News & Articles

Learn about vacuum sputtering and thin film evaporation technologies.

Top DLC Coatings for Tribology Applications: A Guide for Thin Film Coating Engineers


What is Tribology? It is the study of friction, wear and lubrication, and the design of bearings. It is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion. Tribological coatings are a critical aspect of material interactions, where the convergence of surfaces and the interaction of mechanical forces are key. At its core, Tribology is dedicated to mitigating friction, wear, and material degradation that arise from contact, resulting in a significant improvement of mechanical system performance, longevity, and efficiency. This endeavor has been stimulated by the emergence of Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coatings, which have generated a major shift in the field. …

The Importance of Preventive Maintenance for Thin Film Coating Equipment


In the world of advanced manufacturing and cutting-edge technologies, thin film coating equipment holds a pivotal role in various industries, including electronics, optics, medical devices, and more. Preventive Maintenance (PM) is a vital practice for this type of equipment, as it enables peak performance, extends the lifespan, and minimizes overall cost of ownership of the machines. This article explores the key reasons why a proactive PM plan is critical for thin film coating equipment and how it is superior to the all too common practice of “run it until it breaks” and the different variations of that mindset. …

Enhancing Aesthetics and Durability: A Look into Today’s Popular PVD Coatings for Decorative Finishes


In the field of decorative coatings, Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) has emerged as a transformative technology that offers a winning combination of visual appeal and robustness. PVD coatings have revolutionized the way decorative finishes are applied to various products, ranging from jewelry and watches to high-end faucets and architectural hardware. This in-depth article aims to provide valuable insight to professionals working in the decorative coatings industry by exploring the top PVD coatings and their applications. …

What is Glancing Angle Deposition (GLAD)?

blue flares decorative image

Glancing angle deposition (GLAD) is a thin film deposition technique in which a substrate is placed at an angle to the direction of the coating vapor flux, while that substrate is rotated or manipulated to control the film’s characteristics and growth. It is primarily used as an electron-beam thermal evaporation process, but it is also sometimes used with sputtering coatings. …

What is Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) Tribology Coating?

blue crystal decorative image

Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) is a type of amorphous carbon material that exhibits some of the properties of diamonds like extreme hardness, together with low friction that is a characteristic of graphite, along with a strong resistance to corrosion. Amorphous in this instance means an irregular mixture of both graphite and diamond forms of carbon without a consistent crystalline bonding structure, but with an irregular mixture of carbon cubic and hexagonal bonding that is not naturally occurring.

What is Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD)?

chaotic yellow lines decorative image

Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) is a low temperature vacuum thin film deposition process with a very strong position in the semiconductor industry due to its ability to apply coatings on surfaces that would not be able to withstand the temperatures of more conventional CVD processes.

Conventional CVD applies heat to the substrate to be coated or to the area immediately around the substrate to drive the chemical reactions. Precursor reactive gases are introduced into the deposition chamber which either react immediately with the surfaces to be coated, or combine in the deposition chamber to form new compounds which grow films on the substrate surface.

What is Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)?

orange honeycomb tech decorative imageChemical Vapor Deposition, commonly referred to as CVD, refers to a broad range of thin film deposition techniques that are widely used for producing high quality, high-performance solid coatings or polymers. While there are a wide variety of specific CVD processes, what they all have in common is a chemical reaction of a gaseous chemical precursor driven by either heat or plasma to produce dense thin films on a substrate. …

Pre-Cleaning & Etching for PVD Coatings

tech bubbles decorative imagePre-cleaning of substrates before PVD coating is an essential first step of surface preparation for thin film deposition by removing contaminants such as oxides, hydrocarbons and water molecules, and to make for good adhesion of deposition layers and be certain the coatings perform defect free.

One critical reason for pre-cleaning just prior to deposition is to remove the native organics (primarily oxidation) that form a barrier layer on the substrate surface just from being exposed to regular atmosphere. Even as little as a couple nanometers of this natural barrier layer will prevent proper adhesion or effect the conductivity of the layer stack which is absolutely critical for semiconductors. …

What is Co-Sputtering and Co-Evaporation?

Co-Sputtering CathodeSputtering and Thermal Evaporation are two of the most common Physical Vapor Deposition PVD Thin Film Coating process techniques. Performed in a high vacuum environment, these methods are at the heart of the semiconductor, optics, photonics, medical implant, high performance auto and aero industries.

“Co” means mutual, common – more than one. Co-Sputtering and Co-Evaporation means more than one coating material being applied to a substrate that allows for the creation of a wide range of new and remarkable compositions and alloys with unique and amazing qualities not possible without this rapidly expanding thin film technology. …