Why Use HBN Ceramic Setters for Metal-Organic Chemical Vapour Deposition (MOCVD)?

March 2024

Ceramic setters are used to sinter a variety of highly complex metal-organic compounds, including aluminum nitride, gallium nitride, and graphene. These products are used in a variety of industries, but most notably in semiconductor manufacturing. Purity is key in semiconductor manufacturing, therefore, many upstream processes, materials and equipment must be kept to a high standard. Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride is the top choice for purity in this application.


Hexagonal boron nitride (HBN) is an excellent material to use for ceramic setters because of its atomic structure. HBN contains nitrogen atoms and boron atoms that are held together by a framework and layers (which are kept in place by a van der waals force) that reflect the shape of honeycomb. 


With that said, HBN offers a variety of benefits because it is an extremely well-structured material. Notably, HBN is an electrical insulator that can be used at temperatures up to 2000°C while providing resistance against corrosion, wear and thermal shock. 


You will find HBN used in furnaces, crucibles, linings and tubes. It can also be used as a contact material for molten metal and support for lasers. Studies are even being conducted to see if it could be used in photonics or as a two dimensional material to enhance polymer nanocomposites. However, in this article, our focus will be on its application as ceramic setters. 


HBN ceramic setters can use their robust characteristics to enhance Metal-Organic Chemical Vapour Deposition (MOCVD) processes. This technique is crucial for the formation of thin films that are needed for semiconductors.


Incorporating HBN ceramic setters offers the opportunity to gain additional control over the MOCVD process. Crystal growth is needed for the layers in semiconductors, which can be ascertained through heat. The characteristics of HBN ceramic setters help with these processes, as they can remain robust even in high temperatures. 


Read on to learn more about why HBN ceramic setters should be used with MOCVD procedures. We will consider the properties of HBN ceramic setters and the role they play in improving the MOCVD process. 

MOCVD Process

Why use HBN Ceramic Setters in the MOCVD Process? 

By the time we reach 2030, it is predicted that the MOCVD market will make around $2823.51 million. Its equipment market will also reach around $1037.4 million. This demonstrates that this field is growing. Therefore, it must utilize new techniques and tools, such as HBN ceramic setters, to optimize its processes. 


MOCVD is mainly used in the semiconductor industry to create thin films. It offers a means of controlling the level of composition and thickness between each deposited layer.


It can also be used to create: 

  • Solar cells
  • Bandgap materials through silicon technology
  • Quantum dots 

HBN comes from boron nitride and has a structure that is created from crystals. This type of material is known for its reduced dielectric constant and resistance to heat, corrosion and thermal shock. Boron nitride can also produce wurtzite boron nitride and cubic boron nitride. 


Using HBN within ceramic setters means that they will have excellent properties that can compliment the MOCVD process, including: 

  • Excellent thermal shock resistance
  • Good electric insulation
  • Great thermal conductivity

By being able to suit the conditions of MOCVD, HBN ceramic setters can optimize its operations. This includes its quality and consistency and the efficiency of the deposition process. 


High Temperature Stability

One of the primary advantages of HBN ceramic setters is their exceptional stability at high temperatures. This is a critical requirement for MOCVD processes. MOCVD operations necessitate temperatures ranging from 900 to 1000°C to facilitate the deposition of thin films. 


HBN ceramic setters are capable of withstanding these temperatures without undergoing degradation or structural changes. This stability is paramount, as it ensures that the setters do not react with the organometallic precursors. It also ensures that it does not introduce impurities into the delicate thin films being deposited. 

By maintaining their integrity at elevated temperatures, HBN ceramic setters provide a reliable platform for the growth of high-quality semiconductor layers. These will be free from defects that could compromise device performance.

Chemical Inertness

HBN’s chemical inertness is another crucial factor that makes these ceramic setters indispensable in MOCVD processes. The purity of the environment within the deposition chamber is essential for achieving high-quality thin films. 


Any reaction between the setter material and the organometallic precursors or by-products of the deposition process could introduce unwanted impurities into the films. This could adversely affect their electrical and physical properties. 


HBN's inert nature ensures that it does not react to the gases or chemicals present during deposition, maintaining the purity of the environment and the integrity of the thin films.

Lubricating Properties

HBN's low coefficient of friction is an advantageous property that extends the lifespan of MOCVD equipment and enhances the uniformity of thin film deposition. The lubricating properties of HBN reduce wear and tear on the components of the MOCVD apparatus. This can lead to lower maintenance costs and longer intervals between equipment servicing. 


Additionally, the smooth surface provided by HBN ceramic setters facilitates uniform gas flow over the substrate, promoting the even deposition of materials. This uniformity is crucial for the production of semiconductor devices. In these products, layer thickness and composition must be controlled with nanometer precision to ensure optimal device performance.

Saint-Gobain Is Here To Help You Find HBN Ceramic Setters

The characteristics of HBN ceramic setters, including their corrosion resistance, chemical stability and high thermal and electric insulation, make it the perfect material to enhance MOCVD processes. Not only that, but these types of ceramic setters can help to create products with tailored shapes. 


By utilizing HBN ceramic setters in MOCVD processes, industries will be able to capitalize on their benefits. They are crucial for ensuring that MOCVD procedures are accurate and consistent, qualities which are highly valued for the production of semiconductors. 


Here at Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride, our line of COMBAT® Boron Nitride Machinable Ceramics are available for you to consider. They come in various grades of HBN and shapes to suit your projects, including plates and bars. We also offer powders and coatings


For more information on ceramic setters, we invite you to visit our website. Browse through our products and see which one would suit your project best.