Guest post is provided by Denton Vacuum, LLC, offering sputtering systems for vacuum metallization. Visit their website for more details.

Optics technology is extremely sensitive to its refractive properties. Using optical coating systems with ion beam deposition allows for a more complete coating process. During the reactive evaporation process, for example, energy has to be introduced during the growth of the film, otherwise it will not attach very well to the target material. Using the energy required to creative a dense and completely oxidized layer will help keep the film strong and durable. Conventionally, this required energy is achieved through heating the substrate during film growth between 250 degrees Celsius and 300 degrees Celsius.

However, using Ion Beam Assisted Deposition (IAD), allows energetic ions to create the majority of the energy needed for a quality coating. Because of this, temperatures can be reduced to almost ambient. The ions produced are electronically excited radical molecules that have a respective influence on the target. These ions can be mechanically used to clean the substrate surface to remove water and hydrocarbons, allow for densification of growing film and remove loosely bound molecules from film growth. They also chemically increase the reactivity of the gas for better film stoichiometry control, while allowing for a higher growth rate.

Achieving such great film quality at such low temperatures allows for a greater range of applications. Even in high temperature environments, IAD can still broaden the accessible parameter range. Using a tight vacuum seal is incredibly important for safety and effectiveness for IAD. Purchase from a quality vacuum sputtering manufacturer is necessary for the best results possible.

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