Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Innovative sensors for real-time monitoring of deposition rates in plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) systems

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.09.04  Engineering sciences and technologies  Electronic components and technologies  Optoelectronics 

Code Science Field
P180  Natural sciences and mathematics  Metrology, physical instrumentation 

Code Science Field
2.02  Engineering and Technology  Electrical engineering, Electronic engineering, Information engineering 
fiber-optic sensors, Fabry-Perot, signal interrogation, optical fibers, opto-electronics, photonics, plasma technology, PECVD, silicon dioxide
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  50413  Andrej Benda    Technical associate  2019 - 2022 
2.  36448  PhD Vedran Budinski  Metrology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  27 
3.  15006  PhD Denis Đonlagić  Metrology  Head  2019 - 2022  386 
4.  14112  PhD Bojan Gergič  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2020 - 2022  154 
5.  35960  PhD Žiga Gosar  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2019 - 2022  57 
6.  52954  Boris Kastelic  Energy engineering  Researcher  2020 - 2022 
7.  15703  PhD Janez Kovač  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2019 - 2022  682 
8.  10429  PhD Miran Mozetič  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2019 - 2022  1,358 
9.  30950  PhD Matej Njegovec  Metrology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  45 
10.  29743  PhD Simon Pevec  Metrology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  85 
11.  50412  Stanislav Remškar    Technical associate  2019 - 2022 
12.  29669  Majda Rus  Electric devices  Researcher  2019 - 2022 
13.  51363  Tatjana Škulj  Economics  Researcher  2019 
14.  52497  Maja Šukarov    Technical associate  2019 - 2022 
15.  31618  PhD Rok Zaplotnik  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2019 - 2022  315 
16.  50893  Matjaž Zupan  Electric devices  Researcher  2019 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0796  University of Maribor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science  Maribor  5089638003  27,658 
2.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,855 
3.  3253  ELVEZ, proizvodnja kabelske konfekcije in predelava plastičnih mas, d.o.o. (Slovene)  Višnja Gora  5569613  57 
4.  3549  NELA, razvojni center za elektroindustrijo in elektroniko, d.o.o. (Slovene)  Železniki  3962237  86 
An innovative sensor for real-time monitoring of the deposition rates for thin dielectric films in Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD) systems will be constructed and validated. An interdisciplinary team consisting experts in optoelectronics, plasma science, plasma technology and sensor technology will be established. The team will consist of partners from a university, a public research institute, a private research centre and an industrial partner. The team will construct a sensor suitable for data acquisition in a time scale of about 100 ms with the sensitivity of about 1 nm. The sensor will be first tested in a small experimental system for reactive sputter deposition available at the University. Prototypes will be then validated in a system for PECVD deposition of thin films using hexamethyl di-siloxane precursor at the Institute, and further validated in a 5 cubic meters large system for PECVD deposition of thin silicon dioxide layers on polymeric components of complex shape and rather large size. This system is used routinely for depositing protective layers on head lamps for automotive industry. The experts from the private research centre will construct an appropriate power supply including electronics for automatic data acquisition. The deliverable of this applied research project will be therefore an industrial prototype of a sensor ready for use in PECVD reactors worldwide. The original solution will be protected with a patent application, while the scientific aspect will be disseminated by papers submitted to prominent topical journals as well as through presentations at plasma conferences. The co-funding organization and beneficiary of this project will be able to commercialize the sensor soon after accomplishing this project. The sensor will be flexible enough for application in plasma reactors of various sizes using different discharges for sustaining non-equilibrium gaseous plasma. It will be small and will represent a price-effective alternative to standard methods for in-situ measuring thicknesses of thin films upon deposition in plasma reactors.
Significance for science
The proposed research shall be directed towards research in modern optical sensing technology, more specifically to the field of Fiber Optics Sensor and related Photonics technologies, while addressing key measurement needs in very challenging PCVD environments. These new measurements methods shall support both scientific research and process control in industrial systems.  Research and development of Fiber Optics Sensors and associated methods for opto-electronic signal readout/interrogation systems, shall lead to new fundamental and applied knowledge within the fields of Measurements and Photonics technologies. This knowledge shall enable original approaches towards designing the next generation of efficient and miniature optical sensing systems. These systems have been influencing the development of new scientific and industrial concepts in the advanced fields broadly, for example, in the fields of Modern Industrial Production, Information Technologies, and Bio-medical Systems. Sensor technologies are also the essential/core technology of autonomous systems, that have been rising significantly over the last decade. Work performed within the proposed Project shall, thus, contribute directly to the development of other scientific fields and disciplines. Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD) of thin films remains a subject to extensive study due to complex mechanisms involved both in gas phase and on surfaces. The innovative sensors will allow for better understanding of the surface effects. The sensors will represent an affordable tool for real-time measuring of deposition rates. In combination with sensors for plasma diagnostics and post-treatment characterization of deposited films by surface and thin-film characterization techniques available in our labs (XPS, ToF-SIMS, AES) they will provide results useful for understanding the PECVD to details. The technique employs weakly ionized plasma which is particularly sensitive to spatial variation of plasma parameters, in particular the dissociation and ionization fractions. The innovative sensor will allow for space resolved determination of the deposition rates. In combination with space-resolved techniques for plasma characterization it will enable determination of correlations between plasma parameters and deposition rates. Depending on local plasma parameters, the films grown on solid substrates vary significantly in composition, structure, morphology etc. In fact, a variety of deposits are possible using the same precursor. In the case hexamethyl di-siloxane is used as the precursor, the range of coatings expands from a coating resembling polymethyl di-siloxane to almost pure silicon dioxide. The characterization of deposits by XPS, SIMS together with other techniques such as GA-XRD, PTIR and microscopies will enable better understanding of the deposition kinetics. The proposed research shall be directed not only to the creation of new senzors, but also directly applicable scientific concepts.
Significance for the country
As already stressed in the Project description (attached pdf file), the research will not only represent a breakthrough in two scientific niches: i) sensors and ii) plasma science, but will also have a direct impact on economy as described below.  The industrial partner Elvez Ltd., which is a rapidly growing SME, will be able to optimize the PECVD deposition of protective coatings on their head lamps for automotive industry. This partner has 3 large (several cubic meters) plasma reactors for metallization of plastic components and subsequent protection by a thin film of silicon dioxide. The company will install several sensors into all plasma reactors so it will be able to monitor the deposition rate for silicon dioxide by PECVD in real time, thus improving the quality of their products.  The Research centre NELA will upgrade skills on development of specific products for electrical industry. Its strategy is to expand the activities to the niche of custom design sensors. By participation in this project they will upgrade the knowledge in the niche of optical sensors which are needed to control production lines of the Centre’s industrial partners. The co financer of the project will gain the know how sufficient for commercialization of the sensor.  The academic partners will straighten their links to Slovenian industry and plan long-term collaboration with industrial partners involved in this project. By successful accomplishment of this project they will gain a precious reference needed for their affirmation in industry and society.
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