Common Thin Film Application Methods Used Today

Thin film application is a booming industry.

Written by: Denton Vacuum, LLC

electron-beamIf the words “thin film evaporation” sound foreign to you, it should be noted that it’s a lot more familiar to everything that you do on a daily basis than you might think. For one, all of the supermarket checkout scanners, cell phones, TV’s, and cars utilize thin film coatings. Despite all the numerous applications, there are basic deposition methods for the manufacturing of thin films. Here is a brief rundown on some of the most common methods.

Electron Beam

Electron beam technology is the most commonly used deposition method currently available. The source material is placed in a pocket in an electron beam gun. It then produces a steady stream of electrons that are steered by a series of magnets onto the coating material – known as the substrate. When the beam begins to heat the material, it evaporates and slowly moves toward the top of the chamber, where it proceeds to be deposited onto the substrate. This type of thin film vacuum coating can be produced at high levels with a variety of materials.

Chemical Vapor Deposition

With this vacuum evaporation system, you’ll typically find this being used in the semiconductor industry. Chemical vapor deposition is a thermally driven chemical reaction process that uses metallorganic liquids called precursors. They are then delivered to an evaporation manifold and vaporized. Nitrogen gas is then carried into the reaction chamber – which is held at 500 degrees Celsius. The heat breaks down the chemical bonds and the resulting metal oxides condense onto the surface of the chamber.