Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn   Society of Vacuum CoatersJanuary 2014
In This Issue
By 2017 Non-ITO Film to Make Up 34% of Transparent Conductive Film Market
Vanadium Disulfide - A Promising New Monolayer Material for Li-ion Batteries
New Hologram Technology Created with Nanoantennas
Rare Earth Metal Study - Limited Substitutes
Superlubricity on the Macroscale
2013 Semiconductor Equipment Sales Forecast $32B; Strong Growth Forecast for 2014
Europe Launches GLADIATOR Graphene Project
A Metamaterial to Convert Heat to Light
Fabrication Methods for Adaptive Deformable Mirrors
Multicrystalline Silicon Modules to Dominate Solar PV Industry in 2014
Electronic Skin - A Primer
Midsummer flexes its muscles with CIGS on stainless steel
Touch Panels Based on Metal Mesh Transparent Conductive Films
Highly Stretchable Fiber-Shaped Supercapacitor Nanotubes
By 2017 Non-ITO Film to Make Up 34%
of Transparent Conductive Film Market

From IHS Inc., November 11, 2013: 
"ITO film and glass technology that currently dominates the market for touch-screen display coating is set to face some serious competition in the coming years, as alternative technologies capture a significant share of the market.

ITO now has a massive lead in the market for transparent conductive coatings for touch screens, accounting for 95 percent of film demand by area, according to the new report entitled "Touch-Panel-Use Transparent Conductive Film Report - 2013" from IHS Inc. However, by the end of 2017, area shipment of alternative technologies such as silver nanowire, copper mesh, silver mesh, silver halide, and silver nano particle will account for 34 percent of the market, reducing ITO's share to 66 percent.
Shipments of non-ITO films for touch screens are on track to rise by a spectacular 320% this year, the highest rate of annual growth in the IHS forecast."    
Source: IHS Inc.,   
Image: IHS, Inc.    
Art4Vanadium Disulfide - A Promising New Monolayer Material for Li-ion Batteries 
From Nanowerk Spotlight, December 03, 2013, by Michael Berger:

"As researchers continue to develop the use of graphene in energy storage devices, other two-dimensional (2D) inorganic materials like 2D transition metal disulfides (TMDs) have attracted extensive scientific attention. So far, the investigations of 2D TMDs have focused mostly on MoS2, WS2and SnS2. However, these 2D TMDs are all semiconductors and their poor conductivity has limited their electrochemical performances to some extent. Their applications in Li-ion batteries are usually combined with the additive of conductive carbon materials such as graphene, which however will decrease their gravimetric capacities.

Therefore, metallic 2D TMDs are highly desirable. Since vanadium disulfide (VS2) few-layered nanosheets have been recently achieved experimentally, researchers have been motivated to examine the feasibility of using VS2 monolayer anode for effective lithium storage. Vanadium dioxide is one of the few known materials that acts like an insulator at low temperatures but like a metal at warmer temperatures starting around 67 degrees Celsius.
"Intrinsically metallic, VS2 monolayer has a higher theoretical capacity (466 mAh/g), a lower or similar lithium diffusion barrier compared to MoS2 and graphite, and has a low average open circuit voltage of 0.93 V," Zhongfang Chen, an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico, tells Nanowerk. "Our results suggest that VS2 monolayer can be utilized as a promising anode material for Li-ion batteries with high power density and fast charge/discharge rate."

Image: University of Puerto Rico/Prof. Zhongfang Chen
New Hologram Technology Created with Nanoantennas
From Purdue University News, November 15, 2013: 
"Researchers have created tiny holograms using a "metasurface" capable of the ultra-efficient control of light, representing a potential new technology for advanced sensors, high-resolution displays and information processing. In the metasurface, thousands of V-shaped nanoantennas are formed on an ultrathin gold foil. It could make possible "planar photonics" devices and optical switches small enough to be integrated into computer chips for information processing, sensing and telecommunications. Laser light shines through the nanoantennas, creating the hologram 10 microns above the metasurface. To demonstrate the technology, researchers created a hologram of the word PURDUE smaller than 100 microns wide, or roughly the width of a human hair. The most important thing is that we can do this with a very thin layer, only 30 nanometers, and this is unprecedented," Vladimir M. Shalaev, Director, said. "This means you can start to embed it in electronics, to marry it with electronics." The layer is about 1/23rd the width of the wavelength of light used to create the holograms."

