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Quartz Crystal Microbalance


Low cost QCM quartz crystal microbalance for HV- and UHV applications. The MTM-10 quartz crystal monitor system is a small reliable system for measuring film thickness during deposition. It is intended for manual control of the deposition process. The controller is capable of storing physical properties for two different material and two tooling factors. Both the UHV and HV versions use the same 6 MHz oscillator and high accuracy quartz microbalance controller, offering a resolution of 0,1 nm (at 0.5 g/cm³ density x tooling factor 2). The update rate is 5 Hz. 

MTM-10 Quartz Microbalance with UHV head

The UHV compatible quartz crystal measurement head is mounted on a CF-35 (2.75"OD) rotatable flange and has easy to bend water cooling lines. This allows trouble free positioning of the head close to the sample. The flange includes the necessary coaxial feedthrough and water cooling lines.

Quartz Crystal Microbalance measurement head, 6MHz

Quartz Microbalance measurement head dimensions

Besides the buttons for density and tooling factors the MTM-10 quartz microbalance controller has a bright digital display, quartz crystal check and zeroing button on the front panel. On the rear panel is the quartz crystal input, analog output, sensitivity and recorder calibration switch.

MTM-10 quartz microbalance rear panel

The 6 MHz Oscillator is positioned directly onto the feedthrough of the flange to minimise cable length between head and oscillator.

Quartz Crystal Rate Monitors and Controllers

tectra provides a comprehensive range of quartz crystal microbalance monitors, controllers and accessories from Intellemetrics.


IL150 Quertz Microbalance

IL150 Quartz Crystal Growth Rate Monitor 

The IL150 Quartz Crystal Growth Rate Monitor is an eight layer monitor that can interface to two sensor heads and provides RS232 communication. Resolution is 0.1nm for most of the materials and the unit is extremely robust making it ideal for sputter applications. Thickness and rate are calculated from user supplied data on density and acoustic impedance of the film material. Data for up to eight materials is stored in non volatile memory.

Two sensor heads can be attached to the unit and used either as back-up or, alternatively, as the primary sensor for the particular film being deposited. The user can also specify a tooling factor to compensate for differences in detector/substrate geometry.

Deposition may be automatically terminated at a specified thickness by remote operation of a shutter.

A particular feature of the IL150 Quartz Crystal Growth Rate Monitor is that it is capable of displaying both positive and negative shifts. This enables the instrument to be used in certain etching operations and also allows the operator to observe and therefore compensate for flash-heating effects.

Specifications of IL150 quartz crystal rate monitor:
Displays for thickness and deposition rates:  4 digit, 0.5"LED's
Thickness Range: 0.0 nm to 999.9 microns
Thickness Resolution: 0.1nm
Rate of Deposition Range: 0.0 nm/s to 999.9 nm/s (negative signs indicates
negative deposition rate, i.e. when etching
Shutter Closure: Predictive termination using current rate and last
thickness measured
Film parameters recordable in memory:
Density: 0.1 to 99.9 g/cm3
Acoustic Impedance: 1.0 to 99.9 * 10 (power 5) g/cm3
Terminal Thickness: 0.1 nm to 999.9 microns
Tooling Factor (for each sensor head): 0.01 to 99.9
Crystal use: Displayed as kHz below 6 MHz
Shutter relay contact rating: 2 A, 250 V, AC or DC
Analog output of thickness or rate: 0 - 1 V
Size: 210 mm wide, 70 mm high plus 16 mm feet, 260 mm deep.
Rack mounting panel is 2U high * 1/2 19" space wide,

allowing one or two units to be mounted side by side.


IL820 Quartz Crystal Growth Rate Controller

Flexibility in Process Programming

IL820 Quartz Microbalance

The IL820 quartz crystal process controller is different. As a next generation controller it meets the needs of sophisticated designs developed to optimize the performance of single and multi-layer thin film structures.

The process profile is totally flexible, both hardware and software handshakes allow communication between instruments at a high level, the control performance and resolution of the instrument set new standards and of course the display format includes real time graphics.

