SVC TechCon2018

We are excited to announce our attendance at the 61st Annual Technical Conference at SVC TechCon 2018. This year we are looking forward to the latest innovations and trends in the vacuum coating industry. Come join us at booth 433 as it's an event not to miss.
#TechCon2018 #vacuumcoating #coatingtechnologies #measuringtheimpossible

The Journey: How plasma measurement became the cornerstone of Impedans

The evolution of plasma measurement tools
Scientists just assumed that plasma measurement was impossible, or at least unreliable, so forget it. The Scientific Community decided to solve this problem by producing a standard plasma chamber for experimental measurements and using reliable measurement of input parameters. We can call this the recipe based, copy exact approach. Back in 1990, my problem with this approach was that I was based in a laboratory in Ireland which had very poor research funding and I found it prohibitively expensive to reproduce the standard chamber. Click to read more...

Spring Series Case Study

Medical Device Manufacturing Case Study

Medical Device Manufacturing Case Study

How does a plasma measurement company contribute to a $400 billion medical device industry? Learn how Impedans improves the overall process of RF measurement to reduce product scrap in an industry that prevents, diagnoses and treats diseases and illnesses.

Plasma processing is used extensively in medical device manufacturing. Applications include the modifcation of surfaces (to improve adhesion or reduce friction), sterilization and bio-compatible coatings for implants. Impedans have assisted several multinational medical device manufacturers to implement plasma measurement solutions to improve process performance and reduce product scrap. We have developed several applications to detect RF related issues, such as arcing and equipment malfunction, which lead to poor tool performance and reduction in product yield. The main applications can be summarised as follows >>

New: Impedans TV | The Octiv™ Range

Impedans TV

Impedan's TV: The OCTIV™ | RANGE

For our latest video series we're shining a spotlight on our line of next generation RF sensors: The Octiv™ Range. In July we launched Octiv 2.0: a significant upgrade to the Octiv™ product range which provides a major improvement in performance in non-50 ohm environments. To achieve this, the calibration method has been redesigned and improved. Therefore, it is classified as a new product and existing Octiv™ models will be phased out. Existing Octiv™ customers, with compatible models, will be automatically upgraded to Octiv™ 2.0 during the next scheduled calibration.

To celebrate this, Impedans TV has produced a series of videos covering the Octiv hardware, software and demonstrating its abilities in frequency agility, waveform reconstruction and pulsed profile. Check out the first installment below and find the following parts at Impedans TV.

Introducing Impedans Case Study Series

Introducing Impedans Case Study Series

Case Study 1 - NASDAQ 100 Company Reduces Production Costs with Octiv VI Probe Technology

The first in our case Study Series examines how Impedans RF and Mechanical design teams aided a NASDAQ 100 Technology company, who needed to improve the performance and extend the lifetime of an aging fleet of plasma etching tools. Through the integration of Impedans Octiv Sensing Platform, this long-time Impedans client was able to reduce production costs and increase product throughput dramatically, and thus make substantial savings, directly as a result.

Introducing the Alfven | 100 RF Event Detector

Alvfen | 100 RF Event Detector from Impedans, prevent product scrap, reduce cost, detect arc events, network enabled

Impedans are proud to introduce the Alfven | 100 RF Event Detector.

The Alfven | 100™ RF Event Detector is designed to monitor short-lived, unexpected events in RF and plasma processes, that can cause product scrappage and significant cost to the manufacturer. 
Plasma processes, in semiconductor (and related industries), such as plasma etching, PVD and PECVD are susceptible to events such as arcs, instabilities and ignition phenomena. The Alfven | 100™ will detect these events and send real-time warnings to the operator to enable corrective action. 

More information can be found on the product page.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays From Impedans

Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays from all of us at Impedans. Our office is closed Monday 24th of December and business will resume as usual on Wednesday 2nd of January.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from Impedans

Wishing you a Happy Easter from all of us at Impedans. Our office is closed Monday 2nd of April for Easter holiday. Business will resume as usual on Tuesday 3rd of April.

Plasma Supervision with Mike Hopkins

Impedans founder presents at Plasma Supervision workshop.

