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Flow Measurement & Vacuum Control in Plasma Treating Systems

Posted by Tim Collins on Nov 4, 2014 4:22:00 PM

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INTRODUCTION:Plasma in a vacuum chamber for coating applications

Plasma is an effective form of surface treatment. It is a crucial process step to ensure that surface contaminants don't prevent bonding.  For a low pressure plasma treatment process, maintaining a precise vacuum level can make plasma runs more repeatable by isolating the vacuum pressure variable. 

PROBLEM:

Some plasma treating systems do not have flow measurement and process control features, which are required for hitting a target vacuum level. Furthermore, as vacuum pumps age over time, their base pressure changes.  A changing base pressure and thus plasma pressure may cause inconsistent results.  How can you solve this problem without making an extremely costly upgrade to your system?

SOLUTION:
You can cost-effectvely overcome the limitations of your plasma treating system by following these easy steps:
  • Install a vacuum controller and capacitance manometer on your chamber.
  • Install an upstream / bleed type control valve between the vacuum pump and the plasma chamber.  This will maintain a vacuum level irrespective of the flow rate of plasma gas (within the bounds of the system).  This setup minimizes the bleed gas making it's way to the chamber.  The bleed gas is instead mostly sucked back into the pump.
CONCLUSION:

If you need to conduct experiments and processes at a constant vacuum level, and your plasma treating system doesn't effectively maintain flow and pressure, there is a cost effective solution that doesn't require an expensive upgrade.

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Topics: Surface Treatment