August 2016 SVConnections
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedIn  Society of Vacuum Coaters
August 2016

Platinum, Puddles and Water's True Nature

From Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), May 2016: 
"At DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists conduct detailed studies on the nature of water, which affects nearly every aspect of life on the planet. But the water disappeared before the experiments that required ultrahigh vacuum could begin. So Dr. Greg Kimmel and his colleagues devised a new method. It lets the water stick around and produces a "stop action movie."

Using this technique, they captured water's motion every 10 nanoseconds, or hundred millionth of a second. They found that the tiny melted ice crystallites form pools of water that eventually spread across the surface. Some theories postulated that the water wouldn't wet the water surface, but researchers found that the water droplets do actually spread out and cover the surface. This study describes in detail how water interacts with surfaces on the nanoscale. Controlling the anomalous interactions between water and surfaces could alter a great deal of how we design coatings and tackle the nation's energy issues
Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Image: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Researchers Build the World's Tiniest Engine

From the University of Cambridge (UK), May 2, 2016: 
"Researchers have developed the world's tiniest engine - just a few billionths of a meter in size - which uses light to power itself. The nanoscale engine, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, could form the basis of future nano-machines that can navigate in water, sense the environment around them, or even enter living cells to fight disease.

The prototype device is made of tiny charged particles of gold, bound together with temperature-responsive polymers in the form of a gel. When the 'nano-engine' is heated to a certain temperature with a laser, it stores large amounts of elastic energy in a fraction of a second, as the polymer coatings expel all the water from the gel and collapse. This has the effect of forcing the gold nanoparticles to bind together into tight clusters. But when the device is cooled, the polymers take on water and expand, and the gold nanoparticles are strongly and quickly pushed apart, like a spring. The forces exerted by these tiny devices are several orders of magnitude larger than those for any other previously produced device, with a force per unit weight nearly a hundred times better than any motor or muscle

Source: University of Cambridge (UK)
Image: University of Cambridge (UK) Nanophotonics / Yu Ji


Graphene-Based Reversible
Nano-Switch/Sensor Schottky Diode Device
From NASA, July 2016:
"NASA's Glenn Research Center has developed a groundbreaking new microsensor that detects toxic gases and explosives in a variety of environments. Most devices can perform only a unidirectional sensing task, lacking a switching feature that would allow the device to return to baseline operation after the volatile species is removed or has dissipated. Glenn's nano-Switch Sensor Schottky Diode (nanoSSSD) device consists of a thin film of graphene deposited on a specially prepared silicon wafer. Graphene's two-dimensional properties make this technology both extremely sensitive to different gases and highly reliable in harsh, enclosed, or embedded conditions. The nanoSSSD can be connected to a visual and/or sound alarm that is autonomously triggered as the sensor detects a selected gas and then returned to its passive mode when the gas is no longer present. The innovation has applications in biomedical devices, combustion engines, and detection/switching devices used in mass transit systems."
Image: NASA


ALD Coating Boosts Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

From Missouri S&T, May 4, 2016,
by Joe McCune
"Missouri University of Science and Technology researchers are working to solve the problem of short-life of lithium-ion batteries like those used in laptops and cellphones, making them reliable and longer-lasting using atomic layer deposition (ALD).

Researchers dope and coat lithium magnesium nickel oxygen (LMNO) with iron oxide through ALD - at the same time. Unlike current research practice that either covers the particles' surface with insulating film or dopes the particles to improve the performance of the battery, this ALD process combines the coating and doping processes into one. This is the first report for a unique phenomenon of ionic iron entering the lattice structure of LMNO during the ALD coating process.

The work is done with an ALD reactor system that the researchers built, and the coating process is carried out at 450 degrees Celsius under reduced pressure. The materials are placed inside a fluidized bed reactor, and vibrating motors shake the reactor to improve the mixing of particles and gaseous chemicals

Source: Missouri S&T
Image: Missouri S&T


A New Family of Dielectric

From Materials Views, May 3, 2016,
by Nadezda Panarina
"In the last decade it was shown that metallic alloys containing typically five or more elements could form solid solutions driven by large entropy of configuration. Some of these alloys, named high entropy alloys, have been thoroughly studied due to their remarkable physical properties. Researchers recently established that, similarly, a new class of oxide materials can be stabilized by entropy of configuration, the newly called "entropy-stabilized oxides". It has been shown in this initial report that mixing five equimolar bivalent oxides, heated at high temperature and quenched, yielded an unexpected compound with rock-salt structure.