Impedans founder and CEO, Mike Hopkins, is presenting a talk on VI Technology at the Plasma Supervision workshop during the (apc|m) Conference at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin on the 10th of April 2017. The European Advanced Process Control and Manufacturing (apc|m) Conference is directed to manufacturers, suppliers and scientific community of semiconductor, photovoltaic, LED, flat panel, MEMS, and other related industries. The topics are focused on current challenges and future needs of Advanced Process Control and Manufacturing Effectiveness.

More information can be found on the conference can be found here.

International Women's Day


Impedans are proud to support their female employees on International Women's Day and every other day..

IWD is a celebration of the achievements of women in all aspects of life. This day has been adopted to bring gender equality to the fore and to recognise the contribution of women in our society. There have been leaps and bounds but we're not there yet. Employers play a vital role in empowering women. At Impedans, flexible working hours are offered to their employees, helping working mums balance career and family goals. Getting the balance in teams is vital to the health of any organisation. #BeBoldForChange

Quantum Technology - Application Note QC02

Quantum Technology

Measurement of deposition rates and ion energy distributions using the Quantum system

Learn how metal deposition rates, ionization fraction and energy distribution of ions arriving at a substrate are measured in an asymmetric, bipolar, pulsed DC magnetron sputtering reactor.

Octiv VI Probe Technology - Industrial Communication Protocols

Octiv Ethernet Protocols

Industrial Communication Protocols

Learn about communication protocols and how the Industrial Octiv has been developed to enable fast, reliable, scalable, real-time communication of measurements through ethernet networks.  

Octiv VI Probe Technology - Technical Note Part II

Octiv VI Probe Technology - Standards of Calibration

Octiv VI Probe Technology - Voltage | Current | Phase | Impedance
Octiv VI Probe Technology - Standards of Calibration


This technical note describes the uncertainty in measurements and standards of calibration for Octiv VI Probe technology. High power radio-frequency (RF) voltage and current sensors need to be accurately calibrated to a traceable standard. Calibrating to high accuracy can be the most challenging aspect of high power, voltage-current sensor (VI probe) manufacture. This is due to the many sources of error in any calibration process. If the calibration is performed accurately and correctly, then most errors can be characterized and removed.

Learn more about our Octiv system here

GEC2016 - 69th Gaseous Electronics Conference RUB, Bochum

Impedans exhibiting at GEC2016, RUB, Bochum, October 2016

Octiv VI Technology - Technical note

Octiv VI Probe Technology - Theory of Operation

Octiv VI Probe Technology
Octiv VI Probe Technology - Voltage | Current | Phase | Impedance


This technical note describes the theory and architecture behind Octiv VI Probe technology. The Octiv VI probe is an advanced RF voltage and current sensor, which can provide real-time information on complex loads. Real-time information the Octiv provides includes voltage, current, phase, power and impedance on all harmonics of a chosen frequency simultaneously, as well as transmission line parameters such as forward power, reflected power, standing wave ratio (SWR) and reflection coefficient. The Octiv sensor was designed to meet the need for post-match voltage and current measurements in RF excited plasma processes.

Learn more about our Octiv system here

Vertex - the theory behind ion current as a function of angle

Ion angular distribution measurements with a planar retarding field analyser

Ion angle determination with current derivative
The Vertex Multi Sensor measures the ion energy distribution as a function of aspect ratio hitting a surface inside a plasma reactor from multiple locations to analyse the uniformity of ion interactions across a substrate.


In this application note, we present a novel method which can be applied to a planar retarding field energy analyser (RFEA) for the measurement of ion angular distributions. Ion energy and angular ion distributions play a critical role in plasma assisted etching and conformal deposition processes. Ion impact at wider angles may be required for better step coverage in certain sputter deposition and ion implantation processes while large angle ion impact can be detrimental to anisotropic etch processes. In the early 80’s, Stenzel et al 1, 2 developed a directional RFEA where particles are geometrically filtered through a micro-capillary plate prior to energy analysis. The high aspect ratio (AR) of the holes/channels in the plate allowed them to select particles within a geometric acceptance angle. The Vertex RFEA design has a variable AR, controlled using a potential difference between two grids (see application note VE02). A variable AR controls the ion angular spread passing through the sensor for detection. The Vertex product produces a plot of ion energy distribution versus AR.

Learn more about our Vertex system here

New Vertex application note

Ion energy and ion flux measurements through high-aspect ratio holes using the Vertex system

Vertex Multi Sensor
The Vertex Multi Sensor measures the ion energy distribution as a function of aspect ratio hitting a surface inside a plasma reactor from multiple locations to analyse the uniformity of ion interactions across a substrate.


