Technology Competence

Experience and Innovation

With more than 55 years of experience in electron beam processes and over 40 years of know-how in vacuum coating, VON ARDENNE is one of the leading providers of equipment and technologies in PVD thin-film technology and vacuum process technology.

VON ARDENNE is able to turn product property requirements into efficient and competitive coating solutions, which is an essential precondition for individual machine concepts.

Intellectual Property

VON ARDENNE is an innovative company conducting its own research and development. In order to do that in an international environment, we have to deal thoroughly with intellectual property. That includes both the intellectual property rights of third parties and our own intellectual property such as innovations, creative ideas and inventions.

Our strategy requires a targeted research of current intellectual property rights as well as consistent protection of our own technological achievements.

Our company can rely on more than 700 national and international patent applications, patents and utility models in all relevant fields of technology.

Patent applications at the German Patent And Trademark Office
Patent applications at the German Patent And Trademark Office

Applications, Substrates & Functional Layers

VON ARDENNE coating systems and components are applied in different industries for various applications. The substrates that are coated with our equipment are just as diverse as the applications. This diversity is characterized by

  • Material (glass, metal, silicon, polymer films, textiles …)
  • Shape (flat or three-dimensional surfaces)
  • Property (rigid or flexible)
  • Substrate width (a few millimeters up to 330 cm)
  • Substrate length (a few millimeters up to several kilometers in roll-to-roll coating)

We have profound experience with the handling of all these different substrates and with depositing functional layers on them.

This know-how is incorporated continuously into our innovations and is indispensable for finding new coating and handling solutions for such sophisticated substrates as flexible glass.

VON ARDENNE supports customers from their first idea to the laboratory and pilot production stage and finally to scaling the technology up for large-scale production.


Which deposition processes do we master?

Pre-treatment

HEATING, GLOW DISCHARGE & SPUTTER ETCHING

Most PVD-coating processes need an adequate pre-treatment to achieve good adhesion and excellent layer properties. Depending on the substrate layer combination, various pre-treatment processes can be used with VON ARDENNE equipment.

Controlled heating is used to remove water and other volatile surface contaminations from substrates as glass, web or metal strip. The heating is carried out by various types of radiation heaters according to their heating power and radiation wavelength range. For very high heating powers on conductive substrates, electron beam heating is applied.

If substrates are heat sensitive, low energy ion bombardment generated by a glow discharge in argon or/and reactive gases is used to avoid high substrate temperatures.

Sputter etching is suitable for removing solid contaminants and also substrate material by bombarding with atoms and ions at high energy (~100 eV). Depending on the application, magnetron sputter etchers, inverse high-frequency etchers or linear ion sources (LION) are used.


Magnetron Sputtering

HOW IT WORKS AND WHAT WE OFFER

With magnetron sputtering, a magnetic field-enhanced plasma discharge is generated in a medium vacuum and a defined gas atmosphere. The coating material, which is called target, is sputtered by bombarding it with positive gas ions. The particles of the coating material condense on the substrate as a continuous thin film. Magnetron sputter sources enable the highly precise deposition of complex layer systems at a high uniformity and on large areas.

The key component for magnetron sputtering is the magnetron. VON ARDENNE manufactures all key components for its equipment in-house.

Wide Single Magnetron WSM
Wide Single Magnetron WSM
Standard Single Magnetron SSM/SSM
Standard Single Magnetron SSM/SSM
Rotatable Dual Magnetron RDM
Rotatable Dual Magnetron RDM
Rotatable Single Magnetron RSM/RSM
Rotatable Single Magnetron RSM/RSM
Rotatable Multi-Mode Magnetron RMM
Rotatable Multi-Mode Magnetron RMM

VON ARDENNE Magnetrons

VON ARDENNE magnetrons are available for a wide range of applications. Thanks to many years of experience gained from designing and installing advanced sputtering equipment, we can offer a complete portfolio of solutions from AC to DC processes, planar to rotatable applications and even magnetrons with integrated turbopumps.

MAGNET BARS & MAGNET SYSTEMS

All magnet bars and magnet systems are similar in mechanical design and therefore interchangeable. They offer the following benefits:

  • High flexibility and thereby adaptable to specified applications
  • Stronger magnetic fields provides lower process voltage, which makes them ideal for processes where lowest layer perturbations are required
  • Weaker magnetic fields are possible for special applications 
  • VON ARDENNE achieves superior uniformities with all available magnetrons

ANODE DESIGN

VON ARDENNE offers different anode design solutions to meet the requirements of a wide range of industries and applications.

There are basic solutions such as using the dark shield as anode for our wide single magnetrons, or more sophisticated designs such as the dual anode system (DAS) for rotatable magnetrons.

