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Fiber-optic Based Distributed Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy for Film Growth Monitoring

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0013241
Agency Tracking Number: 215593
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 05a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001164
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-02-17
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-11-16
Small Business Information
5000 College Avenue
College Park, MD 20740-3809
United States
DUNS: 826528809
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 George Atanasoff
 (301) 332-6167
Business Contact
 George Atanasoff
Title: Dr.
Phone: (301) 332-6167
Research Institution

X-ray optical components are required to perform a new level of material characterization at the nanometer scale and
are critically needed for the advancement of emerging nanotechnology and other cutting-edge applications.
Development of reflective and transmissive X-ray optics, able to reduce the spot size down to a diameter of few nm,
is a significant achievement that may spur new frontiers in nanotechnology, metamaterials, biology and medical
science and keep the US position of a global leader in cutting edge scientific research and development. However,
the manufacturing of multilayer Laue components for X-ray optics by physical vapor deposition (PVD) requires
unprecedented precision and accuracy and presents a significant process control challenge. Atomic Absorption
Spectroscopy (AAS) is a promising method for accurately determining the deposition rate and composition of the
deposited materials. Currently no AAS system provides the accuracy, portability and ease-of-use for adoption in the
manufacturing of X-ray optics. Multiple other new-generation thin film technologies require an urgent solution to the
same process control challenge.
In this SBIR Phase I project AccuStrata will create a novel AAS prototype, installable on a broad variety of PVD
systems for manufacturing of X-ray optics, to provide accurate and reliable deposition rate and film composition
measurements for dynamic feedback control. The AAS prototype system comprises two major parts a
reconfigurable hardware module located outside the PVD chamber with hallow cathode excitation sources, and a
portable fiber-optic-based distributed monitoring frame installed in the area surrounding the deposited substrate
inside the deposition chamber. The deposition area is monitored by several beams simultaneously to derive
information about the atomic distribution over the entire substrate area for precise deposition rate monitoring. The
prefabricated and optically aligned frame structure, installed inside the deposition chamber, eliminates errors
associated with window deposition, changes in chamber pressure, and other process factors. The unique shielding
design will minimize contamination of the optics resulting in very low long-term drift.
During Phase I the prototype system will measure the atomic flux density in a configuration of 3 optical beams near
the substrate and provide real-time information about the deposition rate and its fluctuation. The unique fiber optic
design provides for superior protection from undesired deposition on the system components and allows easy
configurability, facilitating subsequent commercialization in other fields where PVD processes are involved (optics,
semiconductor, aerospace, medical, automotive, etc.). Based on its existing software platform, AccuStrata will
develop user-friendly software for real-time process analysis, which will further be developed during subsequent
Phase II, to create a close-loop in-situ AAS process control system. The system can be easily expanded to more
complex beam configurations, such as of 3x3 mesh. It will have the capability to monitor two material concentrations
simultaneously and deploy multiple fiber-coupled hollow-cathode light sources as needed for various materials
required for manufacturing of X-ray optics.
Keywords: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, Physical Vapor Deposition, Control Systems, Fiber Optics
Summary for Members of Congress: New generation process control is needed for better high-tech manufacturing
and faster adoption of cutting edge technologies in our daily life. AccuStrata will develop a novel process control
system based on real-time atomic absorption spectroscopy, needed for control of thin film manufacturing processes
used in today's most technologically advanced products.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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