July 2015 newsletter

Ion Times

Ion-Assisted Deposition

Turning down a sale is always painful – money that could have been made, if only you had the capacity or capability to meet the requirement. As coating specifications and tolerances become more challenging, you may find yourself unable to meet customers’ needs with a standard evaporative coater. With this in mind, many evaporative coating facilities are looking into Ion-Assisted Deposition (IAD) to provide added value to their existing equipment. The benefits of IAD are plentiful, and ion beam sources can be surprisingly easy to use, too!

According to well-documented research over the last several decades, IAD provides significant improvements in film adhesion and defect mitigation. IAD also improves the durability, damage threshold, and minimizes spectral shifting.

Pre-cleaning the surface of the substrate with an ion beam source removes the native oxide and nano-particulates that inhibit adhesion to the substrate surface. Ion preclean can be tailored to promote atomic adhesion by creating a small amount of surface roughness.

Another benefit of the assist is the energy transferred to the films during growth provides surface mobility to the incoming oxygen atoms, which promotes the amorphous material state (mitigating defects) and increases the oxidation states toward stoichiometric. The elimination of defects in turn inhibits the adsorption of water after production, mitigating or eliminating post-production spectral shift.

With better adhesion, elimination of defects, and more stoichiometric nature of the films all improve the durability of the film. This can improve coating properties such as laser damage threshold. For citations and more technical detail, click here!.

Let us help you improve your existing coating systems so that you can start selling higher quality, higher value coated optics.