Our latest developments:

  • U-shaped anode integrated into our Rotatable Dual Magnetron for DC/DC applications for multi-application purposes with maximum process development flexibility
  • Magnetron hardware enabled for thin-film deposition in DC and AC mode within one component

GAS INLET SYSTEM

  • State-of-the art binary system
  • Fully integrated solution for the gas delivery system and manifold with precise gas mixtures and balance
  • Fast reaction times
  • Highest stability resulting in best layer uniformity and process control
  • Enables reactive gas application equipped with the VON ARDENNE Process Control System (VAprocos) without further modifications

ELECTRON BEAM EVAPORATION AND MELTING

FUNCTION & EXPERIENCE

The electron beam is a powerful tool for heat treatment processes and for melting and evaporating metals and alloys.

The coating process is started by generating a deflectable beam in vacuum from the electron beam gun. It is focused on the surface of the material to be evaporated, which is placed in a crucible. In the case of evaporation, the high power impact of the electron beam on the coating material generates a stream of atoms with a high deposition rate.

This vapor stream settles on the coating surface and forms a thin functional layer on it. During that process, the substrate can be moved through the vapor stream.

Deposition rates can be increased 10 to 100 times with a single electron beam evaporation process compared to magnetron sputtering.

VON ARDENNE develops and manufactures electron beam systems which are used for melting, refining, evaporation or heat treatment.

The first electron beam gun was developed in 1960 at the Manfred von Ardenne Research Institute. Our more than 55 years of experience are reflected in over 400 electron beam systems installed worldwide.

Our current EH150V, EH300V and EH800V electron beam guns are the most powerful in the world. We work on the continuous improvement of our key components at our development center for electron beam technologies. This is where we produce and test our high-quality electron beam guns.

APPLICATIONS

  • High-rate evaporation of metals, alloys and compounds
  • Melting of metals, alloys and compounds
  • Heat treatment of different materials, especially metal strip (preheating in evaporation plants, annealing)

Customer Benefits

  • Power control by means of a patented VARIOCATHODE
  • High degree of pressure decoupling
  • Internal valve to separate EB gun from process chamber
  • Quick and simple changing of cathode plug
  • Ease of handling and maintenance
  • High reliability
  • High acceleration voltage up to 60 kV
  • Magnetically self-focusing beam

Further Deposition Processes

PECVD & Thermal Evaporation

Apart from the technologies described above, VON ARDENNE offers two more options with which our machines can be equipped to deposit homogeneous and reliable functional layers: PECVD and thermal evaporation.

For applications requiring PECVD (plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition), the following deposition sources are used:

  • CCP capacitively coupled plasma
  • ICP inductively coupled plasma
  • Hollow cathode plasma lamps

For thermal evaporation, these two methods are used:

  • Boat evaporation
  • Jet evaporation

With PEVCD and thermal evaporation, the following layers and layer functions can be created:

  • Diamond-like amorphous carbon layers, DLC
  • Silicon Oxynitride layers
  • Silicon nitride barrier layers
  • Amorphous silicon oxide layers
  • Sodium barrier layers
  • Anti-reflective layers, ARC
  • Hydrophobic layers

In both cases, Hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) or Tetramethyldisiloxane (TMDSO) act as precursors.


TEMPERING / RAPID THERMAL PROCESSING

Flash lamp annealing

Tempering processes are often the means of choice in thin-film technology to improve electrical or optical properties. However, conventional tempering processes are time-consuming and energy-intensive.

Furthermore, they cause thermo-mechanical stress within the substrate, which can lead to defects. They also require long heating processes.

In thin-film technology, these cause diffusion processes and make the use of additional barrier layers necessary. Because of all that, the manufacturing process is more complex and more expensive.

Flash lamp annealing, on the other hand, offers crucial advantages: It causes no or only minor thermo-mechanical stress within the substrate and subdues diffusion processes. Therefore, there is no need for additional barrier layers.

WHAT WE OFFER WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY

We offer our partners our technology expertise in flash lamp annealing in order to develop further fields of applications with them.

PROMISING PROCESS APPROACHES

CONDUCTIVE LAYERS like metals, metal pastes, metal oxides, semiconductors for:

  • Photovoltaics
  • Displays
  • OLED

SOL GEL COATINGS with anti-reflective, anti-corrosion and scratch resistance properties for: 

  • Household products
  • Architecture
  • Automotive industry
  • Photovoltaics

REFLECTIVE AND DECORATIVE LAYERS like paints, enamels, lacquers and laminates for:

  • Surface finishing
  • Packaging
  • Architectural glass
  • Automotive industry

Monitoring & Measuring Systems

Quality assurance, quality monitoring for coatings on glass

  • Functional coatings for PV
  • Optical coatings, low emissivity coatings

Optical characterisation and sheet resistance measurement

Benefits

Enhance your quality by easier quality control (QC)

  • See the real quality parameters inline already during production
  • Check your insulating glass parameters in real-time
  • Reduce your efforts in dummy sample handling and laboratory measurements

Enhance your quality by better quality assurance (QA)

  • Fully traceable operation and administration of quality criteria and measurement recipes for QA/QC acc. to ISO 9001

