Historically, the vacuum deposit processes are part of the research activities of IREIS. For 30 years, the PVD deposits (physical deposit in steam phase) and more particularly the magnetron sputtering are part of the study on various approaches –materials, processes, techniques- which reinforces the master of the entire technology, includes the conception and the fabrication of equipment until its industrialization in HEF Group. More recently, the domain of PACVD with or without the PVD technologies (chemical deposits assisted by plasma) has known a great improvement in terms of research. As it is related to the PVD activity, the efforts put into research concern as much the material, process and technological aspects.
From a general point of view, the vacuum technologies allows to deposit various materials from solid sources called targets or precursor gases. It can be metals, alloys, ceramics, nitrides, carbides, oxides and derivatives of carbon of DLC type. Similarly, the vacuum technologies create many deposit possibilities on all types of metallic, ceramic, glass, polymer, composite and elastomer substrate. It depends of course of their vacuum capability.
IREIS has many equipment permitting to adapt to different pieces to coat. We can find among them vacuum enclosures of “standard” dimension and special equipment for specific needs like strip, wire or fiber form substrate, or very large pieces.
The deposit of thin layers by PVD method [Physical Vapor Deposition] utilizes the energy from a plasma source in low pressure conditions of a neutral gas (10-2 to 10-4 mbar). It will tear the atoms from a physical target to put them on the surface of the material situated in the enclosure. This technique allows to realize thin and dense layers on the substrate sample and eventually modify some of the properties of its surface.
The thickness of the deposited layers vary generally from few nanometers to several micrometers depending on the uses among which we can quote the wear resistance in tribology, optical, electrical and wettability properties.
The PACVD deposit technology [Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition] aims to deposit materials from the reaction or a precursor gas submitted to a plasma energy in a vacuum enclosure. Among the most used family of materials we can find the materials based on the carbon type DLC or even silicon chemistry. This technique allows to realize thin layers usually between a tenth and five micrometers thick. It can also happen to see superior or inferior values to these conventional ones.
As for the PVD, the thin layers coming from PECVD techniques are used to modify the surface properties, more specifically concerning the tribological properties (DLC families) but also mechanical, optical, or electrical properties.