Thin Film, Thin Films Types & Optical Thin Film Coating
The thin film is a layer of material that has a thickness in the range of a nanometer to several micrometers. Creating thin films using different deposition methods is the basis of many industries. As a simple example, consider a mirror that reflects light with a layer of metal which deposited behind the glass.
Improvement of a lot of industries in the last century is due to The development of deposition methods. These industries include semiconductor electronics, magnetic recording media, integrated circuits, LEDs, optical coatings (such as anti-reflective coatings), hard coatings in order to protect tools, pharmaceuticals, medicine and many other industries.
Thin films have several applications in various fields; furthermore, they play a significant role in the study and development of materials with unique and special properties, such as the superlattices which make it possible to study quantum phenomena.
Thin films are very important because they differentiate the properties and reactions of the material surface from its bulk. Thin films have a wide range of properties that can be used in a variety of applications.
Thin Films Types
Types of thin films can be categorized as follows:
- Optical thin films: Used to create reflective coatings, anti-reflective coatings, solar cells, monitors, waveguides and optical detector arrays
- Electrical or electronic thin films: Used to make insulators, conductors, semiconductor devices, integrated circuits and piezoelectric drives
- Magnetic thin films: Usually used to make memory disks
- Chemical thin films: They are used to create resistance to alloying, diffusion, corrosion and oxidation, as well as to make gas and liquid sensors
- Mechanical thin films: Tribological coatings to protect against abrasion, increase hardness and adhesion and use of micro-mechanical properties
- Thermal thin films: They are used to create insulation layers and heat sinks
The process of creating thin films is called Deposition. There are several deposition methods of the thin film. They divide into two main groups of chemical and physical methods. Among the physical methods, the physical vapor deposition (PVD) method has a good accuracy and uniformity that has been highly regarded. Various techniques of sputtering, thermal evaporation, electron beam and pulsed laser deposition (PLD) are subsets of physical vapor deposition.
VacCoat’s Vacuum Coating systems (such as Desk Sputter Coater – DSR1 and Desk Thermal Evaporator – DTT) are all used to create thin films by physical vapor deposition (PVD). In order to get acquainted with and use the PVD method, you can refer to the website of VacCoat Ltd.