Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) is a process by which thin films of various materials can be deposited on substrates at lower temperature than that of standard Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

In PECVD processes, deposition is achieved by introducing reactant gases between parallel electrodes—a grounded electrode and an RF-energized electrode. The capacitive coupling between the electrodes excites the reactant gases into a plasma, which induces a chemical reaction and results in the reaction product being deposited on the substrate. The substrate, which is placed on the grounded electrode, is typically heated to 250°C to 350°C, depending on the specific film requirements. In comparison, CVD requires 600°C to 800°C. The lower deposition temperatures are critical in many applications where CVD temperatures could damage the devices being fabricated.

Plasma-Therm has been a leader in PECVD technology for more than 30 years. We offer numerous innovations in our PECVD systems that produce high-quality films. One of the advantages of Plasma-Therm’s PECVD is the proprietary process that allows the tuning of silicon nitride film stress without the device damage that may result from Mixed Frequency Deposition (MFD). Plasma-Therm offers PECVD technology on the Vision Series and VERSALINE platforms.


The films typically deposited using PECVD are silicon nitride (SixNy), silicon dioxide (SiO2), silicon oxy-nitride (SiOxNy), silicon carbide (SiC), and amorphous silicon (α-Si). Silane (SiH4), the silicon source gas, is combined with an oxygen source gas to form silicon dioxide or a nitrogen gas source to produce silicon nitride.

Silicon dioxide and silicon nitride are dielectric (insulating) materials commonly used in the fabrication of electronic devices to isolate multiple conductive layers, capacitors, and for surface passivation. These films are also used for encapsulation to protect devices from corrosion by atmospheric elements such as moisture and oxygen.

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