Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) is a technology where a material is evaporated and condensed to form a thin film coating over an object (substrate). In general, coatings consist of metals or ceramics, usually nitrides, carbides and oxides. Evaporation in PVD can be forced by several methods. The method Impact Coatings most commonly uses is magnetron sputtering, where the coating material is "blasted" from the target by a plasma. All PVD processes are performed under vacuum.
With the highly flexible PVD method, thicknesses of the coatings can be varied from a few atomic layers up to approximately 10 µm. Allowing a wide range of coating materials and thicknesses, PVD can be custom-made to applications. The coatings can be optimized for various characteristics such as electrical, mechanical, optical and decorative.
In PVD, the substrate does not need to be metallic or electrically conductive, making it possible to coat non-metallic isolators, plastic and ceramic objects. The possibility of maintaining low process temperatures below 100°C (212F) further increases the number of applications.
PVD is used industrially in a wide spectrum of applications. The most common are semiconductors, CD/DVD-media, tools, mechanical components, automotive components, solar cells, optics, biomedical, etc.
PVD is an eco-friendly technology in contrast to chemical and galvanic surface treatment methods. It is clean and dry, with no hazardous materials involved, and does not generate chemical waste or water pollution. Green PVD coatings e.g. address controversial use of cyanide in plating baths for noble metals, and the use of hexavalent chromium for plating on plastic. The PVD method conforms to all environmental legislation and does not require environmental licenses.
The use of PVD is increasing rapidly in the industry to replace less environment-friendly chemical and galvanic methods. Impact Coatings' technology can broaden the use of PVD to even more applications.