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Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor DepositIon of Hard Coating on Optical Polymers


This project, supported by 4 SMEs involved in the production of components and plastic optical systems (mainly for ophthalmic) one from France, two from Italy and one from Finland, is aimed to design, realise and set up a process and a prototype plant using PE CVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition) for the deposition of hardening, matching and hydrophobic coatings of substrates made of CR39 or polycarbonates. This novel process is aiming to replace the lacquering processes presently in use which may become objectionable on environmental grounds and to manufacture at a lower cost (at least 30% cheaper, thanks to a faster process) and better reproducibility ophthalmic lenses with better durability, performances (by example, by double the lifetime of the lenses) and multifonctionality than the ones available on the market place. The project is characterised by a strong cooperation among the SME's Partners and the research centres (CE.TE.V. supported by Biophy and University of Catanià) which, during the life time of the project, will continuously evaluate the compatibility of the new treatment PE CVD with their own optical antireflection, hydrophobic or solar treatments realised with the widely used lon Assisted Deposition and Sputtering processes. CeTeV will supply the Partners with hardened samples, treated on existing research plant, for comparison with the existing techniques ( lacquering as hardening and thermal evaporation for the hydrophobic layer) and for the evaluation of the compatibility with the deposition processes of the subsequent antireflection coatings effective in production. By the same time, the process and plant specifications (from technical and economical point of view) will be defined. In a second phase, the design and realization of a prototype of the deposition plant starting both from the results coming from the Partners on the compatibility of the PE CVD treatment with their own optical treatments and from the know how of CE.TE.V. The final phase will concern the set up of the treatment performed on the prototype to be delivered to FACT Optique for the hardening and hydrophobic treatments and will also include the realisation of demonstrators (ophthalmic lenses made of polycarbonates and CR39 coated with the various realised treatments). The process will be very innovative because of the speed of the coating phase itself: we want to multiply by 4.the deposition speed ratio. Exhaustive characterisation and diagnostic of the coatings will support all the project development. Special care will be dedicated to the scientific and technological education of the staff of the SMEs on plasmochemistry techniques by seminars and lab trainings. The future industrial phases of the project will permit to develop a continuous economical coating process. The market for products made using this process (like ophthalmic lenses or glasses) is very wide: estimations give more than 100 millions of pieces in Europe in 1999.

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FACT Optique SA
EU contribution
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Rue Anne Gacon
13016 Marseille

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Participants (6)