Atomize to Recreate
The PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) method is used to apply thin films of micrometer thicknesses to materials of various qualities. In PVD processes, a block of material, consisting of the film material to be applied, is evaporated in a vacuum. This creates a gas mixture of atomic particles, which precipitate onto the material (substrate) to be coated.
In the plasma-enhanced PVD process, a cathode is evaporated by being bombarded with ions. This sputter or evaporation process can take place at room temperature. It is divided into the three stages: sputtering, diffusion and film growth.
A vacuum reaction chamber contains the non-reactive noble gas argon. In this chamber, a suitable direct current, medium or radio frequency voltage is applied. Thus, a low-temperature plasma ignites above the cathode (target) which consists of the film material. Positively charged argon ions are accelerated in the electrical field toward the cathode. On impact, these argon ions chip off particles from the cathode material. Eventually the cathode will be almost completely sputtered.