Physical vapour deposition


  • What does it mean?
  • Where is it used?
  • What distinguishes PVD?

Physical vapour deposition

The term "physical vapour deposition" (PVD) covers specific processes used in thin film technology. In all cases, it refers to vacuum-based coating processes that use physical methods to deposit thin films on a substrate.

Of the various types, sputtering is one of the most economic deposition methods which is used as a standard coating technique in many industries. One of the main reasons for popularity of sputtering is the fact that this method allows for a multitude of different materials to be deposited on a wide variety of substrates.

Sputtering processes are used in different applications such as finishing surfaces in the semiconductor industry, producing polarization filters in the optical industry or coating large area surfaces in architectural glass industry.

FHR Anlagenbau GmbH is a global leader in the field of sputtering technology. Not only do we supply our customers with coating systems, we also develop and produce sputtering targets and we have a great deal of expertise from our more than quarter a century of experience in this area.

In all PVD processes, the material from which the thin film will be produced is initially in solid form and normally located somewhere in the process chamber, e.g. at the target in sputtering. Various methods are used to vaporize the material (for example, using a short, powerful laser pulse, with an arc, or by ion or electron bombardment) which then condenses in the form of a thin film on the substrate surface.

In thermal vapour deposition, the material that produces the film is heated by an electric heater until it is released into the gas phase. Molecular beam epitaxy and ion beam sputtering deposition are also counted among the group of PVD methods. The resulting films are extremely pure and very uniform. They also adhere excellently to the substrate. PVD coatings offer an environmentally friendly alternative to the conventional electrochemical processes for many applications.

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