March 2011

Much of the success the vacuum coating industry has experienced is a result of the combined efforts among research organizations, colleges, universities, and forward thinking industry leaders and companies.  Several of our articles this month feature new technologies developed by teams of individuals who, together, find new possibilities in science and meaningful ways to introduce technology into industry and society.


We welcome your feedback and encourage you to share articles related to vacuum coating technology of interest to our readership.  Contact us at

Imperial College (London, UK) and SKF (Goeteborg, Sweden) Establish Tribology Research Center 

From Imperial College London, December 2, 2010,
by Colin Smith:
  The College and SKF, which makes high performance bearings, seals and lubrication systems for industrial machinery, officially opened the SKF University Technology Centre in Advanced Modeling and Measurements in tribology, which is the science of how surfaces interact with one another in relative motion. By reducing friction between parts, the researchers hope to enable machinery to run more efficiently and reliably, leading to energy savings, lower costs and reduced carbon emissions.  The initial five-year collaboration will see researchers at the College working in close co-operation with the SKF's Engineering Research Centre in The Netherlands, developing new advanced testing techniques, theoretical studies and computer models in tribology that will help SKF to develop solutions for prolonging the life of beTribology Researcharings, which enable parts in machines to move smoothly.


Researchers will also be analyzing lubricants and investigating rolling contact fatigue.  As part of the project, SKF will also fund a minimum of five PhD studentships at the College, recruited from around the globe.


Read the full article at SKF University Technology Centre (UTC) at

For link to SKF UTC webpage, including projects and  SKF UTC contacts go to:



Imperial College London, 

Image: Imperial College London

Stabilization of Oxide-Based Thin Film Transistors  


From SPIE Newsroom, February 8, 2011,
by Po-Tsun Liu,
"As the development of flat-panel displays continues to grow, thin-film-transistor (TFT) technologies have been extensively used as switching devices or peripheral drivers in active-matrix LCDs (AMLCDs) and as pixel drivers for organic LEDs (AMOLEDs). However, amorphous silicon, which is conventionally used as the channel layer in TFT devices, faces development limitations because of physical drawbacks, such as low electron mobility, high photosensitivity, and Staebler-Wronski effects."

"Researchers at National Chiao Tung University "have proposed a novel amorphous nitrogen doped-indium zinc gallium oxide (IGZON)-based TFT device that exhibits high electron mobility and reduced Vth and subthreshold swing compared with conventional a-IGZO TFTs. The electrical reliability and ambient stability also improved because of the substitution of inactive oxygen with nitrogen atoms during film deposition. We plan to study the photosensitivity and electrical characteristics of these a-IGZON TFT devices under voltage-bias or constant-current stresses. This will help application of a-IGZON TFT devices to AMLCDs and AMOLEDs."

Oxide-Based Thin Films 

Source: Clink on link to read full article. :  

Image: Used with permission from SPIE and Prof. Po-Tsun Liu, National Chiao Tung University 

Stanford Researchers' New Stretchable Solar Cells Will Power Artificial Electronic 'Super Skin' 

From Stanford University, February 22, 2011, By Louis Bergeron:  " 'Super skin' is what Stanford researcher Zhenan Bao wants to create.  She's already developed a flexible sensor that is so sensitive to pressure it can feel a fly touch down.  Now she's working to add the ability to detect chemicals and sense various kinds of biological molecules.  She's also making the skin self-powering, using polymer solar cells to generate electricity.  And the new solar cells are not just flexible, but stretchable - they can be stretched up to 30 percent beyond their original length and snap back without any damage or loss of power.

Super skin, indeed.  

'With artificial skin, we can basically incorporate any function we desire,' said Bao, a professor of chemical engineering. 'That is why I call our skin 'super skin.' It is much more than what we think of as normal skin.'

The foundation for the artificial skin is a flexible organic transistor, made with flexible polymers and carbon-based materials. To allow touch sensing, the transistor contains a thin, highly elastic rubber layer, molded into a grid of tiny inverted pyramids. When pressed, this layer changes thickness, which changes the current flow through the transistor. The sensors have from several hundred thousand to 25 million pyramids per square centimeter, corresponding to the desired level of sensitivity.

To sense a particular biological molecule, the surface of the transistor has to be coated with another molecule to which the first one will bind when it comes into contact.  The coating layer only needs to be a nanometer or two thick."


Click on the link to read the entire article:

Stanford University:
Flexible and Printed Electronics Struggle to Make their Impact


From Chemical and Engineering News, January 10, 2011, by Marc S. Reisch: The printed electronics market today is around $700 million according to experts at consulting firm IDTechEx.  They estimate it could become a $50 billion industry by 2020.  This article describes the state of the current technology and products, challenges and potential markets, such as replacing the 1700 lb of copper wiring on Boeing 747-100 airliner to reduce weight.  There are approximately 3,000 organizations working on printed and flexible electronics, evenly split between commercial and academic.   Big chemical industry players like Bayer (Germany), Solvay (Belgium) and 3M (U.S.) have entered market recently by investing or purchasing electronic component manufacturers.  Read about the opportunities and challenges of this technology.