High aspect ratio (AR) etching is a key process in integrated circuit (IC) fabrication. The manufacture of a 3D NAND memory stack requires structures with an AR > 50 to be created. The key challenge is to create bow-free, straight profiles with minimal twisting. Transport of ions and neutrals to the bottom of these structures can be limited by sidewall shadowing. In particular, ion bombardment of feature sidewalls complicates etching profile control while ion loss to the sidewall reduces ion flux to the bottom of the feature. Only ions with a relatively narrow angular spread, relative to normal incidence, will reach the bottom of high AR features. Ions are accelerated toward the substrate by the sheath electric field perpendicular to the substrate surface. However, ions have some thermal velocity when entering the sheath and therefore have an energy component parallel to the substrate surface. The ratio of the perpendicular to parallel components of the ion energy vector determines the angular distribution.

Learn more about our Vertex system here

Join us at IVC-20 Busan Korea, August 23-25

Visit Impedans at booth B-110 - IVC-20 BEXCO Center Busan, Korea, August 23-25

Drop by booth #B-110 to meet Impedans at the 20th International Vacuum Congress at the BEXCO Convention Center. We would be delighted to speak with you about your plasma measurement needs.

August 23 - 25, 2016
Busan Exhibition and Convention Center
55 APEC-ro, U-dong, Haeundae, Busan
Booth #B-110

Mike Hopkins and David Gahan graduate from ISE's leadership programme IPOready

Impedans graduate ISE's IPOready programme

HIPIMS 2016, Shailesh Sharma is presenting...

Shailesh Sharma is giving a talk at HIPIMs 2016, Thursday 30th June, 11:20am

Shailesh is presenting a talk on Thursday 30th June at 11:20am at this year's International Conference on Fundamentals and Industrial Applications of HIPIMS being held in Sheffield on 27-30 June 2016.

"Measurement of deposition rate, ionized flux fraction and ion energy distribution in a pulsed dc magnetron sputtering system using a retarding field analyzer with embedded quartz crystal microbalance. "

Learn more about our Quantum system by clicking here

Matching Network Efficiency

Matching Network Efficiency

Your company has paid a large sum of money for a piece of complex RF process equipment and your RF power supply is rated to 1% accuracy. That will give you great confidence that the process will be reliable and repeatable. 

However, if 10 – 50% of that accurate power is lost in the matching network does that change things?   Would you like to know how efficient your matching unit is? 

So, even if 50% of the power is lost in the matching unit; you can probably learn to live with that as long as it is the same every time, Right!  But, what if the match efficiency is not constant and changes every time you change the process gas flow, the gas type or the chamber pressure, that would not be so good, would it?

RF Matching Network Range

Step 1 - Connect an inline power meter, the Octiv Mono ( mono 1) to the output of a 50Ω load. We are going to measure the range with power applied so make sure the load can handle the power. The power meter is optional but it will be useful if you want to measure the Efficiency of the Network.

Matching Network Quality

The match unit or matching network is a key component in getting power from an RF power supply to a plasma. The output of the power supply has a typical impedance of 50 Ohm. To match this to a plasma or other dynamic load we need a matching network. The matching network plays two key roles i) it presents a reactive impedance equal and opposite to the load so that the reactive components cancel and ii) it matches the real resistance of the load to the 50 Ohms of the RF power supply.

Hot spots and flash points

Hot spots and flash points rf technology

We recently got a returned Octiv sensor with the connector melted and this reminded me of hotspots and flashpoints.

In the world of RF engineering transmissions lines are matched and current and voltage are uniform along the cable. In the plasma world transmission lines are used to carry power to the plasma. A matching network is used to match the power supply to the plasma but the connection, effectively a transmission line from the matching network to the plasma electrode is not matched. I am not an RF engineer but even a physicist knows that there is a reflected wave at the end of the unmatched transmission line.

AVS 62nd International Symposium and Exhibition

Meet Impedans at booth #737, AVS 62nd International Symposium and Exhibition

Drop by booth #737 to meet Impedans at the AVS 62nd International Symposium and Exhibition at the San Jose Convention Center this October. We would be delighted to speak with you about your plasma measurement needs.

October 18 - 23, 2015
San Jose Convention Center
San Jose, CA
Booth #737


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