Oxford Instruments America, Inc.

Suite 150 300 Baker Avenue
Concord,  MA  01742-2121

United States
  • Booth: 2105

Flexible, configurable systems & leading-edge processes

Oxford Instruments offers flexible, configurable process tools and leading-edge processes for the precise, controllable and repeatable etching, deposition and growth of micro- and nano-structures.

Our systems provide process solutions for the micro- and nanometre engineering of materials for semiconductor, optoelectronics, HBLED,  power devices, MEMS & microfluidics, high quality optical coating and many other applications in micro- and nanotechnology.

These solutions are based on core technologies in:

- Plasma Etch & Deposition

- Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

- Ion Beam Etch & Deposition

- Deep Silicon Etch Systems

Products range from compact stand-alone systems for R&D, through to batch tools and up to cassette-to-cassette and clustered platforms for production processing.


 Press Releases

  • The Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF), a leading university research facility located at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT), UK have collaborated to develop a novel etching process targeted specifically at magnetic random-access memory MRAM based device fabrication. These results, obtained at CNF, add a significant contribution to OIPT’s large portfolio of etching processes. 


    MRAM is a high performance, low power, low degradation, non-volatile data storage technology that some suggest gives it the potential to become a “universal memory”, able to replace SRAM, DRAM, EEPROM and flash. Etching of magnetic based materials for the development and scaling of MRAM and spintronic devices is therefore of keen interest to several leading research groups using the CNF.


    Vincent J. Genova, a Research Staff Member at CNF, explains the technology and the new process, “An element of MRAM consists of a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) and a CMOS transistor.  One of the most challenging steps in MRAM fabrication is the etching of the MTJ stack.  The stack typically contains a non-magnetic seed layer to promote proper crystalline growth (e.g. Ta), an antiferromagnet such as PtMn or IrMn, a stack of alloy pinned layers (CoFeB), a tunnelling barrier such as MgO, metals such as Ru and/or Pt, and a suitable hard mask such as TiN or Ta. 


    The problem is that magnetic materials have difficulty reacting with most chemically active plasma species to form volatile etch products, so users often have to resort to purely physical ion milling processes.  However, ion milling suffers from low etch rates, low selectivity, undesirable sidewall redeposition especially for nanoscale features, and damage to the device structure itself.


    Recently, several research groups have shown that chemical etching of Co, Fe, and Ni based alloys can be achieved using plasmas formed from methanol (CH3OH) and argon.  The new CNF/OIPT process is a result of a Design of Experiment (DOE) in which the level of CH3OH in Ar varied, along with variations in the ICP power, bias power, and pressure.  Methanol, as the principal plasma reactant, forms volatile carbonyl compounds (e.g. Ni(CO)4, Fe (CO)5, and Co2(CO)8) at room temperature. This chemistry-based process avoids the disadvantages of purely physical milling.  The antiferromagnet IrMn also etches in a methanol plasma.  In addition, the selectivity over common mask materials such as Al2O3, Ta, Ti, TaN, and TiN is high, while leaving no residue on the etched devices.  We demonstrated successful etching of a 41nm thick magnetic tunnel junction stack stopping on the tantalum under layer (see figure).  High selectivity (>10:1) over both the Ta mask and under layer is achieved through the formation of tantalum carbide in the methanol process.”


    CNF was pleased to announce the full facilitation of the new PlasmaPro 100 Cobra ICP etch system from Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT) in 2015.  This inductively coupled plasma (ICP) based reactive ion etch platform is configured for state of the art nanoscale etching vital to the research work of CNF. The system includes many extras that make for a highly flexible and powerful etch research tool. These include a wide range temperature
    (-150°C to +400°C) electrode, which greatly enhances the spectrum of materials that can be etched with volatile chemistries, low frequency electrode biasing and a vapour delivery system for methanol (CH3OH).


    This advanced methanol-based etch capability for magnetic materials is an enabling process that is now available to the researchers at CNF and to the newly formed National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure Network (NNCI)


    “This research work at CNF adds a significant contribution to Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology’s extensive portfolio of etching processes, enabled through the use of our state of the art PlasmaPro 100 Cobra ICP etch system. We are delighted that our technology is assisting such a prestigious research centre achieve its fundamental research goals.” comments David Haynes, Global Field Sales Director at Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology.


    For further technical information, please contact Vincent Genova at Genova@cnf.cornell.edu. or Colin Welch at colin.welch@oxinst.com

  • As developments in Quantum Computing accelerate and the potential to increase the capabilities of tomorrow’s computers becomes a reality, leading research scientists will discuss the advanced research currently being undertaken at their key international establishments.