Purdue University,
Image: University of Puerto Rico/Prof. Zhongfang Chen
Art1 Rare Earth Metal Study - Limited Substitutes
From Yale University, December 2, 2013 by Kevin Dennehy
"Many of the metals needed to feed the surging global demand for high-tech products, from smart phones to solar panels, cannot be replaced, leaving some markets vulnerable if resources become scarce", according to a new Yale study.

In a comprehensive analysis, a team of researchers from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) evaluated how all 62 metals or metalloids on the periodic table of elements are used in consumer products, and the extent to which each of those metals could be replaced if reserves dwindle or supplies become unreliable. According to their findings, not one metal has an "exemplary" substitute for all of its major uses. And for a dozen metals, potential substitutes for each of their primary uses are either inadequate or do not exist at all, according to the study, published Dec. 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For the study, the team compiled a list of the major uses for all metals, the proportion of the metals attributed to those uses, and the best substitute materials - if they exist - based on a review of existing literature and interviews with materials scientists, consultancies, and product designers. The researchers then characterized the performance of those substitutes.


While many of the findings were predictable, some results surprised the researchers. For example, for some widely used metals - including copper, chromium, manganese, and lead - no good substitutes exist for their major uses. Other metals with low to very low substitute potential include the metals rhenium, rhodium, thallium, dysprosium, europium and yttrium, and thulium and ytterbium. 
Source: Yale University,
Image: Yale University
Art3 Superlubricity on the Macroscale
From Nanowerk Spotlight, November 7, 2013 by Michael Berger: 
"About 1/3 of the world's primary energy is dissipated in mechanical friction and 80% of machinery components' failure is caused by wear. Friction and wear will also become bottlenecks for micro-/nano-mechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) featured with sliding components.

Superlubricity, a phenomenon where the friction almost vanishes between two solid surfaces, will be the key to solve these problems.  To date, most of the superlubricity observed was realized at the nanoscale and under extreme conditions like high vacuum or by using repulsive van der Waals forces. In the November 3, 2013 online edition of Nature Nanotechnology (
"Superlubricity in centimeters-long double-walled carbon nanotubes under ambient conditions"), researchers at Tsinghua University and Peking University, report a breakthrough in macroscale superlubricity.  The researchers demonstrate, for the first time, that superlubricity could exist in centimeter-long double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) under ambient conditions."

Source: Nanowerk,
Image: Nanowerk/Rufan Zhang(copyright Nature Publishing group)
Art6 2013 Semiconductor Equipment Sales Forecast $32B;
Strong Growth Forecast for 2014

From SEMI, December 3, 2013: 
"SEMI projects that worldwide sales of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment will contract 13.3 % to $32.0 billion in 2013, according to the SEMI Year-end Forecast, released here today at the annual SEMICON Japan exposition.  In 2014, all regions except Rest of World are expected to have strong positive growth, resulting in a global increase of 23.2 % in sales. 2015 sales are expected to continue to grow - increasing 2.4 % with Japan, Europe, Korea, China, and Rest of World regions registering positive growth.

The SEMI Year-end Forecast predicts that wafer processing equipment, the largest product segment by dollar value, is anticipated to decrease 10.7 % in 2013 to total $25.1 billion, on par with 2004 spending levels.

Korea, Taiwan, and North America remain the largest spending regions, though of the three only Taiwan is expected to show an increase in spending for 2013. According to SEMI, in 2013, Taiwan will reach equipment sales of $10.2 billion, with North American sales totaling $5.7 billion and Korea sales registering $5.5 billion."

