Thin film materials function in one of three major methods. All provide the substrate with a thin layer or coating. These are:
1. The precursor gas method
2. The sputtering process: Targets may be hot or cold pressed, hot or cold rolled, vacuum induction melted, or cut from sintered plate
3. Evaporation filament: Some of the top materials utilized in the process are barium and calcium, chromium and chromium alloys and magnesium and silver magnesium
They all are the means through which a film layer of substances such as tin oxide, tantalum oxide or nichrome alloy is deposited on the target or product. It is important to keep the goal in mind when it comes time to selecting the right material to perform the job successfully.
Selecting the Right Thin Film Materials
A number of factors come into plan when a company is making the decision on what thin film material to use in a process. The major influences are:
* Product Type: This is the primary consideration. Every specification relating to the thin film materials depends upon this aspect of the product.
* Material Type: Materials frequently include carbon-based compounds ceramics, metals and polymers. The actual selection of the material relates directly to product application.
* Properties of the Material: The application has a major effect on what material properties are utilized. Qualities that require consideration include the purity, melting or freezing point, electrical resistivity, boiling, sublimation, or evaporation point, theoretical density and others.
* Size and Dimensions of the Product: Thin film materials may be chosen according to their dimensions or to meet a specific size requirement. Dimensions and size elements a company must consider before selecting the right thin film material include width, thickness, particle size or even mesh size.
* Product Features: In several applications, it is important to consider certain product features the client wants when selecting thin film material. A company may want to look at many different qualities such as anti-reflective, conductive, dielectric, reflective, semi-conductive, transparent features and wear resistance.
A company must carefully select the right thin film materials in the manner above – in accordance with the qualities of the product. It is one major way to ensure the process will be successful.
Thin Metal Materials
Thin film materials are intended for a variety of applications. With the ability to conform to many diverse sizes, shapes and dimensions, as well as composition, the materials are the perfect coating for different electronic and optical equipment components. With the coatings capable of being as thin as less than a nanometer to as thick as several micrometers, thin film materials may be the perfect solution to many different coating issues.