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Thin Film and Coating Technologies for Science & Industry

Wednesday 11th October

From fundamental research to applied coatings


09.25 Welcome and opening remarks
09.30 Tribological coatings: different applications demand specific solutions
Professor Robert Wood, University of Southampton, UK

This talk will look at a range of coatings deposited by CVD, PVD and electroplating techniques to show why care must be taken when selecting coatings for tribological applications and that each application probably needs a bespoke rather than off-the-shelf solution. Cavitation, solid particle and liquid droplet erosion examples will show the need to understand the physics and stresses induced in coated systems by using coating successes and failures. Some reciprocating and Pin on Disc sliding tests will be used to look at wear and friction performance on coatings aiming to replace hard Chromium. 

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Lightweight, high efficiency, PV solutions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
Dr Andrew Johnson, IQE plc, Cardiff, UK

Usage of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is experiencing a dramatic expansion for a range of applications, both military and civilian, such as communications, surveillance and remote earth sensing. These UAVs are routinely powered electrically, and the ability to operate the vehicles solely from solar energy in-flight is extremely attractive. A new range of high efficiency, lightweight solar cell technologies are being developed to meet this requirement, ranging from kerfless crystalline Silicon to advanced multijunction cells based on III-V semiconductors.

The capability to produce these materials and devices in ultrathin, lightweight device architectures will be described, utilising advanced epitaxy techniques such as Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) and Metal organic Vapour Phase Epitaxy (MOVPE) to engineer these structures on an atomic scale to both enhance solar cell conversion efficiencies and employ novel layer separation techniques such as epitaxial lift-off (ELO). 

The ability to achieve very high cell efficiencies within these lightweight device configurations enables these UAVs to achieve higher payloads or longer flight durations, which is a significant advantage over incumbent technologies. This permits new operational schemes for UAVs, such as High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS), which is significantly less expensive than conventional low orbit satellite launches, which requires full space qualification, and a fully re-usable technology. In the longer term, it is envisaged that these technologies will also enable a new family of advanced solar cells for space power applications.

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10.30 Reactive deposition - enabling enhanced thin film performance
David Sanchez, Materion Corporation, Martinez, USA

Outside of papers on sputtering, when engineers discuss thin film deposition (where the main compound dominates the growing film) they strive to minimize the difference between the evaporation charge and the thin film itself. In comparison to sputtered metal thin films, dielectric compounds degrade during evaporation or seriously challenge sputtering processes due to their limited conductivity, mechanical toughness, particles and damaging arcs. 

Manufacturing, process and post-deposition techniques are used to: compensate for decomposing evaporation material, or to create the highest quality full compound thin films via reactive deposition for high quality performance coatings.  Using the classic high index oxides, this paper will provide examples of factors that influence process control such as passively reactive e-beam processes. Also, how reactive sputtering targets, techniques and platforms work in concert to reach the highest quality “as-deposited” thin films for precision films. 

By navigating the challenges of reactive processes, we will examine how the manufacture of substrates, coating materials and the targets themselves are related and exploited to the benefit of process control. The adaptability of sputtering systems to provide consistent and valuable options for photonics will also be reviewed.  Success in the seemingly divergent and certainly complex fields of communication, mobile electronics, remote sensing and medical devices require synergy between materials, thin film tool suppliers and researchers such as yourselves, in order to guarantee a proper foundation, new products and innovative applications.

Key words: Reactive, Sputtering, Manufacturing, Synergy, Performance, Success.

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11.00 Refreshment break


Direct monitoring of vacuum residual gases at process pressures up to 1 mbar
Dr Joe Brindley, Gencoa Ltd, Liverpool, UK

Some form of monitoring of the vacuum is essential for the efficient operation of any vacuum processes. Conventionally, residual gas analysis (RGA) is performed with quadrupole mass spectrometers. Residual Gas Analysis allows for detection and identification of individual species within the vacuum. This can result higher process yields through faster troubleshooting, scrappage reduction through contamination detection, or a more controlled vacuum environment.

The limiting factor for Quadrupole RGAs is the pressure range over which they can operate -above 1x10−4 mbar damage will occur to the sensor’s filament. Unfortunately, many vacuum process operate above this pressure. An alternative residual gas monitoring sensor that operates directly at pressures above 1x10−4 has been built around plasma emission monitoring. A small “remote” plasma can be generated inside a vacuum sensor. Consequently, species that are present within the vacuum will become excited in the sensor’s plasma, emitting a spectrum of light, which can then be used to identify and monitor the emitting species, resulting in a robust, lower-cost, multi-purpose vacuum sensor.

Presented are findings from using this method for monitoring and problem diagnostics of a number of vacuum processes. Examples include plasma treatment and sputter deposition in a roll-to-roll system, monitoring of Atomic Layer Deposition and contaminant detection in a tool coater. Comparisons with an equivalent differentially pumped Quadrupole RGA are also presented.

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11.45 Advancements in the manufacture of roll-to-roll smart and innovative devices by addressing production scalability and technology challenges
Dr Nessima Kaabeche, Emerson & Renwick Ltd, Accrington, UK

Functional coatings are at the heart of the advancements of all emerging, smart innovative technologies (batteries, near field communication devices, holograms, semiconductors etc). With the need of lighter, more flexible and more efficient smart electronic devices comes an imperative for production to be more cost effective. Conventional manufacture involves the production of functional coatings in a batch mode and via static methods which incurs a high consumable, services and space cost. In this context, roll-to-roll production of functional coating appears more suitable for the industry to meet the throughput and cost requirements to remain in the market. Transferring production from batch or static to roll to roll comes, however, with many challenges related web handling and producing many functional coatings in one device. The quality of the final products is also impacted by these variables which should be accounted for in the design of the machine and process flow. The combination of vacuum deposition processes such as PVD, CVD, ALD and RIE is also key to  increasing the throughput and can be addressed through a flexible and modular machine design.     

