PECVD Coating

Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition is an advanced deposition process used in the application of high-performance nanocomposite coatings.
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We’ve spent decades developing surface solutions for some of the most demanding applications. Chemical Vapor Deposition is one of the technologies we use to apply our proprietary advanced thin-film coatings. More specifically, we use a process called Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition, which we explain in more detail below. If you have questions about PECVD coating technology and how it can enhance your product, reach outSolutions Team; we would love to help.

Solutions Team

What is CVD Coating?

CVD stands for Chemical Vapor Deposition. CVD is a process that produces a thin film coating on a substrate to provide enhanced properties that the substrate alone doesn’t possess. The substrate is the material that is being coated. The coatings are applied at the atomic level in a CVD reactor, making them extremely thin (3 – 5 microns). The coating material undergoes a high temperature reduction or decomposition and is then deposited on the substrate. To modify the characteristics of the coating, the coating material can be combined with other gaseous species in the system to generate compounds like oxides and nitrides.

This short (1 min 17 seconds) video gives a quick overview of the CVD process.

What advantages do CVD coatings offer? 

CVD coatings provide a multitude of advantages, especially when it comes to high-wear components and tools. Some of the advantages include:

CVD coating vs PVD coating

CVD and PVD are both processes used to apply advanced thin films to another material, like a tool or component. How this coating is created is the primary difference between these two processes.

Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) relies on physical reactions to vaporize a liquid source material. Heat is applied to the source material until it reaches its boiling point and then turns into a vapor. This vapor is then deposited as a thin layer onto the surface of the substrate, the material being coated.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) relies on chemical reactions. A chemical reaction occurs between a volatile compound (this is where the thin film comes from) and other suitable gases which result in the atomic deposition of a nonvolatile film on the substrate, or product to be coated.

Unlike PVD, the process of Chemical Vapor Deposition can produce a uniform thin coat on uneven surfaces. Also, CVD is capable of more thoroughly coating the substrate than is PVD.

Another difference between PVD and CVD is that the temperature and duration of the CVD process can be adjusted to control the thickness of the coating. It is more difficult to control the coating thickness with Physical Vapor Deposition.

What is PECVD?

PECVD stands for Plasma-enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition. This type of CVD process uses plasma to “activate” and partially decompose the precursor species, i.e. the coating material. One of the primary advantages of PECVD is that deposition can be achieved at a lower temperature than in non-plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. Radio frequency (rf) techniques are typically employed to generate the plasma used.

What are some ideal applications for PECVD coatings?

The applications suitable for PECVD coatings are expansive and include:

Here at United Protective Technologies, we use PECVD to apply diamond like carbon coatings to a variety of surfaces for our clients. Want to learn more about our process and capabilities? Our Solutions Team can help.

Additional Reading

David L. Chandler provides a great explanation of Chemical Vapor Deposition in the following article. The article also contains the video explainer linked about.

MIT News: Explained: Chemical Vapor Deposition

The following books provide much more in-depth information about PVD technology. We highly recommend them if you would like to dive deep into the world of physical vapor deposition.

pvd coating
Thin Film Materials Stress, Defect Formation, and Surface Evolution – by L.B.Freund & S. Suresh (Amazon link)
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Handbook of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Processing – by David Mattox (Amazon link)

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