There are many different ways that very fine, thin coatings can be evenly distributed onto a variety of different services. One of the most effective and efficient ways is PVD or physical vapor deposition.
PVD materials can be used to create this coating for protection of the material or to enhance the chemical, electronic or mechanical functioning of a specific component. This process is used to create the film on solar panels, touch screens and to also create a protective coating on different metals used for tools and components in various industrial applications.
They are also widely used for medical equipment, particularly for implanted devices, to create a surface that helps to reduce the risk of infections, increase adhesion with body tissue and also to prevent wear and tear to extend the life of the implant.
The Basic Process
There are many different PVD materials that can be used. The choice of the material for the coating will be a factor of the base material as well as the specific requirement of the thin coating.
The most commonly used PVD materials for coatings include zirconium nitride, titanium aluminum nitride, titanium nitride and chromium nitride along with others. These types of coatings can be used on polymers, ceramics as well as metal. With a skilled operator and the right choice of materials for the coating, this process can be used on almost every organic or inorganic material in use today.
The process of PVD is a four-stage operation. The coating material is first evaporated and then transported to the surface of the material. This is done in a controlled chamber to eliminate any contamination of the gas phase. The gas then deposits on the surface of the base material and becomes solid in a thin, uniform film.