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Project Case

Thin Film Sensor Cluster

Flexible coating system for the production of various sensors


Self-driving cars are becoming a reality, smartphones are transforming amateurs into measuring device experts, and hobby inventors are using mini-computers to create automated systems for houseplants. Nowadays, complex automation is inexpensive and ubiquitous. And an indispensable element for this is: a large number of sensors. They record data such as temperature, distance, pressure, force, humidity, pH value, gas concentration and more, in order to turn theoretical simulations into practical everyday helpers. The market for low-cost sensors is growing. As a result, more and more sensor manufacturers are asking themselves how they can make sensors cheaper and smaller. The answer is: thin film technology. 


The system will be used to produce sensors, i.e. conductor tracks, capacitors, resistors, piezoresistive layers etc. will be deposited on 200 mm wafers. These thin layers of metals, oxides or nitrides must be applied over the entire wafer with a layer thickness deviation of less than +/- 3 % and must adhere well to the substrate and to each other. The system must be compatible with the SEMI standard so that upstream and downstream processes from the semiconductor industry (e.g. for structuring) can be used. In addition, the system must, naturally, be able to run fully automated formulas for different sensors and coat an entire batch of substrates in one piece without external intervention. Finally, the system must be flexible and expandable in the future, so that small batches of special sensors can be produced on it or new technologies for sensor production (e.g. atomic layer deposition) can be subsequently integrated. 


FHR.Star.300 is a vacuum system compatible with the SEMI standard. The central chamber is equipped with a robot that transports the wafers between the chambers arranged around it. Depending on the formula, the wafers in the input lock are pretreated one after the other in the four process chambers or coated with various layers by sputtering (DC sputtering, pulsed DC sputtering, reactive DC sputtering) before the robot deposits them in the output lock. The deposited materials can be changed by selecting the targets. Two free ports allow additional process chambers to be retrofitted at a later date. As with all FHR systems, everything is controlled automatically by the formula, and all data is recorded for later traceability. 


  1. Diverse sputtering and etching processes in one system
  2. Wafer sizes up to 200 mm
  3. Automated coating with full control over all process parameters
  4. Convenient changing of the 300 mm targets
  5. SEMI standard compatible 
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