Chemical and Engineering News, Business.  Vol 89, Issue 02, January 10, 2011, pp 20-21. "Printing the Right Connections", 

Image: E Ink Corporation

EPIR Technologies Creates CdTe Solar Cells on Glass 

From Solar Novus Today, February 8, 2011: "EPIR Technologies (Bolingbrook, IL) has repeatedly fabricated high efficiency polycrystalline cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells on commercial glass, which recently demonstrated a maximum efficiency rate of 15.2% in tests supervised by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).  According to Dr. Chollada Gilmore, EPIR's CdTe Solar Cell Technical Lead, 'Our chamSolar Cells on Glasspion cell efficiency was officially verified by NREL at 15.2 % efficiency. The high efficiency was driven by a fill factor of 77.6%, which is one of the highest fill factor values ever recorded for this type of solar cell. These results are significant because our solar cells were fabricated using inexpensive commercial TEC-series glass substrates as opposed to technical-grade glass which is commonly used in champion cell fabrication.' "


"Dr. Timothy Gessert, Principal Scientist and Group Manager of the NREL CdTe Research Group stated, 'This is an important advancement for CdTe thin-film PV technology because it not only surpasses the previous best result that was published for commercial soda-lime glass by a clear margin (14.4% was the previous best result on commercial soda-lime glass), but all the layers incorporated into this new device structure are consistent with present commercial manufacturing processes.' " 

The link to EPIR Technologies is 


Source: Read the full article at Solar Novus Today:  

Image: NREL

Double-Negative-Index Metamaterials are Proposed for the UV


From Laser Focus World, January 2011: "Fabrication of negative-index metamaterial (NIM) lenses (which can image beyond the diffraction limit) has made progress, but the creation of such lenses for the visible spectrum has been difficult due to high losses. Two kinds of NIM exist: double-negative (in which both the permittivity and permeability are negative), and single-negative (in which either the permittivity or permeability is negative). The first (much harder to make) has potentially higher performance. While single-negative metamaterials have been made that function with yellow light, double-negative materials have only been made for wavelengths as short as 725 nm."


"Now, researchers at Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China) and the Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) have, at least theoretically, come up with a double-negative NIM geometry that could work down to UV wavelengths. They propose three types of silver structures-ring, disk, and nanowire-all of which have gaps that behave as magnetic dipoles that result in a negative permeability, but also decrease current strength, and thus loss. The nanowire-based device, although restricted to 2D structures, could be usable in the UV; the other two types are suitable for 3D structures, but work only in the visible."


Read full paper in Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 24, November 22, 2010, by Jianwei Tang and Sailing He:


Source: Laser Focus World, January 2011, page 9.

Image: Optics Express

 The First Full-Color Display with Quantum Dots


From, February 22, 2011
by Prachi Patel:
  "Samsung's new four-inch display could eventually lead to flexible screens. 
Researchers at Samsung Electronics have made the first full-color display that uses quantum dots. Quantum-dot displays promise to be brighter, cheaper, and more energy-efficient than those found in today's cell phones and MP3 players."


"Samsung's four-inch diagonal display is controlled using an active matrix, which means each of its color quantum-dot pixels is turned on and off with a thin-film transistor. The researchers have made the prototype on glass as well as on flexible plastic, as reported in Nature Photonics this week. 'We have converted a scientific challenge into a real technological achievement,' says Jong Min Kim, a fellow at the Sansung Advanced Institute of Technology."

"Quantum dots are semiconductor nanocrystals that glow when exposed to current or light. They emit differenQuantum Dotst colors depending on their size and the material they're made from. Their bright, pure colors and low power consumption make them very appealing for displays. Most computer monitors and TVs use power-hungry liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are more brilliant and energy-efficient, but are confined to small gadgets because they are too expensive for TV screens, and their organic materials have limited lifetimes."


Source:, published by MIT: 

Image: Byoung Lyong Choi, Samsung Electronics

Jewel-Toned Organic Phosphorescent Crystals: A New Class of Light-Emitting Material 


From and University of Michigan, February 16, 2011, : "Pure organic compounds that glow in jewel tones could potentially lead to cheaper, more efficient and flexible display screens, among other applications.

University of Michigan researcher Jinsang Kim and his colleagues have developed a new class of material that shines with phosphorescence-a property that has previously been seen only in non-organic compounds or organometallics.

Phosphorescent CrystalsKim and his colleagues made metal-free organic crystals that are white in visible light and radiate blue, green, yellow and orange when triggered by ultraviolet light. By changing the materials' chemical composition, the researchers can make them emit different colors."


"The new luminous materials, or phosphors, could improve upon current organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and solid-state lighting. Bright, low-power OLEDs are used in some small screens on cell phones or cameras. At this time, they aren't practical for use in larger displays because of material costs and manufacturing issues."


