Table of Contents

  1. Plasma Aided Manufacturing and its Applications
  2. The Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing
  3. Laboratory and Office Facilities
  4. Faculty, Staff and Student Involvement
  5. Industrial Collaboration/Technology Transfer
  6. Manufacturing using Plasmas
  7. Description of Research Areas

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Plasma-aided manufacturing, defined as the use of partially ionized gases

in the manufacturing process, is finding a rapidly expanding number of

applications in industry. These include modifications of solid surfaces

and of gases. Plasma-aided manufacturing has direct applications in

semiconductor fabrication, materials synthesis, welding, lighting,

polymers, waste removal, high-performance ceramics, and numerous other

items in both high-technology and the more "traditional" manufacturing

processes. It provides and/or improves one or more steps in the

manufacture of a growing variety of products ranging from low to very high

value-added products. In some cases, such as semiconductor fabrication and

in the deposition of certain polymers, plasmas provide the only technique

that can be used. In other applications, plasmas provide a more cost

effective or a more environmentally benign alternative to other competing


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The Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing (C-PAM) began independent

operation in 1998 with research activities at both the University of

Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota. C-PAM replaced the

Engineering Research Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing, which was

established in 1988 with a grant from the National Science Foundation as

its primary support. C-PAM brings experts from academic and industrial

communities together with state-of-the-art equipment to further the

understanding and expand the applications of plasma-aided manufacturing.

The Center has been organized to cover the full range of plasma techniques

currently employed in industry and is well positioned to address, improve

and adapt new techniques as they are developed.

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Experiments at C-PAM are located in newly remodeled space totaling

approximately 8,750 square feet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and

5,100 square feet at the University of Minnesota. Central facilities

include offices and a large lab complex that contains a number of different

plasma-etching and deposition reactors. Support in Diagnostics, Theory and

Modeling, and Technical Support, occupy spaces that adjoin the laboratory.

Research on plasma modification of materials takes place in an adjacent

laboratory specifically designed for the special requirements of the

processing system. Plasma spraying and thermal plasma chemical vapor

deposition (TPCVD) experiments are performed in well-equipped laboratories

at the University of Minnesota.

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The Center is an interdisciplinary team with contributors from ten

engineering and science disciplines of international stature at the

University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota: plasmas,

materials, microelectronics, chemistry, forestry, physics, statistics,

textiles, quality and productivity improvement, and manufacturing systems.

Achieving full coverage of the broad field required combining expertise

from both Wisconsin and Minnesota. There are two modes of research. One

mode of projects helps industry to solve current problems, to improve

existing products or develop new products. The other mode consists of

projects aimed at improved understanding of the physics, chemistry, and

material science of processes or plasma sources. This is aimed at

industrial needs of the future and is very suited to students' theses.

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Faculty/Staff Listings




The Wisconsin Plasma Processing and Technology Research Consortium (WISPP)

is the vehicle through which participating institutions interact with the

Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing. C-PAM is dedicated to working on

research issues of concern to its industrial partners and U.S. industry.



Advantages of being an Industrial Member

As a member of C-PAM, an industrial member has the right and opportunity

(a) to provide input to the selection of the priorities of the research

performed within the C-PAM through an annual evaluationof all research

projects; (b) to influence the direction of individual research projects

through communication with individual investigators or thrust area leaders;

(c) to make use of the C-PAM facilities and personnel expertise by

sponsoring specific research projects of any size to be pursued within the

C-PAM with objectives defined by the company; (d) to have personnel of

their own company make use of specific C-PAM facilities for an

investigation of limited scope, with C-PAM staff providing assistance for

the set-up of the experiment; only operating expense must be carried by the

company; (e) to obtain technical information before it is published through

attendance of C-PAM organized meetings; (f) to attend workshops organized

by C-PAM on specific topics of interest to the member companies; (g) to

obtain the C-PAM Annual Report describing the activities of C-PAM, and on

request video tapes of the C-PAM seminar series, which are normally not

available to non-members; (h) the opportunity to identify students for

internship positions.; (i) perhaps the most important advantage of

membership is the opportunity to work with students and identify future

employees in the beginning of their careers.

Confidentiality information

All C-PAM employees have been made aware of the following proprietary information policy: The Center interacts with a variety of companies, some of whom are competitors of one another. Companies provide unrestricted support to the center and/or restricted support for particular company sponsored projects. The latter often involves information, materials and techniques which the industrial partners of the center regard as confidential. In some cases the companies may even regard their membership in the center as being confidential.

It is critical and necessary that all participants in the center respect the confidentiality of our industrial partners. To this end, no material relating to industrial partners should be shared with anyone outside the center. The only exception is material specifically authorized by individual industrial partners to be made available to the public. All C-PAM internal documents and external communications relating to industrial partners should be regarded as confidential.


