Wafer Heaters

Kamet offers high-end heating solutions for a variety of wafer processing applications in semiconductor industries including thin film deposition systems (e.g. CVD, PVD, ALD). In partnership with ARi we offer mineral insulated wafer heaters (also known as substrate heaters or platen heaters) suited to critical conditions and with specifications to match the exceptional and varied demands of these processes. Fully customized substrate heaters are often the best solution, however we also offer a range of standard disc heaters. Whatever the client chooses, our products and advice can be relied on to improve overall process stability by ensuring optimal temperature uniformity.

What are wafer heaters used for?

Wafer heaters are primarily used for thin film deposition systems, particularly in the semiconductor industries but also for solar panels, nano technologies, thin film deposition systems, as well as lithography, annealing and optical device industries. In these vacuum processes, ultra thin (sometimes just a few atoms thick) coatings are applied to a surface in a vacuum. There are various techniques used, all of which require different substrate heating elements with properties and design to match both the operating temperature and the type of material being deposited. Our wafer heaters are used in the following processes:

Wafer heaters can directly affect the properties of the deposited film, including having an influence on adhesion and chemical reactions. They are critical in ensuring the uniformity of heating so that the thin film is evenly deposited.

Types of wafer heaters

The choice of (mineral insulated) wafer heater is determined by the required application. Due to the highly specialized and critical nature of thin film deposition processes, our heating solutions are often customized to take into account all the process parameters and the required end result. Our focus is on the following categories of heaters:

  • A range of standard disc heaters
    • from 5cm to 16 cm in diameter
    • available with a universal support, allowing the disc to be threaded or welded by the customer into their particular fixtures
  • Custom substrate/platen heaters
    • designed together with the customer to exactly fit the application environment with regards to such factors as size, shape, sheath material

No matter the choice of heater you make at Kamet, the high quality of our products and the expertise of our advisors, means that thermal uniformity can be ensured, which is so critical to thin film deposition systems.

Chuck heaters and wafer heaters

A wafer chuck is essentially a tool used to hold and secure semiconductor wafers during the manufacturing process. A chuck heater is a wafer heater, with the mechanisems to hold the wafer in place during heating. The primary purpose of a chuck heater is to ensure that the wafer is at the optimal temperature for specific processes such as deposition, etching, photolithography, and annealing.

Chuck heaters are integrated into wafer chucks in several ways. We provide this with embedded heating elements. These are heating elements that are directly incorporated into the body of the chuck. They can provide uniform heating across the chuck’s surface, which is critical for maintaining the wafer at a uniform temperature.

Specifications and physical properties

In striving to ensure a wafer heater that is perfectly tuned to each application, there are a number of variables and specifications that the Kamet and/or ARi specialist will take into consideration:

  • The different types of substrate heating elements come in a range of (customizable) shapes, sizes and lengths.
  • Electrical connections are hermetically sealed. The choice of seal depends on the level of the vacuum and the presence of chemicals/contaminants.
  • Vacuum integrity is ensured by ARi using a helium leak check
  • Vacuum flanges (“O’ rings) are available to connect power and sensor cables outside of the vacuum. Our metal-to-ceramic heating connectors are also useful accessories to consider in this regard.
  • Hot and cold heat sections are customizable.
  • A welded exterior sheath can be supplied to minimize contamination in hazardous environments. For example, stainless steel or Inconel 600.
  • Internal thermocouples can be included for precise monitoring of the heat being generated.

All these possibilities mean that we can supply wafer heaters resistant to oxidizing, inert, reducing and (high) vacuum environments. The very wide temperature range of our mineral insulated wafer heaters make them suited to all the deposition processes, even up to 1000°C. Furthermore the wafer heaters are highly responsive with excellent mechanical strength thanks to the sheath. Stringent quality testing requirements are adhered to at ARi Industries.

Kamet’s quality and service

Kamet’s range of wafer heaters are supplied by the ARi industries from the USA. They have decades of experience in the heating world and are one of our most long-standing partners. The partnership Kamet has developed with ARi industries ensures full technical support for designing bespoke heating solutions or adjusting the current range to meet the demands of a particular application.

In fact, one of the reasons that Kamet Heating is supplying Europe’s leading semiconductor companies, is because we actively support the development of new and custom-made heating products. With specific regard to substrate heaters, where temperature uniformity is crucial, research by ARi is continuous with ongoing improvements in thermal uniformity solutions (e.g. multiple zones or custom substrate heat spreaders).

Should you have any questions about wafer heaters for your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our application specialists will get back to you promptly to discuss your needs. Kamet is known by her clients for our excellent customer service and efficiency.

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