Methods of Physical Vapour Deposition: from Cathodic Arc to Thermal Evaporation

Physical vapour deposing (PVD) is a group of coating processes that allow manufacturers to produce an extremely thin film coating on objects by evaporating the material to be coated forcing it onto the object with a vacuum.

Coatings produced through PVD are regarded as being more durable than other coating processes, able to withstand higher temperatures, greater impacts, and resist corrosion more easily. PVD has widespread applications in a number of industries, including automotive parts manufacturing and optics.

Methods of Physical Vapour Deposition

There are various methods PVD methods, which can be distinguished by the different means of vaporizing the material. We’ll take a look at a few of the most common, including thermal evaporation.

  • Cathodic Arc Deposition, also known as Arc-PVD, this method utilizes an electric arc to generate an extremely high temperature in a localized area in order to vaporize the coating material. It is used to create metallic, ceramic, and composite films.
  • Electron beam evaporation or e-beam evaporation vaporizes the material with an electron beam, which is generated by a thermionic emission, field electron emission or anodic arc. When the beam hits the material, it produces sufficient thermal energy to evaporate the material, which then condenses on the target object to form a thin film coating.
  • Thermal evaporation or evaporative deposition is a simpler form of PVD that heats the material to its evaporation point by joule heating the resistive boat that holds the material. The vaporized particles then travel to the target due to the high-vacuum environment. Angstrom Engineering’s thermal evaporation systemspump the partial pressure of the background gasses in the machine to below the 10-6 Torr range to ensure the purity of the film.
  • Sputter deposition, also called magnetron sputtering, differs from other PVD techniques in that it does not evaporate the target material in order to deposit it on the surface. Rather, the machine fires energetic ions at the material, which cause particles to come loose from its surface and form the thin film coating.