Picosun’s Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) thin film barrier coating technology offers a solution for eliminating the use of hazardous process gases, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
In the current Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) coating methods, relatively thick films need to be grown to obtain the desired level of performance to reach the required specifications in e.g. moisture barrier, corrosion protection, passivation or insulation applications. Due to the fast film build-up on the walls of the coating equipment, the deposition chamber has to be cleaned of film residues at regular intervals. This is typically done by a chamber cleaning process with SF6 or NF3 plasma.
SF6 is the strongest greenhouse gas ever known, with global warming potential of 22600 times that of CO2 (for NF3, the coefficient is 17200) and it stays in the atmosphere for at least 1000 years. SF6 emissions in the EU in 2017 alone had greenhouse gas effect equalling that of 1,4 million cars. Hence, usage of these gases is subject to constant scrutiny and increased regulation.
By switching to Picosun’s ALD nanolaminate barrier technology it is possible to obtain unmatched barrier performance with extremely thin, pinhole-free films. This also eliminates the need to clean the deposition equipment after every few process runs. In typical production use, Picosun’s ALD reaction chamber is cleaned only once per 3 – 6 months, and simple mechanical bead blasting instead of fluorine-based plasma treatment is enough.
“We at Picosun want to employ our ALD technology for sustainable future. Fighting the climate change by all possible means requires collaboration between the innovative industries and solution providers. By replacing thick coatings, manufactured with environmentally compromising, energy- and resource-intensive methods, with our ultra-thin ALD film stacks, significant material and cost savings are obtained and hazardous gases are not needed in equipment cleaning,” summarizes Mr. Juhana Kostamo, deputy CEO of Picosun Group.