Plasma enhanced CVD systems, like LPCVD systems, began as batch processors for loads of up to 100 wafers at a time. The key advantages sought in the use of PECVD vs. LPCVD
were the ability to reduce process temperatures while maintaining or increasing deposition rates. As device geometries grew ever smaller, limiting time-at-temperature became more important in maintaining the material properties and electrical characteristics of the components already in place on partially fabricated devices. As PECVD processes matured, other advantages such as the ability to manipulate thin film material and conformational properties became apparent. The early commercial configurations for PECVD processing were derived from LPCVD technology of the time, with the PECVD process performed in an evacuated (2-10 Torr) hot-wall tube reactor environment (Figure 1). These systems exhibited similar failings to hot wall LPCVD and modern PECVD processing migrated to single wafer cluster tool environments with the advent of VLSI and ULSI processing.