Applications and Advantages of Thin Film Deposition Technology

Topics Covered

Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) Method
Coldab® Ultra Short Pulsed Laser Deposition (USPLD) Method
Equipment and System Components
     Laser Source
     Vacuum Chamber
     Substrate and Target Manipulators
Materials for the Coldab Process
     Thin-film Materials
     Substrate Materials
Advantages and Applications
About Picodeon - Nanotechnology Surface Treatments

Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) Method

In PLD techniques, short, high intensity laser pulses are used for vaporizing the target material. The use of nanosecond laser pulses (hot ablation) increases the target temperature during the process. In addition, higher levels of molten material and particles can be found in the resulting plasma.

The increased demand for cold ablation-based micromachining applications has accelerated the advancement of ultra-short pulsed lasers of sub 20 picoseconds. The high average power and high repetition rate of these lasers enable producing plasma with superior quality and productivity.

Coldab® Ultra Short Pulsed Laser Deposition (USPLD) Method

Picodeon’s innovative Coldab® USPLD technique uses a high power, picoseconds pulsed laser beams to hit a target of desired composition, vaporizing the target material and forming a highly ionized plasma plume that expands very rapidly.

This is followed by a dynamic deposition process (Figure 1) that involves the deposition of the plasma as a thin film over a substrate when it is exposed to the plasma plume. The Coldab® involves scanning the pulsed laser beam to create a line on the target, thus forming a plasma front with constant material flow. The product to be coated is transported through this front, providing homogeneous deposition even on larger surfaces.

Figure 1. Coldab® dynamic deposition process.

Equipment and System Components

Laser Source

In Coldab, the deposition process is optimized using picosecond (ps) or femtosecond (fs) laser pulses. Optimum conditions for cold ablation are achieved through the use of laser pulses shorter than 10ps. Average powers of the optimal pico- and femtosecond pulsed lasers are in the range o f10-500W. In addition, these lasers exhibit a high repetition rate of up to 100MHz. These qualities make them to achieve high throughput industrial production at an affordable cost.

Vacuum Chamber

Under high vacuum condition, Coldab® deposition takes place so as to achieve a clean process environment and superior quality plasma. Process optimization can be achieved by applying a back-ground gas in some cases.

Substrate and Target Manipulators

The Coldab® robotics provides optimal motion and location control for both the target materials and the substrates. It moves the target in such a fashion so that the laser beam can ablate the surface of interest on the target material, thereby ensuring the target surfaces smoothness and stability of the ablation during the process.

The dynamic deposition process involves transporting the substrate through the plasma front at a specific rate to create a thin film of desired thickness and uniformity. A roll-to-roll application enables depositing the thin film over wires, foils, or long strips. Special manipulation robotics is used to coat 3D products. Picodeon Coldab® Series2 R&D tool and Picodeon Coldab® Series4 Production tool are depicted in Figures 2 and 3.

Figure 2. Picodeon Coldab® Series2 R&D tool

Figure 3. Picodeon Coldab® Series4 Production tool

Materials for the Coldab Process

Thin-film Materials

The Coldab® process is able to process virtually all combinations of materials as well as all solid and vacuum compatible materials. It produces thin films using the following materials:

  • Metals (Cu, Au, Ag, Pt, Al, Nb, Ti, …)
  • Semiconductors
  • Carbides (B4C, SiC, …)
  • High quality Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC)
  • Oxides (SiO2, TiO2, Al2O3, YSZ, CGO)
  • Nitrides (BN, Si3N4, Nicanite® carbon nitride)
  • Polymers (PTFE, PDMS, PI, …)
  • BCN –materials
  • Composites
  • Nano-structured materials

Substrate Materials

The low temperature Coldab® process allows using virtually any material as a substrate to be coated:

  • Fabrics and fibrous materials
  • Semiconductors
  • Organic semiconductor materials
  • Metals
  • Ceramics
  • Glass
  • Polymers (PMMA, PET, PTFE, PS, PC, PE, PP, Kapton, Mylar, …)

Advantages and Applications

The following are the key advantages of the Coldab® USPLD technique:

  • Ability to industrial scale production
  • Outstanding adhesion
  • Low temperature
  • Ability to deposit almost any type of layer over any type of substrates

The following are the key applications of the Coldab® USPLD technique:

  • Biocompatible
  • Non-stick
  • Diffusion barrier
  • Stain repellent
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-fogging
  • Anti-corrosive
  • Photo catalytic
  • Thermally or electrically insulating
  • Conductive
  • Optical
  • Low friction
  • Wear resistant

About Picodeon - Nanotechnology Surface Treatments

Picodeon is a Finnish nanotechnology company specializing in thin film coatings and surface treatments with its patented Coldab® Ultra-Short Pulsed Laser Deposition (USPLD) process.

Picodeon has extensive experience of delivering thin-film applications with wear-resistant, low-friction, biocompatible, thermal-conductivity and electrical-conductivity thin-film properties. Picodeon provides equipment, solutions and services for its clients worldwide.

Picodeon is located in Ii, Finland and is financially backed by Enso Ventures.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Picodeon - Nanotechnology Surface Treatments.

For more information on this source, please visit Picodeon - Nanotechnology Surface Treatments.

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