A blog on the repair, operation and calibration of surface analysis systems and components including electron spectrometers, sputter ion guns and vacuum related hardware. Click on the Index tab below to see a list of all posts. Visit our website at http://www.rbdinstruments.com
Category Archives: Ion Sources
Information on PHI (Physical Electronics) ion source repair, maintenance, and operation
As the 11-065s get older we are starting to see instances
where the beam voltage, condenser voltage or objective voltage becomes unstable
as the front panel potentiometers are adjusted.
The front panel potentiometers can become “noisy” as a result of oxidation on the internal contacts. In addition to causing instability in the output voltages, it is also possible for the potentiometer output potentiometer “open” up. When this happens, the output of the beam, condenser or objective supply can go as high as 6.4kV as shown in the picture below in which a 1000:1 high voltage probe is used to measure the beam voltage supply.
In the case of the condenser or objective supplies becoming
unstable the result is that the ion beam might go in and out of focus, or the
ion beam can get completely shut off.
However, if the beam voltage becomes unstable and goes up to 6.5kV then
the opto-couplers on the HV1 board will become damaged and then the emission or
pressure circuits will no longer function properly. The opto-couplers are only rated up to 5kV.
If you suspect that your 11-065 beam, condenser or objective
supplies are unstable, here is how to test the HV1 board outputs;
Turn off the 11-065 and unplug the input power cord.
Place the 11-065 on the bench and remove the top cover
Remove the HV cover (on the right hand side of the unit)
Unplug all of the spade connectors which connect the various wires to the HV1 and HV2 boards
Lift out the HV2 board (the one closer to the center of the unit)
Place all of the wires off to the side of the 11-065, making sure that none of them touch the chassis. Most of the wires are outputs and so have no voltage on them, but the 4 center wires on the HV2 board have 20VAC on them.
Connect a high voltage probe to the beam output connector on the still plugged in HV1 board, (the board closest to the chassis) ground reference is the chassis. The outputs are: E93 Beam Voltage, E90 OBJ, E89 COND.
Plug in the 11-065 input power cord.
Make sure that the Beam voltage switch is OFF and the beam voltage knob is turned fully CCW.
Turn on the 11-065 power.
Turn on the beam voltage and monitor the output on the DVM that is connected to the high voltage probe.
Slowly turn the Beam voltage potentiometer CW and observe the DVM reading. The Beam voltage output should increase smoothly from near zero to 5kV as you turn up the potentiometer. If you see jumping, instability, or if the Beam voltage output goes up to 6.5 kV then the potentiometer is noisy and needs to be replaced. The potentiometer is a 10 k ohm 5 turn 2 Watt 1% potentiometer available from DIgikey, Mouser and Newark.
The OBJ and COND outputs go from 50% to 100% of the Beam Voltage. So to test those, the Beam voltage needs to stay fully CW at 5.0 The OBJ and COND potentiometers are also 10 k ohm 5 turn 2 watt 1% potentiometers.
If the Beam voltage potentiometer was noisy and the voltage went higher than 5kV, then the opto-couplers were likely damaged. If your do not get any emission current, then most likely U6 on the HV2 board was damaged and should be replaced. Other components may be damaged as well. If the emission works but not the pressure, U7 is likely damaged.
On the really old 11-065s, U6 was a TIL109 opto. When that part became obsolete about 20 years ago, it was replaced with a SPX314 opto. Most of the 11-065s in the field have been updated to the SPX314 (a modification is required). If you have a really old 11-065 with the TIL109 opto-couplers, RBD still has a few of those in stock.
Recently, the SPX314 has become obsolete and is hard to find. It can be replaced with a OPI 110 opto-coupler which is also has 15kV of isolation, so even if the HV1 board goes up to 6.4kV this opto-coupler will not get damaged. The OPI 110 will not only repair the problem, it will ensure that this particular problem does not happen again.
There is no modification required to switch from a SPX314 to an OPI 110, but the pin outs are slightly different and are shown in the pictures below.
The OPI 110 opto-couplers are available from most major
electronic part suppliers including Mouser.
If you need technical help to repair your 11-065 ion gun control you can contact RBD Instruments Inc. for assistance. We offer technical support, repair/ calibration and the use of a loaner 11-065 while your unit is being repaired.
Why do you need sputter rate standards anyway? Each ion source will produce a different sputter rate depending on the conditions that the ion source is operated at, as well as other factors such as the angle of the ion source to the sample. Changing the beam voltage, condenser and focus (beam size), pressure (amount of argon or other gas) and raster area all affect the sputter rate. By using a sputter rate standard you can characterize your ion source for a particular set of operating conditions for a known oxide layer thickness of standard material (Ta2O5 or SiO2).
To further complicate things, the sputter rate of different materials varies greatly and that makes it very difficult to accurately know the true sputter rate for compounds and multi layer samples.
The link to this SPECs article for some very helpful insights into sputter rates on different materials:
And, here is a link to a PNNL publication on the sputter rates of oxide films relative to SiO2.
TaO5 sputter rate standard
RBD Instruments provides a 1000 Angstrom oxide layer TaO5 sputter rate standard which is approximately .75 X .50 inch in size. Both sides of the standard can be used, so one standard can last a long time. The RBD part number is TA2O5RE.
SiO2 sputter rate standard
RBD Instruments provides a 1000 Angstrom oxide layer SiO2 sputter rate standard which is approximately .50 X .50 inch in size and comes in a two pack. The RBD part number is SIO2CALRE and like the TaO5 standard, both sides can be used.
To request a quote for either standard, contact RBD here or go to the upper right hand corner of the RBD Instruments website and create a sales ticket. (www.rbdinstruments.com)