Release of the MICROPOLE System QL Series Quadrupole Mass Analyzer

|   Press Release

Precise Management and Control of Vacuum Chamber Conditions Contributing to More Efficient Semiconductor Production

[Kyoto, Japan] - HORIBA has developed a new MICROPOLE System QL Series Quadrupole Mass Analyzer model ideal for monitoring gas components in vacuum chambers used in semiconductor manufacturing processes. This system improves the yield rate and contributes to production efficiency of semiconductors.


[MICROPOLE System Overview]

The feature that makes the MICROPOLE system unique is the MICROPOLE Analyzer (MPA); a grouping of nine quadrupoles that takes full advantage of ultraprecision optical etching processing technology and glass/metal joint technology. The development of the MPA has enabled the creation of the world's smallest residual gas analyzer, while offering the same or better sensitivity as conventional, larger mass spectrometers. The analyzer is a plug-in unit. It features a sensor unit that has already been calibrated for partial pressure and offers absolute total and partial pressure measurement.


[Product Features of QL series]

■One of the world’s smallest mass analyzers*1
The new mass analyzer comes equipped with all of the necessary functions in a compact body. This system also realizes analyses with no differential pumping system even in the medium vacuum regions above 0.1 Pa, which is suitable for integration right into mass production equipment.

■Benefits compared to conventional MICROPOLE system

  • Doubles the scanning rate of conventional models and enables settings suitable for each analysis environment
    The new analyzer and controller design allows users to set the scanning rate to arbitrarily between 50 to 6,400 milliseconds for each mass-to-change ratio*2.
  • Revises the sensor calibration method to cut the sensitivity variations between sensors almost in half compared to conventional models
  • Adds an arbitrary analog input-output function in addition to RS-485 communication*3
    The new system easily mounts directly to manufacturing equipment.

■Size: Quadrupole sensor[Total length: 35-50 mm; Weight: 50-70 g], Analyzer/controller[Total length: 150 mm; Weight: 575 g]

*1 Based on internal research (as of December 2022)
*2 Dimensionless quantity formed by dividing the ratio of the mass of an ion to the unified atomic mass unit; value used on the horizontal mass spectrum axis of a mass analysis
*3 One of the serial communication standards for data transfer between digital devices


Manufacturing processes are becoming more complex due to greater refinement and three-dimensional integration of semiconductors as well as other advancements made through technical innovations. In turn, the management and control requirement standards necessary to stably supply high-quality semiconductors has also increased. Therein, recent leading-edge deposition and etching processes have required not only more precise and higher speed fluid control but also meticulous management of vacuum conditions before these processes because trace amounts of residual gas affect the process performances.

Kazushi Sasakura, who is a head of the MICROPOLE QL series development, explains, “This series of MICROPOLE systems is used to measure the partial pressure of residual gases in a chamber. These analyzers consist of a new control design and a quadrupole sensor with a revised calibration method. The new system in this lineup not only adopts the distinct features of our conventional MICROPOLE systems, such as one of the world’s most compact designs, operation in medium vacuum regions free of a differential pumping system, and quadrupole sensors pre-tuned to allow direct interchangeability by the user themselves, but also realizes a better scanning rate and lower sensitivity variations between sensors. In processes other than film-forming, these systems are becoming even more important for analyzing vacuum chamber conditions. I am confident the MICROPOLE System QL Series Quadrupole Mass Analyzer will contribute to more efficient production of semiconductors throughout all of the manufacturing processes.”

Monitoring the residual gases in the sputtering process through the production of semiconductors is vital because oxygen and moisture left in a chamber oxides metal targets and metal sputtering particles from the target in the chamber. The control of any oxidation on the surface of these metal targets is important in metal oxide deposition processes. As semiconductor manufacturing becomes even more complex in recent years, measuring the quality of vacuum plays a more important role even other than sputtering processes. The release of the MICROPOLE System QL series boasting a new analyzer and controller design responds to the needs for more diverse control items and higher analysis accuracy.