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Deployment of in-situ optical monitoring techniques for tailoring thin film properties for specific advanced industrial applications


Integrated system consisting by LCHSSE and CFUBMS (and MS) units advantageous for high tech manufacturing operations. In-situ/real-time monitoring & control of processes, e.g. etching, thin film growth, stoichiometry & thickness.

The LCHSSE as a stand-alone system

Multilayer a-C, Cr/a-C and carbon/chromium coatings deposited by MS and CFUBMS with hardness ranging from 16-35 GPa showing good adhesion to the substrate, low friction & corrosion resistance. The above coatings will also exploited in corrosion/wear resistant applications.

TiNx thin films (on quartz) showed low electrical resistivity, chemical and metallurgical stability and exceptional mechanical properties not only as material for high quality and frequency piezoelectric resonators but also in the fields of diffusion barriers, gate electrodes, and contact layers in solar cells.

Graphit-iC TM coating has demonstrated during bench tests extended lifetime of piston seals for the compression of natural Gas (Natural gas vehicle applications).
The present project is dictated by the current demand of
manufacturing companies of razor and industrial blades,
bearings and seals and piezoelectric quartz oscillators
for improved product and component performance via the
use of thin film surface coatings. The coatings materials
properties of concern here are hardness, friction,
thermal and chemical stability, adhesion, fracture
strength and wear resistance. Optimization of these
properties may be attained in the candidate coatings,
which are single, graded or multilayered DLC and/or TiNx
based thin film structures, through in situ, (during film
growth), monitoring and control of their stoichiometry,
composition, microstructure and thickness. For the
purpose of in situ control, a low cost, high speed unit
based on the Spectrometric Ellipsometry (SE) technique,
is to be first developed in this project and further
developed into a commercially available instrument of
distinct competitive advantages. The deposition
techniques to be used for the development and production
of the surface coatings will be magnetron sputtering (MS)
and its variation known as closed film unbalanced
magnetron sputtering (CFUBMS). The latter will also be
developed into a new line of superior industrial
deposition systems equipped with the above in situ
monitoring low cost high speed SE (LCHSSE) unit.
Technology transfer of pertinent materials and process
advances and deployment of the LCHSSE unit will take
place through pilot line operations as per individual
manufacturing and time scale needs and all within a few
months to 1.5 years after compietion of the project. All
techniques and materials used and innovations and
advances yielded by this project are safe,
environmentally friendly, cost effective and socially
The consortium consists of three industrial
manufacturers, whose products may critically depend, for
their performance and functionality, on thin film surface
coatings of specific property combinations, a
manufacturer of CFUBMS systems and coating service
provider, a leading optical instrumentation company
committed to extending lab scale high cost
instrumentation into the field of real time processing, a
major University pioneering the application of SE as an
in situ monitoring process and a well known research
center specializing in novel thin film characterization

Note: The present project cuts industrial scale
horizontally across most forthcoming Task
Forces set up by the European Commission.

Call for proposal

Data not available


University campus
54006 Thessaloniki

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EU contribution
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Participants (6)