How to become an Industrial Member

A Company can become a member of C-PAM by providing annual support in the form of one of the following:
(a) payment of a $20,000 fee to C-PAM for unrestricted use by the center;
(b) support for a specific research project in the amount of $45,000 or more with objectives determined by the company and pursued within C-PAM;
(c) a grant in the amount of $45,000 for unrestricted use by a specific investigator associated with C-PAM or Fellowship support for graduate students, as long as the grant is used for supporting research performed within the center;
(d) a donation of equipment with the value of $45,000 or more which can be used by C-PAM investigators:
(e) a combination of a specific research project, an unrestricted grant to a specific investigator associated with C-PAM, or an equipment donation, in the total value to C-PAM of $45,000.
(f) For companies with earnings less than $20 Million per year the fee is payment of a $5,000 fee plus an amount equal or larger than 0.075% of the annual sales of the company.

Multiple year memberships will be granted for support in multiples of the amounts listed above in any of the payment categories.

A company membership is valid for N years, where N is an integer greater than or equal to 1, depending on the number of year payments made by the company on joining (or rejoining). Membership begins on the date on which payment (or equipment) is received by C-PAM. After N years are completed, a company will be granted a grace period of up to six months to arrange for continued membership. During the grace period, the company will still have the rights of a member.



Multiple year memberships will be granted for support in multiples of the amounts listed above in any of the payment categories.

A company membership is valid for N years, where N is an integer greater

than or equal to 1, depending on the number of year payments made by the

company on joining (or rejoining). Membership begins on the date on which

payment (or equipment) is received by C-PAM. After N years are completed,

a company will be granted a grace period of up to six months to arrange for

continued membership. During the grace period, the company will still have

the rights of a member.

"ABOUT" Table of Contents




When plasmas are utilized in manufacturing, the application and character

of the process involved are governed by the operating pressure of the

system. The research areas of C-PAM span a progressive range of operating

pressures from below 10-4 Torr to greater than atmospheric pressure. The

figure at the right displays the types of processes used in manufacturing

as a function of the operating pressure.


At low pressures, physical rather than chemical effects dominate. Such is

the case in ion implantation from plasmas and plasma sputtering of

materials. As the pressure increases, chemical effects become more

significant, as in the area of plasma etching for microelectronics.


At higher pressures, as in plasma deposition and polymerization,

deposition effects begin to prevail. At the highest pressure range, used

in thermal plasma spraying, the plasma tends to be utilized primarily as a

heat (thermal) source. But it is also employed in surface modification

(both physical and chemical) using Corona sources.


C-PAM has effectively incorporated into its research the complete range of

pressure used in plasma-aided manufacturing. Across theassorted projects

and research groups, many of the same technical questions can arise. For

example, each group needs to know the gas and surface temperatures as well

as the densities and energies of the various species making up the plasma,

such as electrons, ions and free radicals. To help address some of these

common issues and to provide an interconnection across the research areas,

C-PAM has established two support staff positions in the areas of Plasma

Diagnostics and Theory and Modeling.


When an object is placed in a plasma, a number of processes occur

simultaneously. These include implantation, where particles that are

accelerated through the plasma embed themselves beneath the surface of the

material; sputtering, where the plasma physically removes atoms from the

surface; deposition, where plasma particles chemically bond with the

surface; and etching where plasma particles bond to the surface atoms and

produce a volatile compound. C-PAM's approach involves the

characterization and control of plasma conditions so as to optimize the

desired process while minimizing the effects of undesired processes.

Characterization takes advantage of an extensive infrastructure in plasma

gas phase diagnostics.

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Research in the Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing spans a wide range

of plasma operating conditions. Research areas are:

  1. Thick Film Deposition
  2. Thin Film Deposition
  3. Plasma Source Ion Implantation
  4. Plasma Etching

In addition,

C-PAM has strong supporting work in Plasma Diagnostics and Theory and

Modeling. Direction of individual projects is determined with input from

C-PAM's various industrial partners. The research must be

cross-disciplinary and have a well-defined goal aimed at improving

industrial competitiveness.




Theory and Modeling Group

The theory and modeling group of the Center for Plasma Aided Manufacturing

provides a set of tools for simulation and interpretation of plasma and

semiconductor behavior. These tools have been developed to be accurate and

applicable across a very wide range of physical situations. An extremely

flexible approach to numerical solution of partial differential equations,

which has been used extensively for sophisticated plasma and semiconductor

modeling, is described and software made available at our website clerc.engr.wisc.edu

 and links from that site.

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