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Novel industrial processes using the Atomic Layer Deposition technique

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ALDing (Novel industrial processes using the Atomic Layer Deposition technique)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2017-04-01 do 2019-03-31

Different from chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and physical vapour deposition (PVD), atomic layer deposition (ALD) is based on saturated surface reactions. In this case, the thin films are grown in a layer-by-layer fashion allowing sub-nanometer thickness control, low temperature depositions, good uniformity and superior step coverage on high specific surface area components compared to CVD and PVD.

These advantages of ALD over other thin film deposition processes have been conventionally applied mainly in semiconductor electronic industry on the preparation of layers of outstanding High-K dielectric materials. But, due to the advances in tool design and recipe development, the importance of ALD is rapidly expanding for producing innovative nanoscale materials.

ALD new applications are highly multidisciplinar. It has an emerging potential on photovoltaic cells, flexible electronics, enhanced performance glass, paper and textiles, new generation transistors, sensors, and advanced energy materials technology. Innovations brought by nanotechnology to biosciences and biosensors are also proving to be good candidates to benefit from these potentialities and its surface functionalization.

Under this scenario, this proposal has allowed to build up an outstanding Research and Development department at a recently created SME (CTECHnano) that has focused on extending the applications of ALD technique to all the emerging and/or unexplored industrial areas mentioned above. This key achievement has contributed to enhance European industry competitiveness on the surface modification manufacture.

ALDing has successfully transferred a well-known materials deposition technique in the area of electronics to completely different applications where it can make a revolutionary improvement of the outcomes in comparison with the coating solutions already available in the market. The new designed ALD deposition tool is unique on the market and will allow the easy adaptation of the chamber to the requirements of each proposed target.

The awarded researcher, Dr. Vila Juárez, with her more than 18 years of research experience on materials science and surface modification, become the company Scientific Director and later the company CEO. During this period she has defined and implemented the company business plan, with three main lines of actions, focused on coating development services, design and manufacturing of small R&D machines, and Industrial machines.

This action has allowed to merge together the already strong interdisciplinary profile of the researcher skills as a scientific group leader, with the final step of getting training in product management, and business strategies. These factors all together are the recipe to train professionals that can, in a realistic way, impulse scientific efforts to real applications in an industrial environment.
ALDing main objectives have been achieved:
- The researcher was fully integrated in the company, becoming not also the Scientific Director but also the company CEO, and launching the production, commercialization and sales activities of the company.
- The creation of technology driven new products in the form of coating and surface treatments that will open a completely new industrial worldwide market.
Main actions performed have been:

- Upgrade of the company deposition tools to develop the new materials and their scaling up to batch depositions of the new design processes.

- Development of three specific coating processes: Three coating processes have been identified as of “high interest” and as potential market opportunities by CTECHnano and its customers: i) the production of decorative protective coatings ii) the reinforcement of polymeric fibres (natural or synthetic) and iii) the development of non-cell adhesive coatings for ocular implants.

- Validation of the technology in industrial environment: Real industrial materials have been treated with the developed ALD process for each of the proposed technological products and tested following the final performance requirements for each application.
Expected project impacts have been achieved:

-The integration and securement of the experienced researcher as Scientific Director of the company has allowed to start the new research production and business lines.

-The creation of technology driven new products in the form of coating and surface treatments will open a completely new industrial worldwide market. ALDing results will be translated in final specific industrial commercial products.
ALDing Opportunity and Solution