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Advanced equipment for high-performance industrial thin films

Beneq’s technologies are a perfect match for the growing needs of the cleantech and renewable energy fields. Application areas include transparent conductive oxides (TCOs), moisture barriers and passivation layers, speciality coatings for LED and OLED displays, glass strengthening, doped powders, and optical filters.

Beneq offers a range of equipment for producing thin film coatings for research and industrial purposes, based on two nano-driven technology platforms: atomic layer deposition (ALD) and aerosol coating.

ALD is very much an enabling technology for new and improved products – such as nanolaminates – as it offers coatings and features that cannot be achieved cost–efficiently using other technologies.

In some cases, other techniques simply cannot do what ALD does.

It is also a powerful resource for advanced nanotechnology research, and several universities around the world have selected Beneq as a supplier.

Beneq’s ALD solutions enable very precise nanometre–thick, pinhole–free, and dimensionally accurate thin films to be applied to virtually any object shape or 3D geometry – reliably and affordably, thanks to a highly repeatable and scalable process.

Pinhole–free films deliver superior barriers and high-performance surface passivation, while intrinsically conformal coating is a major benefit when working with different types of substrates, including porous bulk materials and powders.

Tangible real-life benefits

Both of Beneq’s aerosol coating processes are proprietary technologies that are the outcome of in-house research.

A sample of PET coated with TiO2 in Beneq’s TFS 200R Thin Film System for Continous ALD.

Originally developed for colouring art glass, nHALO ® is a flame-based nanoparticle generation process that now offers industrial-scale capabilities for both on-line and off-line flat glass coating. nHALO ® can be used either to modify the surface layer of a substrate material by allowing nanoparticles to diffuse into the material matrix or to produce a surface coating by depositing nanoparticles directly on the surface.

Beneq’s other aerosol process, nAERO®, was developed to meet the rapidly growing need for a flexible, tuneable, and alternative method for depositing advanced coatings on glass surfaces. The driving force here has been transparent conductive oxide (TCO ), and the nAERO® process has been successfully used to produce TCO coatings for low-e and PV applications and for selfcleaning glass coatings.

What makes nAERO® such an attractive choice is that it combines the advantages of spray pyrolysis and CVD , while avoiding the problems commonly associated with these more traditional methods. In practical terms, it offers high thin film growth rates and an efficient use of raw materials, with minimal detrimental process-related particle formation. As the deposition process can be scaled up easily, nAERO® is well-suited to a variety of production and post-processing activities on glass.

> Joe Pimenoff
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)