MRC 943 Remanufactured, Re-Engineered Sputtering Systems: Semicore

Back in the 1970’s, Materials Research Corporation or MRC was a growing manufacturer of sputtering systems, and by the 1980’s had emerged as the number one PVD equipment supplier to the semiconductor industry.

With an installed base of tens of thousands of units have made these systems a mainstay of the thin film industry for decades. With the availability of parts, service and most importantly, proven processes that have stood the test of time, the MRC 943 is a popular workhorse. Yet these systems are flexible enough to develop new processes for today’s emerging technologies.

Chamber Model

Chamber Model

The MRC 943 is an extremely versatile, high throughput, load locked in-line sputtering system. Semicore is a worldwide leader of thin film deposition equipment and each aspect of these MRC 943 Systems have been fully re-engineered and upgraded to meet today’s demanding technology, machine safety and performance standards.

Widely used for a multitude of materials and compositions with RF, DC and Pulsed DC techniques, the horizontal in-line platform enables processing of various size and shape substrates on a carrier without costly retooling. Coatings are sputtered down onto the substrates which scan bi-directionally under the cathode until the desired film thickness is achieved. Using the reliable and accurate transport system, the 12in. X 12in. pallet is transferred into the process chamber where films are deposited with a high degree of uniformity.

The fast cycle high vacuum load lock system that transfers the pallet down into the deposition chamber eliminates the need to vent the process chamber for loading and unloading the substrates as with batch sputter systems. This cuts the need for chamber pump down time, reduces the likelihood of contamination and need for target burn-in, thus increasing material utilization and uptime.

This dual chamber high vacuum load lock design is what makes the Semicore SC943 series such a versatile high throughput sputtering system with up to three target positions for either single or multiple pass deposition.

Semicore’s MRC 943 Features

High Vacuum Load Lock

High Vacuum Load Lock

Removable Front Access Panels for Ease of Serviceability

Removable Access Panels
for Serviceability
  • Multi Target process chamber
  • Continuous throughput, high vacuum fast cycle load-lock
  • Process various shapes and size substrates without costly retooling and downtime
  • Sputtering Power Options: RF, DC, Pulse DC and others
  • Substrate is preheated in the loading chamber
  • Enables RF Sputter Etching
  • Graphical user interface with precision recipe control
  • Highly reliable transport system
  • Numerous built in safety systems
  • NEC, CE, CEC, OSHA and NFPA compliant
  • Removable front access panels for ease of serviceability

The entire top plate is hinged and raised by two hydraulic cylinders mounted on each end of the system for easy access to the process chamber and transport mechanism.

Top Plate Opens with Hydraulic Cylinders

Top Plate Opens with
Hydraulic Cylinders

Personnel safety is paramount. As such, interlocking circuits are hard wired into the system to disable dangerous voltages when access panels, covers and doors are opened. Other protection measures are employed to protect the system from damage due to operator error. For example, the system will not allow the user to open chamber valves if the lid is open, the high vacuum valve will not be allowed to open unless the chamber is below the rough set point and the transport system will not move unless all the condition are met to prevent an inadvertent collision.

Semicore provides a turnkey operation that meets and exceeds all OEM requirements. With over 20 years’ experience and an in-house staff of PVD equipment engineers other companies contract out for, Semicore is able to provide superior support of the SC943 product line.


Semicore’s MRC 943 Remanufacturing Checklist

  • We start by completely stripping the system to the bare frame.
  • The frame is then modified to our standards and then electro-static powder coated.
  • Vacuum chambers are reconditioned, chemically cleaned and electro-polished for a “like new” finish.
  • Custom stainless steel vacuum manifolds are designed to accommodate the required configuration.
  • New high vacuum and rough pumps are selected for the desired configuration.
  • All original controls and wiring are scrapped. A completely new design is employed to current industry and safety standards.
  • New sputter power supplies such as DC, Pulse DC, RF generators and matching networks are selected as per the desired configuration. Semicore offers a wide range of deposition capabilities not found elsewhere.
  • The whole RF package is completely redesigned for both the deposition and the etch processes to be stable and repeatable.
  • All vacuum feedthroughs are replaced with current ferro-fluidic designs that offer long life and exceptional vacuum performance.
  • Semicore’s award winning Human Machine Interface (HMI) software is coupled with our proven stable machine control architecture is installed configured for the application.
  • Each system is thoroughly leak tested and come with Leak Rate Performance certificates.
  • The vacuum chamber is scanned with a residual gas analyzer with fully documented results.
  • Extensive process performance tests are completed prior to the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT).
  • Complete top level engineering documentation is supplied with each unit including: electrical schematics, mechanical assembly drawings, recommended spare parts list, operations and component manuals and a subscription to the Semicore Self Service Center online where you can obtain copies of all system documentation, get updates and request support for your machine.

