World Class Manufacturing and Test Capabilities
dpiX produces all of its products in a state-of-the-art Generation 4.5 manufacturing facility (~300,000 sft) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Designed to handle the production of the larger array sizes needed for today’s medical imaging, the equipment is programmed to efficiently produce the highest quality amorphous silicon (a-Si) arrays available. dpiX's technology is currently backed by over 100 patents and its versatility allows for an extensive plethora of uses - including compatibilities with indirect x-ray detection techniques, scintillating materials such as cesium-iodide, and direct photoconductors such as amorphous selenium.
How We Manufacture Our Product
Prior to entering the sterile environment of the factory, all employees change into clean room suits, commonly referred to as “bunny suits”, to avoid contaminating the product. The product itself enters the factory as a flexible glass plate that is then labeled depending on the number of arrays that are going to be placed on top of it. The plate goes through the first cleaning process - analogous to a car wash - to rid of any potential outside contaminants. The first layer, called the gate layer, covers the entire plate in metal, making it look like a mirror. The tool that deposits the metal on the plate has a large, six-axis robotic arm to manipulate the plates so that it can enter and exit the tool and be placed back into a cassette. The tool that deposits the metal is known as a physical vapor deposition tool, PVD. Our PVD tool look similar to a locomotive engine car; however, PVD tools come in varying shapes and sizes.
In order to create the circuitry required to make a photo sensor array, the plate needs to be patterned. This is done by using a process known as photolithography. In the lithography process, a plate is coated with a photosensitive material, making it look yellow in appearance, and exposed with light. The tool that coats the plate with the photosensitive material is called the coater tool and the tool that created the patterns on the photosensitive material is called the stepper. The light is directed through a mask, which contains the circuit patterns necessary to make the photosensor array, and transfers the image onto the photoresist. The area of the resist that is exposed with light softens and subsequently washed away, or developed away in the developer tool. The area of the resist that is not exposed by light remains hard and will protect the film underneath it during subsequent etch steps.
The tool that deposits our insulating and semiconducting layers is called the Chemical Vapor Deposition tool, or CVD. It uses a plasma enhanced gas to deposit thin films onto the entire plate of glass. Once the insulating or semi-conducting films have been deposited onto the glass, they will go through the photolithography process to transfer the circuit patterns from a mask to the photosensitive material. The parts of the glass that is protected by the photosensitivie material remain after going through an etch step. The parts of the glass that is not protected by the photosensitive material is etched away.
The etch process removes unwanted deposited films on the glass. dpiX utilizes two methods of etching unwanted material from the glass, wet etching and dry etching. Our wet etch tools have many chambers that have different chemicals to etch different materials from the glass. Our dry etch tools utilizes a plasma to react with unprotected film on the glass. The tools have many chambers, like our wet etch tools. The difference is that the dry etch process is performed in a vacuum where the wet etch process is performed in atmosphere.