Make it your own

  • Software is expandable with your own customer specific visualization
  • Open for integration of your own customer-specific sensors

Simulation-driven product development

Multi-Physical Modelling and Simulation

VON ARDENNE has more than 40 years of experience in vacuum deposition and outstanding expertise in multiscale simulation to

  • Feature highly optimized system performance 
  • Ensure best process quality originated from component design

We accelerate product development and upgrades by reducing the engineering effort with cutting-edge modelling and simulation for

  • Product planning for your individual vacuum solution
  • Feasibility studies for upgrading running systems

Component design

Low pressure gas flow for best gas distributions 
DSMC – DIRECT SIMULATION MONTE CARLO

The simulation of low-pressure gas distributions in process chambers requires special numerical methods and a highly computational effort. The DSMC method is applied already in the construction and design phase at VON ARDENNE in order to achieve the best gas distributions.  

Plasma process and magnetic field for excellent film growth
PICMC – PARTICLE IN CELL METHOD

Cutting-edge thin-film technology is characterized by film homogeneity, high target utilization, film-optimized process design and other technological requirements. At VON ARDENNE, plasma and magnetic field simulations are used to analyze and improve the decisive physical process responsible for the film growth.

Optical simulation for outstanding film properties
RAY TRACING AND THIN FILM PROPERTIES

Optical simulations are widely used to achieve the most efficient design for VON ARDENNE equipment with flash-lamp based annealing and patterning technology. Furthermore, the parameters of thin films are optimized using simulation methods so that the overall optical properties meet the requirements. 

Finite Element Simulations for best coating results  
MECHANICAL, THERMAL, CFD, MULTI-PHYSICS

FE simulations for the analysis and optimization of different physical processes in combination with many years of experience are essential prerequisites for VON ARDENNE coating systems to meet the high quality requirements of our customers.

Low pressure gas flow  for best gas distributions
Low pressure gas flow for best gas distributions
Plasma process and magnetic field for excellent film growth
Plasma process and magnetic field for excellent film growth
Optical simulation  for outstanding film properties
Optical simulation for outstanding film properties
Finite Element Simulations  for best coating results
Finite Element Simulations for best coating results

Sampling

Technology & Application Center

PURPOSE

Supporting customers, research and development by

  • Sample coating
  • Testing of new technological approaches
  • Testing of components
  • Conducting experiments and providing data for design
  • Operation of equipment
  • Cooperation with customers and reasearch institutes

Electron Beam Testing Equipment

Complete electron beam gun testing equipment

We have testing equipment for:

  • Electron beam guns
  • High voltage systems
  • Deflection systems
  • A variety of crucible configurations

Metal strip coating system

  • Metal strip of different material
  • Glow discharge
  • Sputter etching
  • Magnetron sputtering
  • EB-PVD

EB-PVD sample coater

  • For glass, metal or wafers
  • Double-magazine
  • Substrate feeder
  • Ion source
  • Electron beam gun
  • Several crucible configurations
  • Carrier based substrate transport

Magnetron Testing Facility

Hardware testing of and process development for

  • Large-area magnetrons
  • Planar and rotatable magnetrons
  • Single and dual rotatable magnetrons
  • DC, MF and pulsed magnetrons

Sputtering Equipment

We have various coating systems for testing and sampling: 

VIOLA

  • Vertical inline system
  • Heated system
  • Plasma pretreatment
  • Planar and rotatable magnetrons
  • Variety of processes available
  • Carrier based substrate transport

ELISA

  • Horizontal system for sputter-up processes
  • Heated system
  • Plasma pretreatment
  • Variety of processes available
  • Carrier based substrate transport

ADELE

  • Horizontal inline coating line for glass and other flat substrates consisting of:
    • Washer
    • Inline coater
    • Ex-situ measuring station
  • Planar and rotatable magnetrons
  • Variety of processes available

Further Equipment

VON ARDENNE is part of a large network of scientific institutions. Therefore, we are able to use certain sample coating facilities and analysis methods provided by our partners.

Apart from that, we have further laboratory systems for technology and application development, for instance for flash lamp annealing and organic evaporation.

We are open for new ideas! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for a coating technology to implement a new application.


Engineering & Machine Concept

Our customers can rely on our experience and our expertise, which is characterized below.

WE OFFER:

  • Machine design concepts for various applications
  • Experience with integrating machines into process chain and site requirements of customers
  • Proven inline and batch processing of various substrate sizes
  • Vacuum processing expertise based on over 50 years of experience
  • Vacuum component expertise with strong supplier support
  •  Substrate heating and cooling solutions before, during and after coating process
  • Process gas control and distribution systems for best layer quality and homogeneity
  • System control solutions based on industrial standards and intuitive human-machine interfaces
  • Maximum up-times due to high industrial standards in safety and stable machine operation
  • Cost-of-ownership calculations to facilitate the selection of a machine design concept