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Michaela Brade
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Optimization of the Layer Growth

The coating and the growth of structures is wild field of research. Especially in the semiconductor and optic thin films  a number of specific physical and chemical methods are used for the coating of substrates. In order to apply an optimal layer in an existing plant many factors play a role. For calibration usually a fundamental understanding of comprehensive calibrations is required. In addition to the required layer functionality the process maturity determines the production- and process costs. FEM-calculations in combination with computational methods from basic research offer you the necessary insight for targeted optimization.


In this case of application a reactor should be optimized with respect to various process parameters. The aim is to find the ideal parameters for evenly spread layer growth in a particular phase. Both the technical but also material-related factors are taken into account.


To solve this complex issue, we use two different methods. On the one hand we use FEM simulations and on another side we analyze materials with the help of ab initio calculations. By linking these two methods a detailed process description and optimization on the nuclear level is possible.


The example depicted here shows the simulated deposition of silicon oxide on a substrate. The processes in the reactor are analyzed with FEM methods using various parameters such as plasma-induced power, reactor pressure, the gas pressure of the reactor gas, the gas concentration. In Figure 1 the temperature distribution is shown as an example. The highest temperature can be determinate at the inflow of gas and decrease up to the gas outflow. The analysis revealed that the growth process of the reaction rates depend crucially on the upper surface. The reactions on the surface are investigated by the use of density functional theory (DFT) and reactive force-field (ReaxFF) calculations. Figure 2 shows the calculated reaction path at the surface. So the optimal conditions for the growth can be defined. The next step is to adjusted to the optimum reaction temperature in the reactor. In this way you can also define the optimal level for parameters like  material-, phase-or. process-specific adhesion for progressive FEM simulation. As a result of this investigation the process inside the reactor can be faster and result-oriented.

Advantages of FEM Simulation

  • Optimization of different parameters
  • deep understanding of the processes

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