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Exploring High-Density Material Phases With Ionised PVD

Ionised Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD)

Suppose you’d like to vaporise a substance, such as metal or glass, and apply that substance as a coating to another surface. Decades ago, such a feat would have been impossible. Today, you can accomplish this task using a technique called ionised physical vapour deposition, or ionised PVD.

How Ionised PVD Redefines Material Manufacturing

Ionised PVD enables material manufacturers to create advanced materials with superior properties [1]. For example, a manufacturer wants to create stronger food packaging that can protect contents for a longer period.

Using ionised PVD, the manufacturer can vaporise aluminium and apply a very thin coat of the metal to the inside of the packaging. This is just one example of the many applications of ionised PVD.

Overview of the Mechanisms Driving High-Density Material Formation

Materials manufacturers can accomplish PVD using a variety of ionised coating techniques. One of the most common thin-film deposition methods is called sputtering.

During this PVD coating process, the target material is bombarded by high-energy ions that emit (sputter) ions, which are then deposited onto the material’s surface to produce a coating.

Manufacturers can use either a DC (direct current) or RF (radiofrequency) power source to accomplish this PVD surface treatment [2]. DC is preferred because it’s relatively inexpensive and quite fast. However, it only works for conductive materials, such as metals. Manufacturers of non-conductive materials, like ceramics and glass, must use RF.

Ionised PVD’s Role in Advancing Next-Generation Technologies

A brief tour of your home will likely reveal many items made with ionised PVD. Your television, computer, phone, and even that crisps bag in your kitchen were all likely made using PVD processes.

Materials manufacturers have only scratched the surface of what’s possible with PVD. In the automotive industry, manufacturers use PVD to reduce oxidation and wear and tear on vehicle parts. Electronics manufacturers can use PVD to create lightweight anisotropic glasses for organic semiconductors. The medical equipment industry uses PVD to boost the wear resistance of surgical cutting tools.

Advantages of Ionised PVD Over Conventional Deposition Methods

Ionised PVD boasts several advantages over conventional deposition methods [3]. It offers a low level of impurity and good uniformity, perfect if you wish to create materials with very little variance. It also offers excellent density, a high deposition rate, and the highest level of scalability. Thus, ionised PVD is a good choice if you’d like to automate PVD processes.

Ionised PVD is best for ultra-thin films that require superior adhesive properties. It’s also ideal if you need to create insulating or metal coatings with specific electrical or optical properties.

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Redefining Material Manufacturing With Ionised PVD

Imagine windows that change colours when touched by the sun’s rays or wearable devices that can fall 50+ feet in water and come out unscathed. Today’s materials manufacturers can accomplish these feats and much more with ionised PVD.

Using ionised PVD, manufacturers create materials with surprising new properties. They produce magnetic walls and glass, nearly unbreakable parts, and metals that never rust. Such properties are highly valued in the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries.

Ionised PVD’s Influence on the Frontier of High-Density Material Research

High-density materials, such as osmium, platinum, and iridium, can be challenging to work with. Platinum has various applications, including dental equipment, computer hard drives, and turbine blades. Iridium and osmium are used for compass bearings, electrical contacts, and pen tips.

By taking advantage of ionised PVD, materials manufacturers can apply these and other high-density materials in new and exciting ways. For example, they can create solid-state thin-film batteries that never leak and last for many years.

The Science Behind Ionised PVD

How exactly does ionised PVD work? Suppose you have a target material from which you wish to extract particles. To “convince” the particles to leave the material’s surface, you must hit them with a high-pressure stream of ions. By doing this, the particles will leave the surface and jump randomly in the chamber, eventually settling on the substrate as desired.

Ionised PVD’s Eco-Friendly Contribution

Materials manufacturers can use ionised PVD to reduce waste and lower their carbon footprint [4]. That’s because PVD is a highly efficient process. During PVD, virtually no unwanted particles get into the soil, water, or air.

PVD also has several green applications. For example, it’s used to make EV batteries for electric vehicles.

Leveraging Ionised PVD for Advanced Material Production

To conclude, ionised PVD is an excellent choice if you wish to create materials with exciting and revolutionary properties. It offers superb uniformity, very low impurity, and extremely high-quality film. Additionally, the process emits very little waste, which is certainly appealing if you care about efficiency.

If you want to learn more about ionised PVD technology or our HEX Series modular film deposition systems, contact us at Korvus Technology today.


[1] U. Helmersson, M. Lattemann, J. Bohlmark, A. Ehiasarian (2006). Ionized Physical Vapor Deposition (IPVD): A Review of Technology and Applications, Thin Solid Films, 513 (1-2): 1-24, DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2006.03.033

[2] A. Wendt (2000): High-Density Plasma Sources, Thin Films, 9-35, DOI: 10.1016/S1079-4050(00)80004-6

[3] J.T. Gudmundsson, A. Anders, A. Keudell (2022). Foundations of Physical Vapor Deposition With Plasma Assistance, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 31:8, DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/ac7f53

[4] N. Song, S.Deng (2022). Thin Film Deposition Technologies and Application in Photovoltaics, Thin Films: Deposition Methods and Applications, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.108026