Automated cold ablation pulsed laser deposition production system

Paul Boughton

Finnish thin film coating specialist Picodeon Ltd Oy has developed the world’s first production equipment for the use of pulsed laser deposition (PLD) in volume manufacturing.

The Picodeon ColdAb Series 4 thin film deposition system was developed in co-operation with PVD Products of Wilmington, Massachusetts.

The ColdAb Series 4 system delivers industrial-scale PLD coating production of 4-inch wafer sizes, including the fully-automated delivery of substrates to the pre-clean chamber and to the main Coldab coating chamber.

The deposition chamber includes many of the features that have been developed by Picodeon, and uses the patented ColdAb process which enables large-area thin-film coating deposition using a high frequency picosecond laser. This has not been possible before at this scale, as conventional PLD has lower growth rate compared to Picodeon's ColdAb process.

The benefits of the cold ablation process are a smooth and particle-free surface, and that the target material’s stoichiometry may be fully transferred to the thin-film on the substrate. This is an important issue for instance with oxides and composites.

“The new ColdAb Series 4 tool includes a 10 wafer Loadlock chamber. Instead of having many costly laser sources, ColdAb Series4 is equipped with one 200W@40MHz laser source. This makes the system less expensive and easier to use. Picodeon has used earlier versions of this equipment for R&D for many years, and now it is time to ramp up that process technology to industrial scale with Series 4,” said Dr Jari Liimatainen, the CEO of Picodeon Ltd Oy.

The system provides multi-layer deposition capability for a wide variety of materials including oxides, metals, and several composites, and also enables temperature-sensitive polymers to be coated.

Picodeon will utilise the system to commercialise new applications based on a wide range of coating materials including its patented Nicanite graphitic carbon nitride.

Precious metals such as gold (Au) and oxides for the semiconductor and sensor industries are in the development roadmap, and the company is looking for industrial partners to join these projects. The first ColdAb Series4 system will be available in January 2014.

The trailer is available on  For more information, visit


Coldab USPLD Coating Process

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