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Thin films are thin material layers ranging from fractions of a nanometre to several micrometres in thickness. Electronic semiconductor devices and optical coatings are the main applications benefiting from thin film construction. Some work is being done with ferromagnetic thin films as well for use as computer memory.
Additional recommended knowledge
Ceramic thin films are also in wide use. The relatively high hardness and inertness of ceramic materials make this type of thin coating of interest for protection of substrate materials against corrosion, oxidation and wear. In particular, the use of such coatings on cutting tools may extend the life of these items by several orders of magnitude.
Thin-film technologies are also being developed as a means of substantially reducing the cost of photovoltaic (PV) systems. The rationale for this is that thin-film modules are expected to be cheaper to manufacture owing to their reduced material costs, energy costs, handling costs and capital costs. However, thin films have had to be developed using new semiconductor materials, including amorphous silicon, copper indium diselenide, cadmium telluride and film crystalline silicon. In all cases, these technologies face major technical and financial hurdles.
The engineering of thin films is complicated by the fact that their physics is in some cases not well understood. In particular, the problem of dewetting may be hard to solve, as there is ongoing debate and research into some processes by which this may occur.
High precision thin film deposition on large substrates
One of the major barriers met in thin film deposition is the ability to coat large dimension substrates whilst obtaining high precision results with mono or multi-layer deposition. The HiTUS plasma sputter deposition technology together with the Linear Target technology has demonstrated major improvements in desired results such as precision, uniformity, stress control from compressive to tensile with zero in between, and roughness on substrates measuring up to and over and above 50 to 60 cm. The Linear Target also enables the development of a large area linear process with the same advantages as HiTUS for roll-to-roll or in-line processes.
Metallo-organic decomposition (MOD)
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Thin_film". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|