Horizontal In-Line Sputtering System

Horizontal In-Line Sputtering System

Semicore’s SC943 Series System Specifications (Remanufactured MRC 943)

  • Process Chamber ultimate =1 x 10-7 torr.
  • Process Chamber leak rate, 20 minutes to 1 x 10-4 torr.
  • High vacuum Load Lock ultimate =1 x 10-7 torr.
  • High vacuum Load Lock leak rate, 15 minutes to 1 x 10-4 torr.
  • Load Lock pump down: atmosphere to 5 x 10-6 torr ~15 minutes.
  • Process Chamber recovery to 5 x 10-7 torr after exchange of pallet ~15 minutes.
  • Load-lock high vacuum pressures utilizing a dedicated1500 l/sec cryogenic high vacuum pump and isolation valve.
  • Pallet elevator with chamber isolation seal plate hydraulically operated with absolute position system for accurate operation including built in safeguards.
  • Process chamber pumping system utilizing a dedicated 1500 l/sec cryogenic high vacuum pump with integrated dynamic throttling/isolation valve allowing for precise upstream or downstream pressure control.
  • DC or pulsed DC power supplies up to 12kW or RF up to 5kW for sputtering.
  • Wide Range Micro-Ion™/Convectron™ vacuum gauges for accurate full range pressure measurement.
  • Up to 8 process gas MFC’s, Ethernet connected with built in master/slave gas ratio control capability.
  • Capacitance manometer integrated into the dynamic throttling circuit for fast accurate pressure control.
  • Servo motor driven pallet transport with absolute encoder feedback for guaranteed accurate location and control.
  • Programmable scan velocity profiling capable.
  • RF sputter etch with dedicated 1kW generator and fast tuning auto match.
  • Complies with Semi S2-0706
  • Fully automated machine control using Semicore’s award winning Chameleon Control Software on a Windows™ 7 64bit platform with a 22” touch screen monitor mounted to a free standing mobile control rack.
  • Feature rich HMI includes intelligent user interface, dynamic recipe builder, real time data logging, user access management, performance graph tool and extensive maintenance features.
  • Connectivity to SECS/GEM communication and Windows™ applications through and OPC server interface.
  • Integrated Beckhoff PLC machine control with EtherCAT/Ethernet communications.
  • System designed for ease of maintenance with removable access panels, high level documentation, online connectivity and acess to the Semicore Self Service Center 24/7.
  • Required Facilities:
    • Power: 208-415 VAC, 3-Phase, 50-60Hz, 60-125 Amps, 5W
    • Water: 22.7-37.9LPM (6.0-10.0GPM), 207kPa (30PSI) min Delta, 552kPa (80PSI) max inlet pressure.
    • Process Gas: 138-207kPa (20-30PSI) nominal 99.999% Semiconductor grade.
    • Vent Gas: Dry Nitrogen 138-207kPa (20-30PSI) nominal
    • Clean Dry Air (CDA): 620-690kPa (90-100PSI) nominal
    • Earth Ground: 6AWG stranded copper wire or equivalent


Please Be Sure to Read Our FAQs Page and Watch Our Video

PVD Sputtering Equipment: What You Must Know Before Purchasing


Semicore Equipment Inc., a leading worldwide supplier of sputtering equipment for the electronics, optical, solar energy, medical, military and related high tech industries. Please let our helpful support staff answer any questions you have regarding MRC Sputtering Systems and how to implement the best technology and processes for your specific PVD Sputtering Equipment needs by contacting us at or by calling 925-373-8201.


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