Technology

Our proprietary technology is a direct replacement of the magnetron sputtering process for deposition of metal oxides in a wide variety of applications.

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Over the years sputtering has emerged as a dominant technology for TCO deposition. From the technical standpoint sputter deposition (or sputtering) is a method of depositing thin films by way of eroding material from a “target” source onto a “substrate”. This is typically accomplished by bombarding the “target” (ie: the source of deposition material) with atoms of inert gas. The momentum of bombarding atoms transfers to target atoms enabling them to separate from the target and effectively fly towards the deposition surface.

Sputtering ProcessSputtering is used extensively in the semiconductor industry to deposit thin films of various materials in integrated circuit processing as well as for deposition of thin antireflection coatings on glass for optical applications.

When it comes to TCO deposition techniques and particularly TCO applications involving the use of indium sputtering has a number of important shortcomings:

  • Sputtering does not allow for high level of raw material utilization.
  • Sputtering is a vacuum based process that requires costly equipment and complicated maintenance.
  • Sputtering typically requires a relatively high substrate temperature that is incompatible with certain types of temperature sensitive substrates.
  • When used in LCD manufacturing or similar applications sputtering can often cause damage to previously deposited layers of semiconductor material due to kinetic impact of the ions bombarding the surface of the substrate.
  • Overall quality of the TCO coatings deposited via sputtering is subject to contamination by additional unwanted elements originating from the walls of the coating chamber, impurities contained within sputtering target as well as gases used inside the coating chamber as a part of the deposition process.
  • Compared to other thin layer deposition techniques, sputtering is a relatively slow process. The resulting slow cycle time of sputtering equipment contributes to the overall increase in the total cost of ownership of the TCO deposition lines and TCO coatings themselves.

Notwithstanding any of its shortcomings, today sputtering is a dominant process for Transparent Conductive Oxide coating deposition in photovoltaic cell, LCD display screen, smart-phone & tablet computer as well as LED and OLED manufacturing. One of the key reasons for this market dominance comes down to the following:

  • The vast majority of current market applications require Transparent Conductive Oxide deposition on electrically non-conductive glass substrate. Magnetron sputtering is currently the only technically and commercially viable process capable of producing high quality TCO on electrically non-conductive substrates.

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CMI has developed a revolutionary method and equipment for metal oxide deposition equally viable for electrically conductive, semi conductive and dielectric substrates.

Our proprietary technology is based on a unique patent pending electrochemical process, chemistry and equipment designs. When compared to magnetron sputtering our approach to metal oxide deposition is based on electrochemical process and offers the following advantages:

  • Lower capital cost
  • Lower maintenance and downtime
  • Simple to operate
  • Shorter cycle time
  • Greater material utilization
  • Lower susceptibility to substrate damage and/or contamination
  • Lower deposition process temperature
  • Ability to deposit on both rigid and flexible substrates
  • Ability to process temperature sensitive substrates
  • High uniformity of resulting TCO coatings
  • High adhesion of TCO coatings to substrate
  • High durability of TCO coatings

beakers-and-test-tubes-blueWe are actively working with customers across a wide variety of industries and market applications towards implementing our existing equipment and technology solutions or developing market specific chemistry and deposition process parameters for their unique applications.

It is time to change the status quo! Together we can make smarter, better, more affordable products for the markets of today and tomorrow!

If you are an LCD screen, LED or an OLED manufacturer we would love the opportunity to show you how our technology can take your business to the next level!

If you are in the business of making smart-phone or tablet computers we are excited about the opportunity to help you make more affordable as well as higher performance products!

If you are manufacturing or designing thin-film batteries our technology can help you to leapfrog competition! We would appreciate the opportunity to explain how we could do this!

If you are using high cost magnetron sputtering process we might be able to help you to reduce your equipment, material, labour as well as overall manufacturing costs! We would love to explore how we could help your business!

If you are using metal oxides as a conductive coating or insulator, on conductive, semi conductive of dielectric substrates – our process and equipment may be the solution you are looking for. Let’s talk!

Click here to request more information from Clear Metals Inc. →

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