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Thin-Films? What's Vacuum Coating?

A "thin film" is a film with an extremely low thickness in the micrometer or nanometer range. GEOMATEC fine-tunes thin films on the scale of angstroms, units even smaller than nanometers.

What's Vacuum Coating?
Typical Products with Thin-Film Coatings

Typical Products with Coatings

"Coating" is simply the formation of a film of one material on the surface of another material known as a substrate. The “vacuum coating” GEOMATEC specializes in applies coatings on a nanometer scale. Even with their extreme thinness, these thin-film coatings can give substrates features they originally lacked, such as the ability to separate light into its three primary components, electrical conduction, and the ability to generate heat.

Why Make Thin Films?

By coating a substrate with a thin film, we can confer additional electrical, optical, and mechanical properties to it. The functionality of a product can be drastically improved by the new properties a thin film confers, adding value.

What Kind of Thin-Films Does GEOMATEC Manufacture?

Conductive Films

Transparent
Films

Ordinary glass and film allow light to pass, but cannot conduct electricity. ITO films and other transparent conductive films are electrically conductive while maintaining excellent transparency. GEOMATEC fabricates ITO films with high transparency, low resistance, and excellent etchability.

Low-Resistance
Films

Low-resistance metal films used for power supply in flat panel displays (FPDs) are essential for colorization and improved high-speed responsiveness. Metal films such as those used for signal reception in sensors, ensure high signal stability.

Light-Controlling Films

Perfect Reflections

Thin films made of aluminum or silver alloys can be used to create first surface mirrors with high reflectances. These mirrors can be found in several types of measuring instruments and astronomical telescopes.

Separating
and
Combining Colors

Multilayer optical films selectively reflect and transmit specific wavelengths and polarization components by combining coating substances of various refractive indexes. GEOMATEC's multilayer optical films are used to improve the functionality of devices such as cameras and three-panel liquid-crystal display (LCD) projectors.

Adjusting
Brightness

Attenuation films control transmittance continuously or in multiple stages within a single substrate. These films are mostly used to adjust quantities of light in measuring equipment and illumination instruments. Attenuation films come in a variety of forms. They can be deposited around the circumference of a donut-shaped substrate or simply cover a rectangular board. Other types are specifically made to allow even transmission of minutely controlled quantities of light.

Heat-Generating Films

Defroster

A defroster (transparent heater) is an ITO film formed on a glass or plastic substrate through which current can flow. A defroster is typically used to prevent the formation of ice or condensation on the cover glass of security cameras. The shape of the substrate and the temperature can be set as desired.

Clear Heat

Clear Heat is our line of defrosters formed on a light, durable resin or polycarbonate substrate. Clear Heat is used on trains in snowy regions.
Clear Heat was jointly developed with Toho Sheet & Frame Co., Ltd.

Other

Decorative Films

GEOMATEC's long-cultivated film processing technology makes possible luxurious new decorative films with features such as metallic sheens, color gradations unattainable with conventional painting technology, and colors that change when viewed from different angles.

How Are Films Formed?

There are several methods of coating, the most typical being vacuum deposition and sputtering.
GEOMATEC takes into account all variables, from substrate and coating material to processing technique, to provide the best option.

Vacuum Deposition: Like Steam from a Boiling Pot

Objects held in a steam-filled environment, such as directly above a boiling pot of water, quickly become covered in a thin layer of condensation. Vacuum deposition (also known as the electron beam method) creates thin films in the same manner as that condensation, but is done in a vacuum.

Sputtering: Attaching a Film by Bombardment

In the same way a rock thrown into a puddle can cover a nearby object with water, microscopic collisions can be used to coat a nearby substrate in film. This splashing effect is the principle behind the sputtering method, which is also done in a vacuum.

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