September 16, 2008: El-Mul Technologies’ E-Beam On-a-Chip platform, which demands precision placement and step repeatability of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs), will be produced using Aixtron’s Black Magic system, a fully automatic deposition system capable of thermal and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) of CNTs.
El-Mul says achieving pilot production for its E-Beam On-a-Chip CNT-based electron source device represents a paradigm shift for the industrial manufacture of electron sources. “Our technological achievement requires a highly-controlled growth process of carbon nanotubes,” said Sagi Daren, El-Mul’s nano-electron source project manager, in a statement. “The Black Magic systems’ rapid heater ensures that the metal catalyst we apply for growth stays precisely at the centre of the emitter structure, and plasma process deposits straight, vertical nanotubes. Our resulting fine-beam product achieves a divergence of ±5 degrees at 50nA/120eV beam current and is perfectly on-axis.”
Daren adds: “The reproducibility, uniformity and quick turnaround of Aixtron’s Black Magic system have contributed greatly to our success in moving our E-Beam-On-a-Chip toward commercial production. Thanks to these attributes, we are today approaching industrial yields, and will soon compete with conventional hand-made electron sources.”
Aixtron’s Black Magic System.
E-Beam On-a-Chip utilizes the unique electrical and mechanical properties of CNTs, which make excellent cold field emission electron sources. El-Mul’s platform is a low-energy electron generator of well-characterized fine beams as well as high-current broad beams. It is aimed at bringing new capabilities to electron microscopy, gas ionization and X-ray tools, flat-panel displays, sub-40nm semiconductor manufacturing nodes, and other applications.
Traditionally, electron sources have been made individually and assembled entirely by hand. El-Mul’s E-Beam On-a-Chip uses microelectronic-compatible processing to produce batched electron sources on semiconductor wafers. Benefits of the platform include parallel device production, scalability and small size, as well as micro precision in fabrication to eliminates alignment issues.