Press Release


The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS has placed an order with VON ARDENNE for a new cluster sputter system CS400S for the deposition of thin films. The investment is part of the extension of the clean room of the Dresden-based institute to accommodate the 200 millimeter wafer technology. By installing the CS400S, Fraunhofer IPMS and VON ARDENNE seek to advance the development and production of highly reflective layer systems for micro(opto)electromechanical systems, the so-called MEMS and MOEMS. The MEMS that will be produced on the system are, for instance, micromirror arrays that will be used for semiconductor lithography and scanner mirrors, which are tailored for industrial applications.

This CS400S is one of the largest cluster systems that VON ARDENNE has built so far. It consists of two magazine load lock chambers, one pre-treatment chamber and five process chambers. The chambers are grouped around a central handling unit with an integrated alignment station. The cluster design of the system enables the sequential in situ deposition of several layers, without the necessity to remove the substrate from the vacuum.

VON ARDENNE has managed to prevail against some renowned competitors during the bidding process. “Two factors were critical for our decision”, said Dr. Matthias Schulze, head of the engineering department at Fraunhofer IPMS. “On the one hand, we are already using VON ARDENNE equipment for the coating of 150 millimeter wafers. Given the many years of good cooperation and shared experiences, we expect the CS400S to be an excellent system. On the other hand, this tool offers the greatest flexibility for the development of new processes for MEMS and MOEMS applications”, he continued. “The new machine platform combined with the strategic partnership with VON ARDENNE are key success factors for the sustainable expansion of our R&D and pilot fabrication activities”, said Prof. Dr. Harald Schenk, director of the Fraunhofer IPMS.

The high flexibility of the process modules is one of the benefits of the system. The chambers can be used for DC, pulsed DC and RF sputtering processes to achieve the best layer properties for MEMS. The VON ARDENNE process chambers ensure that the process is stabilized quickly during the use of reactive sputtering methods. In order to maintain the stability of the processes in the long run and to achieve a high layer homogeneity, the target-to-substrate distance can be adjusted in a wide range. The PID sputtering pressure control system is another feature of the CS400S that ensures high-quality layers.

Fraunhofer IPMS and VON ARDENNE plan to establish a close cooperation so that both parties can develop more applications for industrial use and make them marketable. This can either be done in cooperation with each other or together with customers. Thanks to the expertise of both partners and the flexibility of the sputter system, it will be easy to adjust it to new requirements.

“Our cooperation with the Fraunhofer IPMS is very important for VON ARDENNE”, said Thomas Krischke, the CEO of the company. “Fraunhofer IPMS is a worldwide leading institution in developing MEMS and will help us open new business areas in the semiconductor industry.”

VON ARDENNE cluster sputter system CS400S
Image credits: © VON ARDENNE Corporate Archive


The Fraunhofer Institue for Photonic Microsystems IPMS is based in Dresden and is a research and service partner in the field of optical sensors and actuators, ASICs, microsystems (MEMS/ MOEMS) and nanoelectronics.

The Fraunhofer IPMS is one of 67 independent institutions of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a leading association for the promotion of applied science. With its 280 employees, the Fraunhofer IPMS is working on projects that directly benefit the economy and the society and cooperates with industrial companies, service providers and the public sector. The Fraunhofer IPMS is part of the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics (German abbreviation: VμE) and is engaged in various regional and international microelectronics, nanoelectronics and microsystem technology networks.

The Fraunhofer IPMS uses its uses its own 15,000 ft² clean room (ISO 14644-1 class 4) to work on research and development projects in the field of microelectronics and microsystem technology. Beyond that, it offers services for selected process steps and process modules and entire technologies that are based on the expertise of the institute in surface and bulk MEMS technologies. In combination with the HV-CMOS process, the Fraunhofer IPMS produces integrated actuator systems.


VON ARDENNE develops and manufactures equipment for industrial coatings on materials such as glass, wafers, metal strip and polymer films. These coatings give the surfaces new functional properties and can be between one nanometer and a few micrometers thin, depending on the application. The coated materials are the basis for products such as architectural glass, solar modules or touch screens.

VON ARDENNE is a leading provider of architectural glass coating equipment and coating systems for thin-film photovoltaics. The family-owned company with subsidiaries in China, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and the USA relies on customer proximity in order to offer ideal on-site service. VON ARDENNE equipment is in operation in more than 50 countries around the world.