A team from ICMMO (Institut de Chimie Moléculaire d'Orsay) of Université Paris-Saclay (France) recently showed that these compounds can be substituted with aliovalent elements (i.e. having different valence). The elements have charge compensation mechanisms, which widens the compositional phase space to a huge number of variants, and probably properties and applications. Examples of compositions developed in Orsay are (Mg,Co,Ni,Cu,Zn)1-xLixO,
(Mg,Co,Ni,Cu,Zn)1-2xLixGaxO, (Li,Mg,Co,Ni,Cu,Zn)O,
(Mg,Co,Ni, Cu,Zn)1-x(LiGa)xO and are called high entropy oxides.

Source: Materials Views
Image: Materials Views


Squeezing Out Opal-Like Colors By the Mile

From Cambridge University (UK), June 3, 2016: 
"Researchers at the University of Cambridge have devised a new method for stacking microscopic marbles into regular layers, producing intriguing materials which scatter light into intense colours, and which change colour when twisted or stretched. The team has invented a way to make such sheets on industrial scales, opening up applications ranging from smart clothing for people or buildings, to banknote security.

Using a new method called Bend-Induced-Oscillatory-Shearing (BIOS), the researchers are now able to produce hundreds of metres of these materials, known as 'polymer opals', on a roll-to-roll process. The results are reported in the journal Nature Communications
Source: Cambridge University (UK)
Image: Cambridge University (UK)


The Future of Low-Cost Solar Cells

From Chemical and Engineering News, May 2, 2016,
by Mitch Jacoby:
"Emerging photovoltaic technologies based on dye-sensitized solar cells, organic compounds, perovskite materials, and quantum dots garner intense coverage in the science press. Compared with traditional silicon solar cells, the emerging ones promise to be less expensive, thinner, more flexible, and amenable to a wide range of lighting conditions, all of which make them suitable for a host of applications beyond rooftop and solar-farm panels - silicon's bailiwick.

Which of these emerging technologies are well on their way to market? What technical challenges are holding up the others? Are they being developed by technology incubators and start-up companies
? Read further for the answers and examples of the dozens of companies working to commercialize these technologies and the technical challenges they face in bringing products to market."

Source: Chemical and Engineering News
Image: Solaronix SA, Switzerland


Enhancing the Efficiency of White LEDs via Reflection

From SPIE Newsroom, April 20, 2016,
by Chien-Chung Lin, et al.
"Color uniformity is an important parameter in the fabrication of white LEDs. LEDs with a remote structure (i.e., those in which the phosphor is placed at a distance from the LED chip) have excellent luminous efficiency because the probability of blue-photon absorption is increased. However, these devices exhibit worse color uniformity than typical devices. This is because of the elevated location of the phosphor layer, which causes the angular dependence of the emitted blue and yellow photons to be very different and gives rise to a phenomenon called 'yellow ring.'

In the yellow ring phenomenon, a band of yellow is visible around the circumference of the emitted light. Distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs)-1D photonic crystal structures composed of alternating dielectric layers with different refractive indices that enable high reflectivity-show promise for overcoming this issue in remote-phosphor LEDs. Furthermore, the design of DBRs is versatile and, by changing the thickness of dielectric layers, a suitable stop-band (i.e., range of reflected wavelengths) can be achieved.

Researchers at the National Chiao-Tung University (Taiwan) have fabricated a white remote-phosphor LED with excellent characteristics by using a DBR coating. The DBR structure is comprised of alternating hafnium oxide/silicon dioxide (HfO2/SiO2) layers. This structure optimizes reflectivity and angular correlated color temperature (CCT) uniformity when it is used in a remote-phosphor (yttrium aluminum garnet) white LED."

Source: SPIE Newsroom
Image: SPIE Newsroom


Using Nanostructured Filters to Reduce Shipping Pollution

From Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, France),
May 4, 2016, by
Cécilia Carron:
"Cargo ships are among the leading sources of pollution on the planet. Starting in 2020, however, stricter sulfur emission standards will take effect. A low-cost solution for reaching the new targets may come from an EPFL start-up, Daphne Technology, which is developing a nanostructured filter for use in a ship's exhaust stacks.

Manufacturing the filters is similar to manufacturing solar cells. A thin metal plate - titanium in this case - is nanostructured in order to increase its surface area, and a number of substances are deposited in extremely thin layers. The plates are then placed vertically and evenly spaced, creating channels through which the toxic gases travel. The gases are captured by the nanostructured surfaces.

The main challenges now are to figure out a way to make these filters on large surfaces, and to bring down the cost. It was at EPFL's Swiss Plasma Center that researcher Mario Michan found a machine that he could modify to meet his needs; It uses plasma to deposit thin layers of substances."

Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, France)
Image: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, France)/Alain Herzog


Combining Two Thin-Film Materials Yields Surprising Room-Temperature Magnetism

From MIT, May 9, 2016,
by David Chandler
"A new and unexpected magnetic effect has taken researchers by surprise, and could open up a new pathway to advanced electronic devices and even robust quantum computer architecture. The finding is based on a family of materials called topological insulators (TIs) that has drawn much interest in recent years. The novel electronic properties of TIs might ultimately lead to new generations of electronic, spintronic, or quantum computing devices. The materials behave like ordinary insulators throughout their interiors, blocking electrons from flowing, but their outermost surfaces are nearly perfect conductors, allowing electrons to move freely. The confinement of electrons to this vanishingly thin surface makes then behave in unique ways.

The team at MIT was able to bond together several molecular layers of a topological insulator material called bismuth selenide (Bi2Se3) with an ultrathin layer of a magnetic material, europium sulfide (EuS). The resulting bilayer material retains all the exotic electronic properties of a TI and the full magnetization capabilities of the EuS. But the big surprise was the stability of that effect. While EuS itself is known to retain its ability to hold a magnetic state only at extremely low temperatures, just 17 degrees above absolute zero (17 Kelvin), the combined material keeps those characteristics all the way up to ordinary room temperature.
Source: MIT
Image: MIT/Ferhat Katmis


Making Some of the World's Most Durable Materials Corrosion-Resistant

From Drexel University, May 25, 2016:
"So impressive is their perceived durability, that borides are used as coatings for surfaces that must survive the harshest environments - from the inside of combustion engines to cutting tools for hard metals. Borides are hard, heat-resistant materials, often used for coating structures that will have to withstand high temperatures and high-pressure environments. But even the best borides are susceptible to oxidation.

But researchers from Drexel University, Linkoping University in Sweden and Imperial College London have produced an aluminum-layered boride whose unique behavior at high temperatures keeps it one step ahead of nature's slow march toward high- temperature chemical degradation. To make their boride material, called molybdenum aluminum boride (MoAlB), researchers combined a molybdenum-boron lattice with a double layer of aluminum to produce a material that is durable enough to resist oxidation at extremely high temperatures. The key to this remarkable characteristic is the material's nanolaminated structure with alternating layers of molybdenum boride and aluminum."

Source: Drexel University
Image: Drexel University


Molybdenum Disulfide Holds Promise for Light Absorption

From Rice University, May 4, 2016,
by Jade Boyd
"Mechanics know molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) as a useful lubricant in aircraft and motorcycle engines and in the CV and universal joints of trucks and automobiles. Rice University engineering researcher Isabell Thomann knows it as a remarkably light-absorbent substance that holds promise for the development of energy-efficient optoelectronic and photocatalytic devices.

Using a layer of molybdenum disulfide that is only 0.7 nanometers thick, researchers in Rice University's Thomann Lab were able to design a system that absorbed more than 35 percent of incident light in the 400- to 700-nanometer wavelength range."

Source: Rice University 
Image: Rice University/Thomann Group


Integration of Semiconducting Sulfides for Full-Spectrum Solar Energy Absorption and Efficient Charge Separation

From Materials Views, May 10, 2016: 
"The full harvest of solar energy by semiconductor requires a material to absorb full-spectrum of solar radiation and collect photo-generated electrons and holes separately.

A team at the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Micrscale (HFNL, China), Department of Chemistry, and University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), has recently constructed a unique ternary sulfide
-[ZnS-CdS-Cu2-xS]-ZnS- heteronanorod, one ZnS nanorod with segmented CdS node sheaths integrated by Cu2-xS sections through a colloidal chemical transformation strategy. The synthesized ternary heteronanorods show an expanded absorption region, including UV, visible and NIR. The integration of increased solar absorption and efficient charge separation leads to the performance improvement in solar energy conversion application.
Source: Materials Views
Image: Materials Views


Combining Nanotextured Surfaces with the Leidenfrost Effect for Extreme Water Repellency

From AIP Publishing, May 17, 2016:
"Combining superhydrophobic surfaces with Leidenfrost levitation-picture a water droplet hovering over a hot surface rather than making physical contact with it - has been explored extensively for the past decade by researchers hoping to uncover the holy grail of water-repellent surfaces.

