Electronics,  Industrial and Manufacturing,  Technology

Critical Factors of Physical Vapor Deposition

Written by: Denton Vacuum, LLC

Prior to the coating process, consider all of the factors that play into quality of the film.

Physical vapor deposition coating, or PVD coating, is one of the simplest and most commonly used methods for deposition. That being said, the process of PVD coating requires the user to focus on critical aspects that directly affect the quality of the deposited material.


The process of PVD coating occurs in a high vacuum environment with plasma being activated to reach extreme temperatures. The temperatures that the substrate is coated with reach a ballpark figure of 450 degrees to 1000 degrees.

Critical Factors

The most critical factor that the user needs to prioritize is the sterility of the surface. Any contaminant or dirty texture will result in a faulty thin film placed.

The sputter deposition system that is being used must be a god tool design and have cutting edge micro-geometry. It’s crucial that the parameters are optimized for minimized risks. Additionally there needs to be proper heat treatment – overheating will cause a drastic decrease in quality.

Be cautious that sharp edges are correctly honed or dulled. This will cause the thin film to tear and end up being a waste. A recommendation is to treat, as well as decontaminate, the surface to prevent any residue from forming.


Through proper care and treatment, there should be a nano-grained, hard, and lubricated coating that has a high quality surface area. In order to come out with the best solution, the proper type of metal must be analyzed prior to beginning the process – the PVD system must configure to the specific metal used. It’s too often that the wrong metal is used, allowing the heat treatment to ruin the film layer.

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