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Optimisation advanced optical coatings technologies competitive manufacturing


* Plasma state diagnostics.
* Optical diagnostic for transmission (or reflectance) monitoring of workpiece in plasma CVD deposition reactor.
* In-situ closed-loop process control on two industrial plasma CVD deposition reactors.
* Enhanced product quality (performance and reliability)and production yield demonstrated from one existing industrial coating plasma CVD deposition process for hard coatings, and expected on two more reactors.
* The closed loop control was demonstrated using existing plasma CVD deposition processes on industrial reactors.
* Significant empirical data on the behaviour of the industrial plasma CVD deposition reactors.
* Design and characterisation algorithms for optical coatings.
Thin film optical coatings are currently exploited in a
vast range of industrial products from plate glass used
in motor vehicles, and architectural scale window glass
to high technology imaging systems with applications in
medicine, firefighting, communications and avionics. The
current world widemarket for optical coatings is in
excess of 800 MECU. The industrial trend is towards
tailored application specific optical coatings. For
example imaging systems impose stringent requirements in
terms of minimised reflection and maximised optical
transmission bands, which have been addressed using
conventional discrete layer coatings. Similarly,
architectural glass manufacturers wish to develop optical
coatings with custom spectral responses to reduce
building environmental management costs.
While the demand for specific coating optical properties
varies with application, the requirements of the coating
mechanical properties are becoming more stringent. This
increasing market demand for advanced performance
coatings has shifted the industry emphasis from low cost
manufacturing to high value added complex multilayer
products. As the complexity of the coated product
increases, so does its sensitivity to variations in the
manufacturing process. This sensitivity translates
directly into poor manufacturing yield and higher
production costs. In consequence, stringent process
control specifications are essential to competitive
manufacturing.The adoption of competitive manufactturing
processes is recognised by European industry as an
essential condition for commercial viability, especially
for high value added manufacturing. Competitive
manufacturing is determined by time tomarket, reliability
and cost, which in turn requires the adoption of real
tiome process control (RTPC) allo ving rapid yield
learning (RYL)
The strategic goal of this project is the development of
a competitive advantage for the European optical coatings
industries through the implementation of RTPC
capabilities in plasma deposition manufacturing. To
achieve this objective, work is focussed on three areas:
Development of process control methodology and
Development of real time equipment and substrate
Implementation of RTPC on three distinct
industrial plasma coating reactors.
The consortium is made up of partners from five Member
States (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK) of
which four are industrial companies and two are research
centres. The partnership is vertically integrated with
expertise contributed from three major European optical
coating manufacturers [GEC (UK), St. Gobain (France) and
CE.Te.V (Italy), a European SME [Plasma Ireland]
specialising in sensors and diagnostics for plasma
monitoring, and two research centres
[National Microelectronics Research Centre (Ireland) and
Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany)] focussing on process control
methodology, diagnostics and modelling of complex
multilayer coatings.
The OPTICOM project cost of 3.8 MECU is small in relation
to the current plasma processing equipment rnarket of
2000 MECU, the plasma diagnostics market of 50 MECU and
the optical coatings rnarket of 800 MECU. All four
industrial partners are strategically placed to exploit
these market opportunities.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


National University of Ireland, Cork
Prospect Row
30 Cork

Participants (5)

Centro Tecnologie del Vuoto
Via Turanense Km 44.452
67061 Carsoli L'aquila
GEC-Marconi Materials Technology Ltd
United Kingdom
Elstree Way
WD6 1RX Borehamwood
Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
8,Hollerithallee 8
30419 Hannover
Plasma Ireland Ltd.
Enterprise Centre
30 Cork
Quai Lucien Lefranc 39