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The Right Tool for Every Job: Custom Design for R&D

PVD_PLD_fs&ps_ULeeds.jpegBy researchers, for researchers

There’s nothing that fuels our team’s passion more than building a custom R&D system. Our extensive background in thin film coating allows us to fundamentally understand and support the deposition process for specific R&D applications in a way that standard capital equipment manufacturers cannot.

Many universities, corporate labs and government research facilities come to us requesting a unique deposition system that supports their prominent research needs. Sometimes this can involve a bit of problem-solving, which can be challenging, but that’s where the fun happens and the right tool is born.

Professor Gin Jose, Chair of Functional Materials at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, reflects on collaborating with PVD Products to design a custom large-area femto second (fs) pulsed laser deposition (PLD) tool.

Generally speaking, what do you use your custom fs PLD system for?

Our labs new custom PVD Products large-area fs PLD system was designed for us to support a wide variety of optoelectronic devices manufacturing. The custom PLD system is also great for our Ph.D. and post-doctorate students to work on to produce new materials.

How did you know you needed a custom tool? Did consulting with PVD help you to get to that conclusion?

While we had looked at other suppliers to build this custom PLD system, we had done our research and knew from previous supplier experiences what PVD Products is capable of. After discussing our custom - needs, we chose to move forward together with PVD Products. The United Kingdom has a good perception of PVD Products and is impressed with the equipment they have produced.

Designing and building a custom tool can be challenging since there’s nothing to compare it to. Was it easy to develop a trusting relationship with PVD Products?

Yes, definitely. PVD’s past experience with similar tools certainly helped build that sense of trust. I feel confident giving the PVD team work without knowing everything about the design and assembly process. And, the people at PVD are great to work with.

Did PVD do anything during the design, assembly or installation process that stood out as particularly helpful?

The PVD team was involved in all of these aspects of the process. They are willing to discuss different design plans and modify them to provide the best solution for our needs and lab space. The delivered tool was truly what we needed to meet our needs. This custom design process and collaborative interaction with PVD Products was very comprehensive and that made all the difference in the end.

How was working with PVD on this custom system different from other manufacturers you’ve worked with?

PVD Products is the best in the business for customization. Other suppliers don’t have the expertise to build custom. Two key ingredients that make PVD stand out are flexibility and confidence. Their deep understanding, expertise and knowledge of custom thin film deposition systems were extremely useful.

Anything else you would like to add about your custom PVD system or the design experience?

From working together with PVD we now have a unique, cutting-edge deposition system that is versatile for our research and small-scale production of new materials in our area of interest.  

Even with the wide variety of cookie-cutter deposition systems and technologies available on the market today, advanced research or proprietary production recipes demand customized deposition systems. PVD Products is committed to collaborating and building customized systems to meet our customers’ specific needs. Drivers for customization can include:

  • Non-standard substrate sizes
  • Applying the best deposition technique or techniques for the application
  • Complexity of coatings (Ex: 3-D parts)
  • Improve material utilization
  • Reduce cost of ownership
  • Floor space limitations and integration of facilities
  • Upgrade existing outdated tools to those with modern capabilities  
  • Improve system throughput
  • Continuous technical support

To learn more about our custom options for thin film deposition, download our eBook, Choosing a Thin Film Deposition System:

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Topics: Custom Systems, Research & Development

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