Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Engineering Physics and Physics
We have developed a simulation and laboratory exercise for an introductory nanotechnology course, that teaches students the method of RF sputter deposition for coating both metals and dielectric materials onto silicon wafers. Since the sputter system involves the rather complex structure of two-stage vacuum system including a diffusion pump, we have created a virtual reality (VR) simulation that reproduces the operating sequence of the system with high fidelity. As part of the laboratory we require students to perform the entire sequence of operation through the simulation, including the correct protocols for the pumping sequence as well as operation of the RF system, before they use the equipment for a real experiment. As a result the students feel more confident with the system when they actually encounter it and are much less likely to make mistakes which could damage the equipment. After sufficient training with the VR simulation the students complete a laboratory which requires them to complete fabrication of thin coatings of gold and of silicon dioxide, and to determine the thickness of the deposited films using profilometry and optical methods.
Sputter deposition methods, as well as two stage vacuum systems are ubiquitous in research and industry, and proper training in their use is essential for all students wanting to work in cleanroom and nanofabrication facilities. We discuss the details of the laboratory and the sputter deposition steps as well as to show results obtained by students who completed the exercises. We discuss the strengths that a virtual reality exercise brings to this laboratory, as well as challenges faced in the construction of our system, and student comments on the effectiveness of the exercise.
Weber, P., & Minaie, A., & Phan, A. (2020, June), Virtual Reality Simulation and Experiment for Sputter Deposition and Vacuum Training Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35488
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