Physical vapor deposition (PVD) is a coating technique, involving transfer of material on an atomic level by evaporation and deposition through vacuum. The term applies to any of a variety of methods used to deposit thin films through condensation in a vaporized state of the material onto various surfaces such as semiconductor wafers.
Carried out under vacuum conditions, the process starts with the evaporation of the solid material in a high temperature vacuum after being hit with a highly focused beam of electrons or ions.
Next, the material is transported to the wafer or substrate from its target site. If the coatings will consist of metal, PVD then involves the reaction stage, where the target consists of the same metal (If the coating will not contain metal, this step is unnecessary).
The atoms of the metal will then react with a gas during the transport stage, such as oxygen or methane, allowing for a reaction to take place. Last is deposition, where the coating builds up on the surface of the wafer or substrate.
Physical vapor deposition is carried out for several reasons, such as improving wear resistance, reducing the friction of a wafer or substrate and improving oxidation resitance. By using these types of coatings, the substrate gains an improved efficiency through greater performance and a longer component life.
PVD also permits the coated components to continue working in environments that the original component would not be able to perform in without the coating. Due to the non-chemical aspects of this procedure, physical vapor deposition can deposit the target material with improvements in comparison to the substrate material. It is also an environmentally friendly process, creating little waste or complications.
In order to determine the most advantageous method of physical vapor deposition, the following must be examined:
Physical vapor deposition is used in many fields, such as the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. Because PVD improves oxidation resistance, it is also useful for firearms and instruments used for cutting, though use of this process is not widespread.