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12.15 Lunch break

Growth of epitaxial oxide thin films on graphene towards fabrication of graphene only devices
Dr Peter K. Petrov, Imperial College London, UK

The transfer process of graphene onto the surface of ferroelectric thin films is well known. How-ever, for many devices, is required high quality oxide thin films to be grown on the surface of graphene. This step is not understood. It is not clear why the oxide should adopt the epitaxy of the underlying oxide layer when it is deposited on graphene where there is no lattice match. To date there has been no explanation or suggestion of mechanisms which clarify this step.

Here we present a mechanism, supported by first principles simulation and structural characteri-sation results, for the growth of oxide ferroelectric thin films on graphene. We describe the growth of epitaxial SrTiO3 (STO) thin films on a graphene and show that local defects in the graphene layer (e.g. grain boundaries) act as bridge-pillar spots that enable the epitaxial growth of STO thin films on the surface of the gra-phene layer.

In this study, SrTiO3 layers with thicknesses varying from 10nm to 100 nm were deposit-ed at a temperature of 850 oC, and oxygen pressure ranging from 0.01 mTorr to 300 mTorr using pulsed laser deposition (PLD). The two-dimensional growth of the STO lay-er was monitored in-situ by RHEED. To measure its electrical properties, the STO film was covered with a 50 nm Au layer us-ing dc magnetron sputtering; and MIM ca-pacitor structures were formed with photo-lithography followed by ion-milling.

The surface of the STO film was analyzed using AFM, while its crystal structure was examined by x-ray, SEM and TEM. Results of the electrical measurements carried out within a temperature range of 77K up to 100oC will be presented.

The suggested mechanism for epitaxial growth of oxides on graphene, offers new directions to exploit the development of fer-roelectric/graphene multilayer structures and devices.

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Synergy between CVD and ALD for permeation barrier applications
Dr Adrianus Indrat Aria, Cranfield University, UK

Permeation barrier layers are critical components in a wide range of applications, from food packaging to electronic devices. Some of these applications have stringent requirements, e.g. ultra-thin and uniform across large area. In this talk, I will present the synergistic combination of CVD and ALD techniques to manufacture such layers with excellent collective properties. I will discuss the use of CVD 2D materials and ALD metal-oxides as ultra-barrier and surface passivation films and the need for encapsulation of CVD 2D materials devices by ALD metal-oxides.

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14.30 Refreshment break

CVD amorphous diamond coatings for extreme performance applications
Chris Walker, Diamond Hard Surfaces, Towcester, UK

The accelerated development of electronics is leading to an ever increasing heat output from high-power electronic parts. New materials are needed to manage this output, particularly in harsh environments. Carbon based coatings are one of the most promising new groups of materials for these applications due to its properties of high thermal conductivity and electrical resistance. These coatings are of particular interest and are examined in this paper. Some of these coatings, such as those developed by Diamond Hard Surfaces Ltd, are particularly suitable for harsh environments due to their excellent adhesion to a variety of Electronic substrates . They have been found to have very high thermal conductivity in the range of 850-1050 Wm-1K-1 and breakdown voltages in excess of 500V, even with a coating thickness of only 21μm. One successful implementation of these coatings as a heat spreader directly adhered to a heat sink is already in use, and maintains a resistance of 4.3 ± 0.4 MΩ with a test voltage of 500V. These coatings show promise as a future material of choice for thermal management and can be tailored to meet a range of specifications.

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15.15 Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition of silicon nano-structures and their applications in Electronic and Energy related Devices
Dr Shashi Paul, De Montford University, Leicester, UK

Silicon is widely used in electronic industries in a number of forms, for example: amorphous silicon is used in liquid-crystal display units; poly-silicon is used in Flash memory structures & photovoltaic solar cells and single crystals are used in C-MOS technologies.   Among various forms of silicon embodiments, silicon nano-structures (for example silicon nanowires).  However, before silicon nano-structures become integrated into a commercial product (for example, in consumer plastic electronics or batteries), there are still major challenges to conquer. These include optimizing growth conditions, low-temperature growth of silicon nano-structures. For the growth of nano-structures, widely employed chemical vapour deposition (CVD) techniques is in practice. However, the growth temperatures relevant to this technique exceed 600°C, which results in very high thermal budgets and process is not compatible cheap and flexible substrates.  Using a combination of pre-growth preparation steps and plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD), (UK patent #GB2482915), have been shown to result in the growth of silicon structures (micro and nano sized) £ 300°C. Using this process, we are able to grow silicon structures on plastic/glass substrates and have demonstrated their use in electronic and energy related devices.

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15.45 Concluding comments  
15.50 Close of meeting and POSTER SESSION in the exhibition hall
A poster prize will be awarded at 16.30 for the best poster.
  The exhibition remains open until 5pm  


The 2017 Conference and Industry Programme, run by Enlighten Meetings with its partners, covers application and technology advances, innovations and emerging technologies.

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As always, it is free to attend this conference

The 2015 Conference and Industry Programme, run by Enlighten Meetings with its partners, covers application and technology advances, innovations and emerging technologies.

Sign up to our mailing listmailing list and receive all the latest Enlighten Conference news and information.


Dr Mark Baker (Chair)
Reader in Surface Science & Engineering, University of Surrey

Stuart Allan
Technical Director, Artemis Optical Ltd, Plympton

Dr Hayley Brown
Business Development Manager
Plasma Quest Ltd, Hook

Prof Peter Kelly
Head of Surface Engineering Group, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Alf Smith
Business Development Manager,
CPI, Sedgefield