Increasingly, materials technology requires the production of multicomponent alloy or co-deposited compound thin films. This demands not only flexibility of process profile, but very sophisticated communications between individual controllers.

Within the IL820 this synchronization is achieved through commands embedded at any point in the process. These commands can be either in hardware (through the input/output plug-in board) or in software (through the RS232 or IEEE options).

The fundamental action of the IL820 controller is to run a PROCESS. A PROCESS consists of up to 30 steps, each of which can consist of an individual action programmed using a two letter mnemonic.

The IL820 quartz crystal process controller is a fully featured rate controller meeting the most demanding of today's thin film deposition needs. The instrument has been tested against instruments five times its price and outperforms all of them on rate control - and we can prove it.. The unit features a comprehensive sequencing suite allowing multi-layer deposition with full support for loop operations. The IL820 is different from any other thin film deposition controller in that the process profile is totally flexible. Both hardware and software handshakes are supported and allow communication between instruments at a high level.

The resolution of the instrument sets new standards (better than 0.001nm/s for Copper). The unit is programmed using any combination of two letter mnemonics such as 'PR' for power ramp or 'WT' for wait and 9 Materials and 9 Processes can then be repeated in any order within a 99 position sequence. Loops both within the sequence and within the process itself are fully supported. In spite of the units' clever features the core function is that of a quartz crystal controller and it is the quality of this key capability that has made the unit indispensable at demanding installations around the world. One example are High Tc superconducting films where the IL820 has achieved rate control for Yttrium at 0.02 nm/s with a precision of 0.002 nm/s. Long term drift in control was less than 1%.

...and Software

Intellemetrics makes available its sophisticated communication commands to its customers allowing users to completely integrate the unit's into complex deposition tools. Alternatively we have a software product "800-LINK" which is capable of storing substantial numbers of file (limited only by hard disk capacity) using familiar terms and then down-line loading this information and running up to 4 sources at a time.

Please contact our Sales team for a quotation.

Detailed Specification of Quartz Crystal Microbalance controller:

High contrast supertwist backlit LCD
Fully flexible process of 30 steps. 9 processes stored locally.
Data for 9 materials is stored locally in the IL820.
The IL820 operates a 99 position sequence with support for repetitive structures within that sequence using DO LOOP commands.

Special Functions:
elapsed process time and step time.
Crystal Fail:  
switch to backup or complete on time/power
Maximum Power:  
stop or continue
Rate Fail:  
stop or continue
simulates complete deposition including I/O
fully programmable for any event that can be associated with outputs at executive level

Control Inputs & Outputs:
Sensor inputs:  
primary and backup or multiple sensor head.
Source control:  
voltage selectable 0 to (+-) 5V, 0 to (+-)10V. Single source control for IL820.
Shutter Outputs:  
2 shutters and crystal changeover switch.
Remote Input:  
increment/decrement source power, stop/start process.
Source control loop parameters:  
2 sets per material including impulse response data and minimum/maximum permitted power.

Resolution: Determined by tooling factor, density and sampling frequency. For Copper at unity tooling factor a rate resolution of 0.001nm/s can be obtained with the IL820.
Input/Output Option: 8 relay outputs
1 analogue output
8 opto-isolated inputs
1 analogue input
RS323 Option: 2 modes - process or black box software or hardware handshake. 44 English language commands.
IEEE Option:
2 modes - process or black box. 44 English language commands.
Power Requirements:
90/250 V, 50 or 60 Hz, 50VA
Operating Temperature:
308 x 220 x 90mm
Sampling Rate:
Adjustable between 0.5Hz and 5Hz



Link to: Intellemetrics

Quick links to other major tectra products:

Electron Beam Evaporator - 4-pocket e-beam evaporator - Plasma Source - Atomic Hydrogen SourceSputter Gun - Mini-Coater Deposition System - Sputter-Coater

  contact : Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Gati
tectra GmbH, D-60323 Frankfurt, Reuterweg 65,
phone: Germany +49 -(0) 69 - 72 00 40,
fax: Germany +49 -(0) 69 - 72 04 00
  last update: 3.11.06