Source: SEMI,
Image: Wikipedia   
Art7 Europe Launches GLADIATOR Graphene Project
From GLADIATOR Consortium
"GLADIATOR (Graphene Layers: Production, Characterization and Integration) is a research project funded in part by the European Commission (FP7 grant agreement number 604000) that began on 1st November 2013  and will run for three and a half years. GLADIATOR seeks to improve the quality and size of CVD graphene sheets, and to reduce their production costs, in order to make the use of graphene more attractive e.g. in applications such as transparent electrodes for large area organic electronics. The project will achieve this by optimizing the performance of CVD graphene (using doping) increasing the throughput and size of CVD batch reactors improving the process by which graphene is transferred from the CVD catalysts to the application substrate."

Source: GLADIATOR Consortium, 
Image: GLADIATOR Consortium   
Art8 A Metamaterial to Convert Heat to Light
From SPIE Newsroom, November 4, 2013 by Yosuke Ueba and Junichi Takahara: 
"Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) power generation systems recover exhaust heat from various heat sources, such as heat engines or an ironworks rolling process. Until now, TPV systems have been based on microcavity arrays and need deep (i.e., several microns) hole structures on a thick substrate. Advanced dry etching processes are required to achieve these deep-aspect-ratio microstructures and this is challenging over a wide area. In addition, there is no flexibility in such a substrate.

Researchers at Osaka University have studied the control of thermal radiation spectra to develop more efficient converters and proposed a metasurface made up of split-ring resonators (SRRs) for efficient heat-light energy conversion with a remarkably low heat capacity. It is very thin (100nm), compatible with conventional planar processes, and easily expanded to make a very wide, thin and flexible substrate that can, for example, be used to patch heat engines.

Their metasurface is made up of an array of gold SRRs on a plane substrate with glass, chromium, silver, chromium, and silica layers. To fabricate it, they used electron-beam lithography, and then deposited thin layers of chromium (3nm) and gold (80nm) by vacuum deposition. Finally, researchers lifted off the redundant resist. The resonant wavelength is greater than the thickness of the SRRs. Note that the silver layer blocks thermal radiation from the underlying substrate. To measure the thermal emission, they used a Fourier-transform IR spectrometer and a ceramic heater with constant electric power."

Source: SPIE Newsroom,
SPIE Newsroom    
Art9 Fabrication Methods for Adaptive Deformable Mirrors
From NASA Tech Briefs, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, November 1, 2013: 
"Previously, it was difficult to fabricate deformable mirrors made by piezoelectric actuators. This is because numerous actuators need to be precisely assembled to control the surface shape of the mirror. Two approaches have been developed. Both approaches begin by depositing a stack of piezoelectric films and electrodes over a silicon wafer substrate. In the first approach, the silicon wafer is removed initially by plasma-based reactive ion etching (RIE), and non-plasma dry etching with xenon difluoride (XeF2). In the second approach, the actuator film stack is immersed in a liquid such as deionized water. The adhesion between the actuator film stack and the substrate is relatively weak. Simply by seeping liquid between the film and the substrate, the actuator film stack is gently released from the substrate."

NASA Tech Briefs,
NASA Tech Briefs, Jet Propulsion Laboratory   
Art10 Multicrystalline Silicon Modules to Dominate Solar PV Industry in 2014
From NPD Solarbuzz, October 25, 2013:
"The production of multicrystalline-silicon (c-Si) solar PV modules is set to dominate PV manufacturing during 2014, with p-type multi c-Si technology accounting for 62% of all modules produced, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report."

Solar PV manufacturers are currently planning to increase module production by 25% in 2014, to 49.7 GW of modules, compared to the 39.7 GW of modules being produced in 2013. This is in line with the upgraded forecast from NPD Solarbuzz that end-market solar PV demand will reach 45-55 GW next year.

"PV manufacturers continue to prioritize cost-reduction across the entire c-Si value-chain, with improvements in efficiency coming mainly from higher-quality multi c-Si wafers," said Finlay Colville, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz. "While there will inevitably be short-term supply issues throughout the year, polysilicon and wafer supply is considered adequate for 45-50 GW of c-Si module shipments in 2014. Chinese cell and module suppliers will continue to operate a flexible manufacturing strategy, with new capacity expected to come online during 2H'14."

