New Industry Products

Advanced Energy Debuts Power Delivery Platform For Industrial Plasma Applications

May 05, 2022 by Gary Elinoff

The new power delivery solution, coined ALTA, combines digitally-controlled RF power supplies with an accurate digital impedance matching network.

With rapid plasma transitions growing more frequent in thin-film manufacturing, Advanced Energy this Monday unveiled its ALTA platform, an RF power delivery solution designed to provide maximum precision and control in industrial plasma applications, primarily semiconductor manufacturing and flat panel display development.


Advanced Energy's new ALTA platform targets semiconductor manufacturing. Image used courtesy of Advanced Energy


The ALTA platform incorporates 13.56 MHz rack-mounted power supplies with power levels from 1.5 to 6 kW, in tandem with a 13.56 MHz tapped digital matching network. Each is optimized for plasma-based industrial processes requiring repeatedly precise power deliveries. 


The Power Supplies — Key Features 

Per Dhaval Dhayatkar, senior director of marketing at Advanced Energy’s Plasma Power Division, the company’s ALTA power supplies — of which there are two, the 1.5-3 kW ALTA 3013 and the 6 kW ALTA 6013 — are tailor-made to address thin-film manufacturers’ evolving needs. 

“As thin-film manufacturing technologies evolve and rapid plasma transitions become the norm, there is a growing demand for power solutions that combine precise RF control with dynamic response to rapid plasma changes,” Dhayatkar said. 

In response to that trend, he said, Advanced Energy has equipped ALTA supplies with frequency tuning, real-time power and impedance measurement, tight power regulation, arc management and phase synchronization. 


The ALTA 3013 (left) and ALTA 6013 (right). Images [modified] used courtesy of Advanced Energy


Those features are complemented by the supplies’ advanced digital architecture, which enables exceptionally precise process measurement and control, per Advanced Energy’s release. It also offers seamless system integration, the company said, with “state-of-the-art” communication interfaces, including EtherCAT and Profinet, in addition to RS-232, Ethernet, DeviceNet, and Profibus.

Through an easily adjusted tapped coil system, the device’s matching network also provides tuning versatility to accommodate a variety of impedance ranges. And even more importantly, these units’  repeatable response functionality minimizes power delivery deviations under a variety of operating conditions. 


Arc Management

With ALTA power systems, users can protect arc processes through Advanced Energy’s arc management technology, which the company says is fast and effective. That in hand, manufacturers will be able to reduce particle contamination, feature distortion, and equipment damage.

The technology also sports rapid output shutdown capability, extinguishing arc events to prevent process interruptions. Arc suppression can also be synchronized for multiple generators, the company says, ensuring top-notch arc control.


Power Impedance Measurement

Advanced Energy asserts that the ALTA platform offers power and impedance measurement that “rivals the accuracy of a Network Analyzer.” The units measure plasma characteristics in real-time and, with their high degree of sensitivity, are able to detect minute changes. This allows for power outputs that are pinpoint in their precision, the company says, and enables reliable process repeatability.


Frequency Tuning

The ALTA platform’s frequency tuning capabilities reduce tune time, enabling faster ignition and plasma stability. This can be seen in the chart below, where reflected power is shown as minimized roughly 150 µsec after plasma power set point change, per Advanced Energy’s ALTA datasheets.


ALTA frequency tuning. Screenshot used courtesy of Advanced Energy


Additional benefits include:

  • Excessive impedance shift prevention
  • Matching network adaptability
  • Settable tune thresholds and intelligent retuning technology
  • Repeatable power delivery and fast tuning during short process steps


Physical and Power Considerations

  • Input power options are 200, 400 and 480 VAC
  • Cooling is achieved via both air and water 
  • The units are available in 1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 kW versions.
    – The 1.5 and 3.0 kW versions measure 17.39” by 8.49” by 5.2”
    – The 6.0 kW version measures 23.06” x 16.93” by 5.2”



The ALTA platfrom directly targets semiconductor manufacturing and flat panel display development, but applications also include: Solar panel production, precision optics, automotive glass, PECVD, sputtering, pretreatment, and poewr supplies for RF ion source applications, such as ICP, IBS, and IAD. 


Feature image used courtesy of Advanced Energy