Frequently Asked Questions

How do I determine what coating technology is best for my application?

There are a wide variety of coating techniques. The optimal technology choice depends on thin film material, desired thickness, thin film structure, sample shape, and other aspects. Secondary considerations of cost and complexity factor in as well. Our team consults actively with customers to help them select the best solution for their needs.

What design services does PVD Products offer?

We offer a range of services, from full custom-designed solutions to fairly “off-the-shelf” products. We can start with a simple list of desired capabilities or a set of specifications and design an entire instrument. We can also add custom options to existing products, according to the applications the customer intends to pursue.

Do you install the systems?

PVD Products installs the systems and provides training to users. Our level of support extends beyond the initial sale, though. Customers reach out to our team for help with operation issues and new challenges years after delivery. We are committed to their long-term success.



What is unique about PVD Products' offerings?

We are unique in our ability to first listen to the customer's needs and then fully design and customize deposition tools according to the specifics of the application. We have the capabilities to craft instruments for complex tasks in which there are no other solutions.

Should I go standard or custom with my thin film deposition system?

A standard system is a good choice for typical materials and substrate types. A standard tool can be delivered more quickly and generally is less costly. But when a customer finds their application isn’t a fit for existing products or when they are trying to create a competitive advantage through unique technologies, a custom system can deliver this extra value. For more help determining which type of system best fits your application needs, download our Choosing a Thin Film Deposition System white paper.

What is the lead time for a custom deposition system?

Lead time can vary from 6-12 months or longer, depending on the complexity of the system. Significant time is devoted to the design phase when starting from a concept, to ensure that all the specifications are met and that operation will be reliable and robust. PVD also likes to have one or two design review meetings with customers as we develop custom tools to make sure that the customer is on board with our approach.

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Contact us to talk to one of our experts about your deposition system or project needs.

Do you service existing deposition tools?

Part of our ongoing support is service. Of course, warranty coverage is available on our products. We also provide service via remote access to the instrument coupled with phone support. This is a quick way to solve a variety of problems and restore productivity. We will also arrange to dispatch an engineer to the customer site to resolve more complex problems or install upgrades.

Is it better to upgrade or buy new?

This is highly dependent on the existing system and type of upgrade. Additional deposition sources, load locks and the like can be added if the existing tool is designed properly. Additional deposition modalities can be integrated via add-on chambers, but the price increases rapidly. For significant changes, it can quickly become impractical to upgrade and still achieve a practical solution. At that point a new tool is advisable.

Do you sell components for deposition systems?

We sell a range of components to facilitate upgrades to our deposition systems. If only a base system is within the customer’s initial budget, components for sample motion and heating or target manipulation can be added later, as needs evolve. We also provide targets for both sputtering and PLD.

Which comes first, designing the system or getting funding?

This is an iterative process. For many university customers, a budgetary quote is needed to apply for funding or a firm quote is needed for a proposal. We use a modular cost modeling process to provide an instrument specification and price. Once these are agreed upon a detailed design is developed. We can also carry out design studies to address risk issues before a price quote. All this ensures that the instrument delivered is actually what the customer needs to be successful.

What in-house coating services do you offer?

We can provide sputtering services, including DC, pulsed DC, AC reactive, and RF for a wide variety of materials and sample types. We regularly coat substrates, machined parts, and devices up to 6” in size. We offer PLD deposition services for samples up to 2” in size. We are always innovating in our service offerings. It is best to speak with us about your specific requirements, so that we can find the best solution together. Learn more about the services we offer.

How can I maximize production rate and coating throughput?

For production customers, the rate is determined by the business needs of the project. We do upfront system modeling and design to match the throughput to the requirements. This is a more customer-centric approach than to simply state what deposition rate an existing product can support.

What is the maximum substrate size?

Standard tools can handle substrates from 1 cm2 up to -300 mm in diameter. With our ability to customize and take on challenging tasks, we have created tools for substrates over a meter in diameter and several hundred kilograms. Our reel-to-reel systems can process kilometer-long metal tape substrates. We work with our customers to match the tool to their application needs.
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