma sputtering tool, an advanced Physical Vapor Deposition sputtering system that is highly optimized for both performance and versatility of use, and is widely used in R&D and pilot production applications. Capable of deposition over 200 mm diameter wafers or substrates, the system's very high vacuum capability of 5 x 10-9 Torr provides an exceptionally pure environment to aid uniform film deposition. Developed and refined over almost 10 years, the company uses a number of novel materials and system building ideas to reduce out-gassing, and enhance the level of cleanliness that can be achieved.