Written by: Denton Vacuum, LLC
To achieve high quality, use the right system for the right occasion.
The deposition of thin films on a substrate is a very straightforward process but done in a variety of ways. You have electron beams, ion beam etching, thermal evaporation, etc. While having so many methods available to experiment with may seem like they are in competition with each other, one shouldn’t rely on a single method.
Specific Applications for Specific Films
Remember that each of these techniques provides their own unique advantages but they also have their limitations as well. Many manufacturers believe that a single approach translates into an advantage quality-wise. In fact, depending on the type of thin film that’s being created, an optimal coating method should be chosen, which means instead of sticking with ion beam sputter deposition for a specific type of film, you would utilize thermal evaporation or e-beam deposition instead.
Why this is Important
Variety is king when it comes to working with thin films. There are a wide range of factors that you need to consider such as wavelength range, mechanical environmental durability, scatter, precision, and laser absorption. Each coating method differs and shines in a specific area. There needs to be diversification in order to take full advantage of thin film production.
The Bottom Line
The market has been pumping out a variety of different sputtering systems designed to “improve” the quality of thin films. While this is true, there still needs to be a separation when it comes to maximizing quality. Diversify and utilize different systems and methods to achieve a different result on your thin film.