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Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

VT-230 Design and Specification of Vacuum Deposition Systems

This short course intended as a guide for the researcher or production specialist that has a requirement for a vacuum/thin film deposition system. It will cover topics including: turning an idea for a system into a pertinent RFQ; major price points of a system; how to get more system for less; and how to get effective support and training. Upon completion of the course, participants should know how to specify a system to cover the intended purpose(s), understand common options in terms of process requirements, price control strategies, how to set acceptance criteria to cover the purpose and still stay within budget, and how to make sure the vendor stays interested in keeping the system healthy.

Topical Outline:

Design and Specification of Vacuum Deposition Systems

  • From concept to RFQ
  • Vendor interactions and final pricing
  • Getting facilities and labs in place
  • Installation, training, acceptance
  • Continued Support

Attendees in this tutorial receive course notes.

Course Details:

1. Introduction
Stages of a systems purchase from concept, to RFQ, to delivery and final acceptance.

  • Define a budget minimum and maximum
  • Outline as precise as possible all process requirements
  • Vendor response to RFQ and further negotiations
  • Site and facilities preparation
  • Acceptance, payment, and continued training and support

2. Definition of Purpose
The hardest aspect of any capital equipment purchase is to properly define the purpose, current proposed use, and forseeable future use requirements.

  • Defining the basic vacuum system in terms of base pressure – materials of construction and pumping system
  • Define film deposition techniques
  • List thin film requirements
  • List required options: substrate heating; in-situ cleaning, ion assist, etc.
  • List wanted options (not required but would be nice to have)
  • List Acceptance Test Criteria

3. New versus Rebuilt Used Systems
This section covers weighing the options of a used/repurposed piece of equipment versus a new, built specifically for purpose system.

  • Cost Savings versus possible performance limitations
  • Possible cross-contamination issues
  • Delivery Considerations
  • Writing out performance specs and acceptance criteria
  • Warranty, maintenance, support, and training

4. Writing the RFQ
The RFQ is a working document that allows interaction with vendors and a 1st order of magnitude to be assigned to this system.

  • System’s scope should be clearly defined
  • Performance criteria need to be clearly stated
  • “Must Have” components identified
  • General guidelines for system construction
  • Special Considerations (UL, NRTL, CA, CE, etc.)
  • Required Delivery, penalty clauses, storage fees, cancelation of order fees
  • Consider Working with a Consultant

5. Choosing Appropriate Vendors
Lining the RFQ up with an appropriate vendor is vital for successful fabrication of the system.

  • Colleagues recommendations – the good and the bad
  • Vendor interviews and asking tough questions
  • Compare the proposed value of the system to the financial size of the company manufacturing the system
  • Get the Lab/Cleanroom ready and facilities in place. Triple check.

6. Vendors Standard Products – do they work for your idea?
Often the system concept needs revised to fit into a standard design the vendor already has. Price and delivery are much more palatable but does that compromise the intended purpose/use of the system?

  • Price and delivery impact on custom versus standard
  • Putting your idea into a vendor’s standard “box” pro’s and con’s
  • Review software and GUI details – compare between vendors
  • Access vendor’s technical experts – do they understand what you need?
  • Changing the RFQ without changing the purpose of the system
  • Consider having a consultant review before awarding order

7. Training/Support/Maintenance/Warranty
The key to implementing and reaping the benefits of a new system is to understand what needs to be in place to make the system work in your facility with your personnel.

  • The case for systems acceptance at the vendor’s facility
  • Training – quantity and quality
  • Planning for proper maintenance
  • What’s covered under the warranty – what is not covered?
  • How to make the vendor interested in keeping this system healthy and operational

Instructor: Rob Belan, Technical Director, Kurt J. Lesker Company - Pittsburgh, PA
Rob Belan

Graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Physics and took graduate courses in Physics at City College of NY. Has worked in Vacuum Science since 1982 specializing in magnetron sputtering and other PVD techniques. He is currently the Technical Director at the Kurt J. Lesker Company and has lectured at many universities and companies across the world in PVD techniques and thin film growth.


This course is currently available via:
On Location Education Program

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