Endeavor M1 AlN Sputter Tool

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Sputter deposition

Endeavor M1 AlN Sputter Tool
Equipment Details
Technology PVD
Materials Restriction Metals
Material Processed Al, AIN
Sample Size 4" or 6" wafers only
Equipment Manual
Overview Endeavor M1 AlN Sputter ToolSystem Overview
Supported Processes Supported Processes
Maintenance Maintenance

This tool is currently in an idle state to save on labor and parts consumption and will take a few weeks to get back online. If you plan on running the tool, please fill out a ticket and staff will get back to you to work on a schedule.

The Endeavor M1 is dedicated for sputter-deposition of high quality piezoelectric Aluminum Nitride (AIN) films. Piezoelectric AlN is deposited using reactive sputtering of a pure Al target with a combination of nitrogen and argon as the sputtering gasses. Piezoelectric AlN is difficult to sputter because of the insulating nature of the film, stress issues in the film and it’s sensitivity to O2. As a result, it requires a dedicated system which uses dual AC target technology, extensive Al pasting routines, substrate bias to prep surfaces and a loadlock to minimize pumping times while still allowing mid-10-7 Torr pressures.



  • Piezoelectric AlN films 0.5-2.5 µm thick
  • Variable gas flows and adjustable substrate resistance/capacitance to allow for stress control

System Overview

Hardware Details

  • Turbo-pumped/Water-pumped (high temp cryo that acts as a water trap,) loadlocked sputtering tool. Base pressures in the 10-7, 10-8 range
  • 10 KW AC power supply that runs 5-7KW power across a dual Al target source
  • RF bias on wafer holding platen to control surface characteristics thru Ar and N2 bombardment
  • Backside lamp heating
  • 50 sccm N2 and 20sccm Ar and 20sccm O2 flow meters.
  • Handler for 6" wafers, carrier for 4" wafers.

Substrate Requirements

  • 4” and 6" wafers only
  • The process heats the wafer considerably (~500°C or more) with heavy ion bombardment so no organics or low temperature films are allowed in the tool.
  • The process only produces piezoelectric AlN films on certain materials (specifically blanket undoped or low-doped Si, SiO2 and patterned Mo, Pt, Al.)

Material Restrictions

The Endeavor M1 AlN Sputter Tool is designated as a Metals class tool. Below is a list of approved materials for the tool. Approved means the material is allowed in the tool under normal circumstances. If a material is not listed, please create a helpdesk ticket or email info@lnf.umich.edu for any material requests or questions.

Supported Processes

  • Aluminum Nitride (AlN) deposition.
    • AlN is a 3-step process:
      • A condition recipe which pastes a dummy 6" wafer with Al and then preps it for AlN deposition. The dummy wafer is then unloaded in the chamber
      • An etch recipe which runs an RF Ar etch on the process wafer and then runs an Ar/N2 flow to prep the surface.
      • Deposition recipes are designated by thickness and the the deposition time is set by a target file which is a mapping of dep rate per KWhr
        • Users must work with staff to change steps of the deposition recipes.

Recipe layout, recipe steps and editing rules are outlined in the DOP

Process Characterization

AlN Thickness

  • AlN thickness is set in the recipe and the tool uses the target file data to determine the deposition rate.
    • The deposition rate varies between 8.5-10.5 A/sec depending conditions.
    • The Target file adjusts the deposition rate depending on the wear/age (KWhrs) of the target.
    • Thickness data collected by users and staff in the logbook will be used to adjust and improve the accuracy of the target file.

Stress Adjustment Unit

  • The stress adjustment unit is used to change the resistance in a capacitance/resistance circuit to ground of the chamber.
    • Users can adjust the dial before their runs.
    • Typically adjustments below 25 will lead to plasma instability issues so the vendor does not recommend going below that point.
    • The response for 1um films is below. Thicker films (1.5-2.5um) usually have less compressive stress. Thinner films will have more compressive stress.

AlN Hysteresis:

  • Hysteresis is mapped to look at the N2/Ar ratios that produce a poisoned AlN state
    • Users will want to run in the lower target voltage regime (AlN poisoned mode.)
    • Since the condition recipe and the beginning of the deposition recipe run the target to a high N2 flow state (20-21 sccm) the deposition steps are operating on the N2 "going down" (orange) curve.

Detailed Operating Procedure

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Checkout Procedure

  • Read through this page and the Operating Procedure above.
  • Create a Helpdesk Ticket requesting training.
  • A tool engineer will schedule a time for initial training.
  • Practice with your mentor or another authorized user until you are comfortable with tool operation.
  • Schedule a checkout session with a tool engineer via the helpdesk ticket system. If this checkout is successful, the engineer will authorize you on the tool.


There is no maintenance allowed by users of this tool.

Power Bump Recovery

  • In case of a power bump, nothing on the tool is time-critical or will lead to tool damage.
  • The tool power up requires multiple steps and some system checks in the service aisle.

Therefore, for power bump recovery, please contact staff and do not attempt to unload any wafers.