Thin-film production will continue to lose market share, declining from 9.4% in 2013 to 8.9% in 2014. Investments in new thin-film manufacturing equipment declined to an eight-year low during 2013, but are forecast to increase significantly in 2015, as existing suppliers and new entrants into the market add capacity. The top two thin-film suppliers, First Solar and Solar Frontier, will produce almost 85% of all thin-film modules in 2014.

Standard p-type multi c-Si modules will continue to be the leading solar PV technology, with 35% of PV modules produced in 2014. However, the strongest technology share gains in 2014 will come from the advanced p-type multi segment, which includes double-screen-printing, ion-implanting, selective emitters, wrap-through variants, and rear-surface passivation." 
Source: NPD Solarbuzz,
NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly   
Art11 Electronic Skin - A Primer 
From Nanowerk Spotlight, November 15, 2013, by Michael Berger:

Advances in materials, fabrication strategies and device designs for flexible and stretchable electronics and sensors make it possible to envision a not-too-distant future where ultra-thin, flexible circuits based on inorganic semiconductors can be wrapped and attached to any imaginable surface, including body parts and even internal organs. Robotic technologies will also benefit as it becomes possible to fabricate electronic skin ('e-skin') that, for instance, could allow surgical robots to interact, in a soft contacting mode, with their surroundings through touch. In addition to giving robots a finer sense of touch, engineers believe that e-skin technology could also be used to create things like wallpapers that double as touchscreen displays and dashboard laminates that allow drivers to adjust electronic controls with the wave of a hand.

A recent review article in Advanced Materials provides a brief history, design considerations and recent progress in the development of electronic skin. The effort was led by Zhenan Bao from Stanford University.

Design challenges:

    1. Stretchable devices have been difficult to achieve, and new processes and materials are often required.
    2. Developing highly sensitive tactile.  For example, normal force sensing for grasp control, object manipulation, and orientation determination.
    3. Meeting requirements of fabricating large-area flexible arrays needed for the batch production of e-skin.
    4. Developing methods to collect and process such a large amount of information has been a persistent challenge in the field.   Device integration and readout are required. "  
Source: Nanowerk Spotlight,
Image: Wiley-VCH Verlag
Art13 Midsummer flexes its muscles with CIGS on stainless steel
From Compound Semiconductor, November 12, 2013: 
"Swedish firm Midsummer has developed a high speed process for manufacturing CIGS solar cells. The new technology utilizes sputtering of all layers in the solar cell structure. The completely dry, all-vacuum process means less stringent requirements for use in cleanrooms etc.  Midsummer recently achieved 15 percent active area efficiency on an entire 225 cm2 solar cell using this sputtering technology.

By using sputtering in all processing steps, the process cycles in the manufacturing of solar cells can be drastically shortened and the solar cells can be made with a cadmium-free buffer layer. Cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic and exposure to this metal is known to cause cancer and other illnesses.

In the manufacturing process, the CIGS absorber is deposited on a stainless steel substrate, along with electrodes on the front to collect current. The cells are then connected in series and covered by a protective layer of plastic to form a flexible solar module.

The cells are made on 156 x 156 mm substrates stamped out from 0.3 mm thick ordinary ferritic stainless steel. This means the modules can be made without glass. The CIGS solar modules are therefore much lighter, flexible and can be made frameless, to suit applications where traditional silicon solar cells cannot be used, such as on structures that are uneven, moving or weak."

Source: Compound Semiconductor,
Compound Semiconductor

Art14 Touch Panels Based on Metal Mesh Transparent Conductive Films
From Printed Electronics World, November 15, 2013: 
"O-film Tech Co Ltd., the largest touch panel manufacturer in China and currently ranked No. 2 globally, officially announced the start of high volume production of touch panels based on metal mesh transparent conductive films (TCFs), initially at the capacity of 1.5 million panels per month, which will increase depending on the market response. 
The technology, which is unique in the way the metal mesh is constructed, was initially developed in 2011 at the Suzhou NanoGrid Technology Ltd., a startup in Suzhou industrial park, and subsequently transferred to O-film where the mass manufacturing processes were developed.  
Since O-film started to implement the technology for touch panels, it has drawn wide attention in the global mobile and PC manufacturer community. The top 6 world PC manufacturers are all working with O-film to test the new touch panel technology."

