Engineered For Molecular Precision

Aston leadership in

Lifetime, Accuracy, Sensitivity, Stability & Real-time Data

for Semiconductors Process Control


Aston provides real-time process control for semiconductor applications and is the ultimate solution for CVD, ALD, Etch, ALE and chamber matching in high volume manufacturing environments

Aston represents a major evolution in metrology for semiconductor processes. Built from the ground up as a robust molecular sensor for the semiconductor industry, Aston is resistant to corrosive gases, excessive particle deposition and gaseous contaminant condensation, with or without a plasma present. A versatile total chamber solution for real time in-situ monitoring of precursors, reactants and byproducts during various process steps.

Aston is ideally suited to endpoint detection challenges for small open area <1% and high aspect ratio (>40:1) processes used in 3D-NAND, DRAM and Gate-All-Around technologies.

CVD, ALD, Etch & ALE

Selective processing required for Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistors and layered memories like 3D-NAND

Metrology of structures beyond line-of-sight that are impossible to manufacture reliably

No plasma, no problem! Unlike OES (optical emission spectroscopy) no plasma required

High sensitivity for low Open Area (OA), 0.3%, and High Aspect Ratio HAR) makes Aston a perfect tool for process monitoring in 3D structures

Chamber Management: Cleaning, Seasoning, Fingerprinting & Matching

Quantify contamination, gas impurities & chemistry inside the process chamber with ppb sensitivity

Chamber clean end point detection, fingerprinting & seasoning (matching) within <1σ of a golden chamber

Accurate reactant partial pressures for CVD/ALD/ALE; critical for copy exact process duplication

Aston: The most durable, accurate, cost-effective and hassle-free solution for semiconductor process metrology and control

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Resistant to corrosive process gases

The reactivity of the corrosive gases like CF4, SF6, CHF3, C4F8, and chlorine-based Cl2, BCl3, CCl4, could severely limit the sensors ionizer lifetime. Additionally, deposition of particles and vapor contaminants from TEOS (CVD) can also affect the sensor performance. Unlike RGAs, Aston is equipped with a µPlasma ionizer preventing damage from corrosive gases to the sensor. Additionally, the Aston ReGEN™ self-cleaning mode of operation utilizes the chamber clean gases such as NF3 and CF4 to remove the particle build-up affecting the sensor sensitivity, dramatically reducing maintenance, and extending up-time and throughput.

Get real data in real-time

Aston delivers highly accurate measurements with sensitivity down to ppb levels, long term stability, high resolution and speed of measurement over a mass range of 2 to 350 amu due to its innovative electronics and signal processing capability. Aston’s fast quantitative molecular scans allow for real-time process control optimization. With its cloud-connected software, you can leverage the data analytics for unparalleled process insight for machine learning applications.

Highly accurate hyperbolic quadrupole sensor

The miniature HyperQuad sensor is outfitted with a conventional electron impact ionizer (EI), intended for operation at baseline pressures and calibration. The analytical stage of the HyperQuad sensor is a quadrupole using µm-level accurate hyperbolic electrodes. Driven by highly linear RF circuitry, dual detector technology (Faraday Cup and Secondary Electron Multiplier (SEM) detectors) produces superior analytical performance. The SEM gives the Aston the much higher sensitivity down to 10 ppb for processes requiring extreme sensitivity.

Production integration ready

Ethercat and high-speed interfaces are built into Aston. Protocol options include Ethercat, Modbus & Command Line Interface. Aston is interfaced to the process tool via a built-in PLC module with digital & analog IOs. Data collection over Ethercat enables correlating chemistry data with production run data & provides advanced alarm capabilities. The small footprint, integrated PLC & standard interfaces allow for on-chamber full integration to the process equipment control system.

AVC (Automatic Vacuum Controller) option

An optional pressure-based automatic vacuum controller can be fitted to accurately regulate the gas flow into the µPlasma ionizer and when process pressure excursions occur. Pressure management in processes using fast response valves allows for consistent and high throughput results.

Aston - Robust Molecular In-Situ Sensor for Semiconductor Applications


410 x 297 x 340 mm


13 Kg


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Robust Molecular Sensor

Work without process plasma: ideal for selective processing.

Chamber management & process analytics in one tool.

Virtually maintenance free relative to RGA tools for longer uptime and higher throughput.

Traditional Metrology
OES and RGA Limitations

OES: Poor performance in low Signal-to-Noise applications. Needs a plasma and clean chamber window. Not Quantitative.

RGA: Electron impact ionizer has approx 100x shorter life time than Aston μPlasma.

  Aston Traditional Metrology
Metal Etch EPD OES: Reactants only
RGA: Limited ionizer lifetime
Dielectric Etch EPD OES: OA limitation
RGA: Limited ionizer lifetime
CVD EPD Yes Including layer-to-layer transition end point detection OES: No (plasma needed)
RGA: Particulate contamination
Chamber Clean EPD OES: Yes.
RGA: Limited ionizer lifetime
Chamber Fingerprinting & Matching OES: No (plasma needed)
RGA: Limited Sensitivity and Accuracy
Etch Open Area at HAR 0.30% OES: 5%-10%. Limited Sensitivity
RGA: Limited ionizer lifetime
RGA: Limited ionizer lifetime