Product novelty 23. September 2022

Spatial ALD system

With a new Spatial ALD system, the LZH can now also uniformly coat complex-shaped optics. The innovative system achieves higher deposition rates than previously possible - and is of interest, among others, for applications in the automotive lighting or VR/AR sectors. ALD (atomic layer deposition) technology can produce very thin, high-quality coatings. So far, the ALD process has been used primarily to produce thin functional layers in the semiconductor industry, for example. The new Spatial ALD system of the LZH, which was developed in cooperation with the company Beneq, now makes another application that is in high demand in industry economically viable. It achieves high deposition rates in the production of ultra-thin coating systems for optics and enables the uniform coating of complexly shaped surfaces. ALD is based on self-limiting chemical reactions between gaseous precursors and substrate surfaces. In systems commonly used at present, the process reactions are carried out one after the other, which necessitates a time-consuming gas exchange of the entire reaction chamber. This is different in the Spatial ALD system at the LZH: Here, the process cycles take place spatially separated. The system has four individual process chambers separated by pressure and nitrogen, in each, an ALD reaction step is completed. The substrates then rotate into the next chamber. In this way, the scientists achieve deposition rates that were previously only possible with other coating processes. This makes the process particularly economical and at the same time enables high throughput in optical coating.