"The OLEDs of today aren't 100 percent organic, or made of carbon compounds. The organic materials used in them must be spiked with metal to get them to glow."


" 'Purely organic materials haven't been able to generate meaningful phosphorescence emissions. We believe this is the first example of an organic that can compete with an organometallic in terms of brightness and color tuning capability,' said Kim, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, and biomedical engineering."


Click on the link to read the entire article: 

and University of Michigan: 

Image: Marcin Szczepanski, U-M College of Engineering
Venture Capital Investments in Solar Increased Slightly in 2010 


From, January 25, 2011:  "Considering 2009 was a recession year, solar was only slightly up in 2010. After a good second quarter, VC investments trended down in Q3 and Q4," commented Raj Prabhu, Managing Partner at Mercom Capital Group. 2010 VC activity came in at $1.67 billion in 65 transactions, up 18 percent over 2009 ($1.4 billion). There was increased activity in large-scale solar project funding as well as debt and other funding types, pointing to an ease in the availability of credit after a challenging 2009. A total of 148 different investors participated in VC funding rounds in 2010. Credit facilities provided to Chinese companies by Chinese banks came in at an eye popping $34 billion, dwarfing all other transactions in solar in 2010."

"Solar M&A (merger and acquisition) transactions in 2010 totaled $2 billion in 44 deals. Solar project M&A activity amounted to another $450 million in 18 deals out of which only four were disclosed."


"2010 top five investors in solar included Good Energies, New Enterprise Associates, Applied Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Polaris Venture Partners. Project funding investments for 2010 were led by Mizuho Corporate Bank, Natixis, Unicredit Group, BNP Paribas and Centrobanca."


Venture Capital 


Source: Click on link to read full article:

Image: Mercom Capital Group, LLC

Haunted of 'Specter of Unavailability,' Experts Huddle over Critical Materials 


From Science Magazine, December 17, 2010
by Dennis Normile:
 "When shipments of rare earth metals from China to Japan temporarily stopped in the wake of a Rare Earthsterritorial spat this autumn, high-tech companies around the world got an uncomfortable reminder that China owns a stranglehold on supplies of the coveted commodities. The episode might have attracted more attention than China hoped for. The U.S. Department of Energy and counterparts in Japan and Europe have held workshops in recent weeks bringing materials scientists and policymakers together to brainstorm on how to ensure supplies of rare earths and other strategic minerals and to stimulate research on alternatives."


Read more details at:


Source: Science Magazine

Image: Wikipedia. Rare earth elements:   

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In This Issue
Tribology Research Center
Oxide-Based Thin Film Transistors
Stretchable Solar Cells
Flexible and Printed Electronics Struggle
CdTe Solar Cells on Glass
Double-Negative-Index Metamaterials
Quantum Dots
Organic Phosphorescent Crystals
Increase in Capital Investments in Solar
Unavailability of Critical Materials
Vacuum Research

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Veeco provides RF Linear Ion Sources for medium and large scale substrates featuring a broad power range and patented technology that provides reliability and performance. 


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Solid Sealing Technology

Solid Sealing Technology designs and manufactures hermetic assemblies using metalizing, brazing and glass-ceramic sealing including standard and custom Feedthroughs/Connectors for extreme environments and UHV.


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PentaLineTM  Rotary Vane Pumps 

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BellowsTech edge welded metal bellows are manufactured from AM350 or stainless steel for leak-tight applications in semiconductor Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) equipment.

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Phone: 386-615-7530

Fax: 386-615-7973


Hiden March 2011


EQP Mass and Energy Analyser for Plasma Diagnostics 

- Plasma ion analyser for +ve and -ve ion analysis

- Neutrals and neutral radical detection

- For correlation of plasma parameters with film quality   Learn More

E-mail address:

Phone: +44 [0] 1925 445225 (UK)

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or 800-935-1446



Roll Coating System

ULVAC's SPW-030 roll coating system is capable of processing 300 mm wide substrate compositions including thin-gauge metal rolls and polymeric materials for R&D and Pilot-scale production. Learn More

ULVAC Technologies, Inc.

Visit Us Online

Tel: 1-978-686-7550



thin film deposition controllers, monitors and accessories, including customizable sensors and feedthroughs, offer features, function and value targeted to your application.  View our catalog and contact us today!



Rigaku March

Rebuilt Feedthroughs

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Phone: 603-890-6001



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Comdel's latest electrostatic chuck power supply can be configured to deliver from 6 to 10KV of power for reliable handling in large surface processes.  Learn more.


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Choose Evatec's MSP sputter tool for high volume production in 3D technology and enjoy excellent thin film repeatabilities, a proven tool concept and a reliable partner.  Contact Evatec's dedicated USA office for all your local sales and service requirements in thin film technology.

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Coating Advances and its Impact on the Future of the Vacuum Coating Industry

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