In a new twist, a group of South Korean researchers from Seoul National University and Dankook University report an anomalous water droplet-bouncing phenomenon generated by Leidenfrost levitation on nanotextured surfaces. The Leidenfrost effect can help produce a liquid droplet dancing on a hot surface by floating it on a cushion of its own vapor. The vapor film between the droplet and heated surface allows the droplet to bounce off the surface-also known as the 'dynamic Leidenfrost phenomenon.'

Researchers developed a special 'nonwetting, nanotextured surface' so they could delve into the dynamic Leidenfrost effect's impact on the material. The nanotextured surface was verified to be 'nonwetting' via thermodynamic analysis. This analytical approach shows that the water droplet isn't likely to penetrate into the surface's nanoholes, which is advantageous for designing nonwetting, water-repellant systems. And the water droplet bouncing was powered by the synergetic combination of the nonwetting surface-often called a 'Cassie surface' - and the Leidenfrost effect."
Image: AIP/Lee and Song


Understanding the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant Process

From Advanced Materials and Processes, May 2016, by Jaimie Tiley et al. (Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH): 
"The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Arlington, Va., is dedicated to the discovery and development of the basic science that shapes the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, opportunities for significant scientific advancements and breakthrough research being conducted internationally are identified through the AFOSR.

AFOSR typically awards more than 1600 grants per year totaling approximately $330 - $470 million to leading academic institutions. These grants usually range from $200 - $400K per year and typically last from one to five years. Over 90% of these resources are spent within the U.S.. While obtaining a research grant might seem straightforward, many find navigating the red tape associated with new awards difficult. This article attempts to facilitate the grant application process by explaining funding considerations and providing application advice. In particular, proposals must target research that meets a scientific need for the U.S. Air Force."

Image: ASM International

Advertising Index

Ulvac April 2015
Advanced Energy March 2015

Rigaku SVConnections August 2016
BellowsTech Jan 2015
Nor-Cal SVConnections August 2016


Thin Films Research Inc

Agilent#2 July 2016

Pfeiffer SVConnections A4
Burkert April 2015

On-Demand Webinars July 2016
Advertise in SVConnections

2016 Optics Photonics SPIE

Optics + Photonics
August 28 - September 1, 2016
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA, USA

Plan to attend SPIE Optics + Photonics 2016, the largest international, multidisciplinary optical sciences and technology meeting in North America. The meeting where the latest research in optical engineering and applications, nanotechnology, sustainable energy, and organic photonics is presented.

Online Advance Program now available. Conference Topics Include:
Visit for more information and to register.

PSE 2016


PSE 2016
15th International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering
Congress Centre
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
September 12-16, 2016

The 15th International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering will be held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in September 12 - 16, 2016. The biennial PSE conference series is organized by the European Joint Committee on Plasma and Ion Surface Engineering.

PSE 2016 will feature an SVC Tutorial on September 15, 2016:
C-328 Properties and Applications of Tribological Coatings, 
with Allan Matthews, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom

With a continuously growing interest in the preceding PSE events, with more than 750 participants from all over the world in 2014, PSE is a well-established and leading forum in the field of plasma as well as ion- and particle-beam assisted surface modification and thin film technologies, which is accompanied by a prosperous industrial exhibition.

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 modelling and simulation of plasmas or thin film physics through experimental 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.

Visit the conference Web Page to learn more: 

Stress Workshop

Stress Evolution in Thin Films and Coatings
From Fundamental Understanding to Control
Joint ICMCTF-SVC Workshop
October 2-5, 2016
Embassy Suites Hotel, O'Hare-Rosemont
Chicago, IL, USA

The aim of this international workshop is to discuss recent advances and cutting edge technologies in understanding, determination and control of stress in thin films and coatings. It constitutes a unique forum to address the fundamental and applied research as well as technological problems and solutions in this field, bringing together scientists and technologists from both academia and industry.
The format of the Workshop includes tutorials and invited talks from renowned experts, as well as contributed oral and poster presentations organized over 2.5 days in a single session, complemented by a table top exhibit and networking events.
Short Courses: October 2, 2016
Understanding and Control of Stresses in PVD Thin Films
Instructor: Grégory Abadias Université de Poitiers (FR)
Thin Film Nucleation, Growth, and Microstructural Evolution
Instructor: J.E. Greene, University of Illinois (US)
Register On-line before September 5 and save.

Do You Have an Interesting Article to Share?

Interested in sharing the latest news in vacuum coating technology? Forward us a link to an article you want to share with the rest of the SVC readership to Purchase advertising space in this newsletter by contacting SVC at 

Society of Vacuum Coaters 
9639 Kinsman Road
Materials Park, OH  44073-0002