Printed Electronics World,
Printed Electronics World

Art15 Highly Stretchable Fiber-Shaped Supercapacitor Nanotubes
From Phys.Org, November 25, 2013: 
"A mobile telephone display for your jacket sleeve, ECG probes for your workout clothes-wearable electronics are in demand. In order for textiles with built-in electronics to function over longer periods of time, all of the components need to be flexible and stretchable. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese researchers have now introduced a new type of supercapacitor that fulfills this requirement. Its components are fiber-shaped and based on carbon nanotubes.

A team led by Huisheng Peng at Fudan University has now developed a new family of highly stretchable, fiber-shaped, high-performance supercapacitors. The devices are made by a winding process with an elastic fiber at the core. The fiber is coated with an electrolyte gel and a thin layer of carbon nanotubes is wound around it like a sheet of paper. This is followed by a second layer of electrolyte gel, another layer of carbon nanotube wrap, and a final layer of electrolyte gel.

The delicate "sheets" of carbon nanotubes are produced by CVD and a spinning process. In the sheets this method produces, the tiny tubes are aligned in parallel. These types of layers display a remarkable combination of properties: They are highly flexible, tear-resistant, conductive, and thermally and mechanically stable. In the wound fibers, the two layers of carbon nanotubes act as electrodes. The electrolyte gel separates the electrodes from each other while stabilizing the nanotubes during stretching so that their alignment is maintained. This results in supercapacitor fibers with a high capacity that is maintained after many stretching cycles."

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2014 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit

April 21-25, 2014 | Moscone West | San Francisco, California, USA  


The 2014 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting & Exhibit features many new and emerging areas of materials research and an exciting mix of well-established and popular topics such as:
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  • Nanomaterials
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Upcoming Events

7th Symposium on Functional Coatings and Surface Engineering
Montreal, Quebec, Canada 
June 15 to 18, 2014 


The symposium will feature the latest advances in the area of deposition and surface engineering processes, materials and properties of coatings and thin film systems suitable for optical, optoelectronic, aerospace, energy-control, biomedical, micro-system and other applications.

This event includes invited lectures by leading experts, original oral and poster presentations, short courses, hands-on workshops, table top exhibits, and social and networking events. 


Submission of abstracts: January 31, 2014.
Registration: April 30, 2014. 

Upcoming Events

5th Int'l Conference on Fundamentals & Industrial
Applications of HIPIMS 
HIPIMS 2014 Conference 
June 30 - July 3, 2014  |  Cutlers' Hall at Sheffield Hallam University  |  Sheffield, United Kingdom 


Featuring a full-day and two half-day Tutorial Courses offered by the Society of Vacuum Coaters   


Monday June 30, 2014 
SVC C-323:
 High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering - full day 
Instructors: Prof. Arutiun P. Ehiasarian of Sheffield Hallam University & Dr. André Anders, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA


Tuesday, July 1, 2014 
SVC C-338:
 Application of Reactive Sputtering - half day AM 
Instructor: Dr. Ralf Bandorf, Fraunhofer IST, Germany   
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Instructors: Prof. Arutiun P. Ehiasarian of Sheffield Hallam University & Ralf Bandorf, Fraunhofer IST, Germany

Upcoming Events

14th International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering 

Conference and Exhibition
September 15-19, 2014
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Abstract Due Date: January 31, 2014
Early Bird Registration up to: July 1, 2014 (on-line only)

Featuring a full-day Tutorial Course offered by the Society of Vacuum Coaters
Thursday, September 18, 2014
C-306: Non-Conventional Plasma Sources and Methods in Processing Technology
Instructors: Hana Baránková and Ladislav Bárdos, Uppsala University, Sweden

The biennial PSE conference series is organized by the European Joint Committee on Plasma and Ion Surface Engineering. PSE provides an opportunity to present recent progress in research and development and industrial applications. Its topics span a wide range from fundamentals such as process modeling and simulation of plasmas or thin film physics, through empirical studies, which establish the relationships between process parameters and the structural and functional properties of modified surfaces and/or thin films, towards the application in industrial production.

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