The cleaning promoter is a disposable polymeric blend designed to protect the shields in the chambers of PVD deposition facilities. These shields are normally exposed to an unwanted flux of deposited materials, and the cleaning promoter prevents them from being oversprayed. It is provided as a liquid precursor that is easy to apply as a thin layer on top of the exposed surfaces, transitioning into a solid film after appropriate drying/baking. The promoter can be adopted directly to protect from oversprays static shields already installed in the chamber to ease the cleaning procedures. This layer can be safely dissolved in water once exhausted, thus releasing the absorbed deposited materials. This replaces the most common sandblasting or bead-blasting procedures. If the chamber is dedicated to a single material, the cleaning promoter alone can already improve the recovery process of wasted materials. Adopted together with the smart shield tool, it enables an easy recovery also from multi-material chambers. Compared with other processes, the material obtained after the cleaning of the screen is almost uncontaminated by other materials adopted in the chamber, nor by silicides that intervene in sand/bead blasting processes, thus retaining part of its market value as secondary raw material.
Targets mainly PVD chambers dedicated to a single material.
High purity of the materials recovered already after the shield cleaning step (up to 99.85%, potentially to be refined in further steps).
Compatible with high vacuum environments: TML > 0.2% (tested down to 10-5 mbar).
Easily applied via brush/airbrush as a liquid precursor.
Dramatic reduction in the material recovery cost (down to -70%).
Fast wet-cleaning process (down to -25% of traditional sandblasting for hard/thick coatings).
Water soluble: removal involves no aggressive solvents and can be potentially performed in-situ.
The cleaning promoter AGX-1 is a blend of polymers designed to match the requirements for high-vacuum applications, but at the same time easy to remove. The liquid precursor can be applied with a variety of techniques (airbrushing, dipping, …) in order to obtain a thin, uniform layer where metallic deposited materials are expected to have good adhesion (contact us for applications with other materials). Optimal performance is obtained via a hard baking phase of the applied sacrificial layer, targeting temperatures close to the effective operational temperatures. The cleaning promoter has been tested successfully up to 300 °C. Already during the hard baking phase, Total Mass Losses (TML) were measured as low as 0.2%, and further decrease for subsequent exposures to equivalent temperatures. The cleaning of the shields is achieved by wet-etching the sacrificial layer underneath: the current cleaning promoter adopted by MRS is soluble in water or weak alkaline solutions even after baking, thus removing the need for aggressive solvents that are common in the waste management industry.
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