Brooks Automation updates vacuum monitoring equipment

August 28, 2012 – Brooks Automation, Chelmsford, MA (Nasdaq: BRKS) has released two extensions to its line of vacuum quality monitoring semiconductor manufacturing subsystem components that measure gases and conditions in a vacuum chamber.

The 835 VQM (Vacuum Quality Monitor), consisting of an ion trap mass spectrometer gauge, a VQM controller, and VQM viewer software, lets users see the 20 most prevalent gases, total pressure trending (with optional total pressure gauge), partial pressure trending, spectral display, data logging, data (screen) capture, gas fitting library for 10 gases, and leak check. The mass spectrometer operates from UHV to 10-5 Torr and accurately measures the gases in the vacuum chamber. (Differential pumping is required to reduce the process chamber pressure to the operating range of the VQM, below 1E-5 Torr.)

Among its new features:

— Measurement range has been expanded to 1-300 amu in 125 ms, with 1-145 amu total and partial pressure measurement information in 85 ms.
— A new API links the VQM software to users’ programs to provide complete control over the VQM and allow reading of gas composition data.
— Also new is a "Vacuum Quality Index" function, where users can enter an equation which drives a digital output, an audible alarm, or the start of data logging — for example, starting a process when total pressure is low enough, water level decreases beyond a certain level, and reactive gas level achieves a specified amount.
— A larger A/D, improved electrometer, lower noise, and software data analysis improvements. The electron multiplier is now field-replaceable.

The 835 VQM controller and gauge operate at a maximum of 15 Watts. The gauge can be mounted remotely using a cable from one to 20 meters long. (Here’s the data sheet for the 835 VQM.)

The 835 VQM Differential Pump System (DPS) adds to the 835 VQM DPS with a gate valve with orifice, turbo pump, roughing pump, and 390 Micro-Ion ATM total pressure gauge. It allows for operation and process control in semiconductor, coating, and other higher pressure applications by allowing operation up to 3 Torr. During base out, the gate valve is open providing the VQM with a high conductance path directly to the process chamber for greater sensitivity and accuracy; during process the gate valve is closed and a turbo pump is used to reduce pressure through the limited conductance of the orifice. The valve can be manually or pneumatically controlled. (Here’s the data sheet for the 835 VQM DPS.)

"Customers that have been asking for extended mass range, process control outputs and operation at higher pressures, can now benefit from the VQM ion trap technology," said Joergen Olsson, GM of Brooks Automation’s Instrumentation Group. "The wait is over for those wanting to utilize the speed, simple calibration, and ease of use advantages of the VQM for their applications."


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