    The webinar comprises 3 talks:

    • Dr Edward Laird, Oxford University , “A valley-spin qubit in a carbon nanotube”

    • Dr. Alessandro Bruno, Technical University Delft, “Next-generation cQED processors with vertical I/O”,

    • Dr David Haynes/Dr John Burgoyne, Oxford Instruments, “Enabling processes and tools for research and fabrication of Qubits”

    “Carbon nanotubes are attractive materials for electron spin qubits because they can be made free of hyperfine dephasing and because spin-orbit interaction offers a route to all-electrical spin control, however, the existence of the valley degree of freedom and unscreened Coulomb interaction make the qubit readout complicated”, says speaker Dr Edward Laird, from Oxford University, “Using a new fabrication technique, we have demonstrated combined valley-spin Pauli blockade in a nanotube double quantum dot by exploiting the bandgap to increase the energy splitting between blocked and unblocked states.”

    In his talk, “Next-generation cQED processors with vertical I/O”, Dr Alessandro Bruno will explain how recent progress in the coherence times of superconducting quantum bits has indicated that the coherence threshold for the realization of error correcting schemes in a surface code universal-quantum-processor has been reached (at least in the single qubit case). However, scaling up the physical size of current generation’s quantum processors is a non-trivial technical task, especially when preserving the long coherence of the system is mandatory.”

    “Quantum technologies are poised to revolutionise our daily lives in the future, just as the semiconductor revolution did starting some fifty years ago.  The miniaturisation and portability which is provided by these new devices greatly increases the commercialisation of quantum technologies, from quantum computers to single photon detectors, taking advanced sensors and instruments from the physics lab into our everyday lives”, says Dr John Burgoyne from Oxford instruments, “We are poised to build on Oxford Instruments’ over 55 years unique experience in low and ultra low temperatures and high magnetic field technologies, and plasma technologies, to enable new innovative applications.”

    To view this and other Oxford Instruments webinars




  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems in Dresden, Germany recently installed a FlexAL system for plasma enhanced and thermal ALD from Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology in its Center for Nanoelectronic Technologies.

    The fields of use for the new tool are research and development on processes for metal oxides for ultra-thin integrated 3D capacitors, the development of new and unique metal ALD processes, and as a platform with a combinatorial screening concept including in-situ metrology and standardised tests for ALD/PEALD precursor development serving gas and chemical supplying companies. Additionally the FlexAL will serve as a 200mm PEALD tool for the MOEMS pilot line at the Fraunhofer IPMS.

    “The Center for Nanoelectronic Technologies has a long-term experience in atomic layer deposition (ALD), which is a sophisticated process where monolayer after monolayer is built up”, comments Dr. Romy Liske, Business Unit Manager of the FhG IPMS-CNT, “ALD is the process of choice whenever precise thickness and composition control of thin films in the nanometer range are required. This is particularly the case for semiconductor devices where the smallest dimensions of some tens of nanometer are fabricated, and an increasing demand is observed for high conformal thin ALD films. Consequently, the development of materials and compounds deposited by ALD increases impressively.”   

    After a rigid tendering process the Oxford Instruments FlexAL PEALD system was chosen because of its capabilities as a high end ALD research and development tool. The broad range of processes enabled by the FlexAL’s design allows the combination of plasma and thermal processes in one fully automated recipe as well as the flexible precursor cabinet which enables effective combinatorial precursor screening with in-situ metrology.


    “The proven performance and versatility of the Oxford Instruments FlexAL together with the availability of multiple room temperature variants of PEALD processes made it the ‘system of choice’ for the Center for Nanoelectronic Technologies. We are extremely pleased to be supplying this prestigious research institute with this,” says Dr. David Haynes, Sales, Service and Marketing Director, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology.



  • PlasmaPro 100 range
    Etch and deposition tools for wafer processing The PlasmaPro 100 range of etch and deposition tools can be fitted with a variety of substrate electrodes enabling processes over a wide temperature range. ...

  • The PlasmaPro 100 range of etch and deposition tools can be fitted with a variety of substrate electrodes enabling processes over a wide temperature range. It is ideally suited to a number of markets including MEMS, HBLED, Sensors, Failure Analysis, Power Semiconductors, Nanotechnology, Photovoltaics and multi user facilities.
  • FlexAL
    Remote plasma & thermal ALD in one flexible tool ...

  • Remote plasma & thermal ALD in one flexible tool
    The FlexAL® systems provide a new range of flexibility and capability in the engineering of nanoscale structures and devices by offering remote plasma atomic layer deposition (ALD) processes and thermal ALD within a single ALD system.


  • PlasmaPro 80
    PlasmaPro 80 offers versatile plasma etch and deposition solutions on one platform with convenient open loading....

  • This compact, smallfootprint system is easy to site and easy to use, with no compromise on process quality.
    The PlasmaPro 80 is ideally suited to R&D or small-scale production, and can process from the smallest wafer pieces to 200mm wafers. The open load design allows fast wafer loading and unloading, ideal for research, prototyping and low-volume production
    RIE, ICP, PECVD & ICPCVD modules available


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