ProtoFab Course 2: Thin Film Fabrication and Patterning

Event Details

Start Date
Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:00
End Date
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 14:00
CPI, National Printable Electronics Centre, The Neville Hamlin Building
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The fabrication of thin film devices is at the heart of modern microelectronics. CPI uses this technology, developed over decades, to fabricate flexible, conformal devices. The application of this technology and the associated production issues are the core of this course.

The course is hosted at CPI’s National Printable Electronics Centre, which is an open access pilot manufacturing facility. The hands-on training course will be run across a Friday and Saturday to maximise the time the attendees can spend using the production equipment. To further enable attendees to experience the variability of cleanroom processes in a risk-free setting, a digital-twin of CPI’s cleanroom equipment has been produced, which allows the user to run processes in a virtual reality setting.

This course combines a series of three virtual classrooms each looking at a different technique for the production of a thin film device, and a two day on-site practical experience. Hosted at CPI’s Printable Electronics Centre, this will offer hands-on experience of using the different tool sets employed to produce a thin film device, both in an actual cleanroom environment and a virtual immersive cleanroom experience. The course is delivered by experienced operators and technical experts and will also cover process development, scale up and troubleshooting.

Attendees will learn how to produce their own prototype thin film electronic device, making it ideal for early career researchers and engineers, or those wishing to understand more about thin film fabrication of electronic devices.

Highlights include the opportunities to:

  • Learn about different techniques used in the production of thin film devices
  • Recieve hands-on training with different equipment sets used in commercial thin film fabrication
  • Experience working in a cleanroom environment both in reality as well as in virtual space

Upon completion participants will be able to:

  • Identify and employ different techniques to produce thin film devices
  • Design and manufacture thin film devices
  • Identify and troubleshoot common problems in thin film device manufacture


Registration is now closed. To register your interest in participating in this course, please contact David Bird.

Course Structure

In this course, learning is split between the theory day and the practical sessions. The theory day will provide the background knowledge necessary to make the most of the hands on sessions. The whole course is structured to cover the elements needed to produce a patterned thin film device.

We also encourage attendees to tap into the knowledge and know-how’ our specialists have, as all sessions are designed to be interactive.

Virtual Classrooms

Virtual classrooms reduce the need to travel but still give the opportunity to speak directly with the trainers. Each session will last approximately one hour and will be delivered via our online learning portal.

Introduction to Thin Film Fabrication, Thin Film Basic Process Flow and PVD Sputter Deposition (1 hour 20 mins) – 19th of March 2018

This session will introduce thin film fabrication and how it can be applied to a wide range of industries. The basic process flow that will be used during the practical sessions to produce a thin film device. Finally this course will introduce the first of the production techniques (sputtering) which will be used to manufacture the thin film device.

Introduction to Photolithography (1 hour) 20th March 2018

This session will introduce the processing technique of photolithography. It will look at the theory behind the process, the equipment it uses, as well as covering process development, scale-up and troubleshooting.

Introduction to Etching – Wet and Plasma (1 hour) 21st of March 2018

This session will introduce the processing technique of etching, covering both plasma and wet etch. It will look at the theory behind the process, the equipment it uses, as well as cover process development, scale-up and troubleshooting.

Practical Course

After an initial site and cleanroom induction participants will work through a process to produce their own thin film electronic device and see how this production process could be scaled up to manufacturing volumes. These sessions will involve hands-on experience of the tool sets used in the cleanroom as well as a virtual experience of using the equipment.

Substrate Preparation

Participants will prepare a substrate on to which they will produce their thin film device. They will learn all they need to understand about why substrate preparation is important in a production environment, the quality issues associated with the substrate, and the reasons for them. It is an excellent opportunity to pick up some of the experience of our operators.

Sputter Coating

Attendees will have the opportunity to use the sputtering equipment on their own substrate and build on the learning from the virtual classroom session. Operators will give an overview of what is involved in sputtering and some of the issues that are encountered.


During this session groups will have the opportunity to use the tool sets which are used to perform a photolithography process. Trainers will give an overview of some of the common issues that may be encountered whilst using this production technique.


During this session groups will have the opportunity to use the tool sets which are used to implement an etching procedure on their own substrate. Experienced instructors will give an overview of the process involved, building on the virtual learning and highlight some of the problems commonly confronted during scale-up processing.

Virtual Cleanroom Experience

These sessions will involve an immersive virtual reality experience, looking at the tool sets, processes used and described in the virtual classrooms and hands-on training. Trainers will be available for follow-up question and answer session.

Participants will need to sign up for all the virtual classrooms in this series and one of the practical groups:

  • Introduction to Thin Film Fabrication, Thin Film Basic Process Flow and PVD Sputter Deposition
  • Introduction to Photolithography
  • Introduction to Etching – Wet and Plasma

To allow high quality training and sufficient individual time with the trainer, attendees will be split into four groups with staggered starts. These sessions will be held at the Printable Electronics Centre, Sedgefield. Please indicate the order of preference for each group on registration.