Deputy Group Leader, S2S Sputtering & PECVD
Fraunhofer FEP, DE
Thomas PREUSSNER received a degree in Dipl.-Ing. (FH) at the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, Germany in 2006. Since 2006 he is working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP. Presently, he is deputy group leader of the S2S Sputtering & PECVD group. Dealing with several research topics related to thin film deposition, he has a deep background in thin film deposition processes, process hardware and thin film analysis. His main research interests are the development of sputtering and PECVD processes as well as the post-treatment of films by flash lamp annealing / photonic curing.
From Lab to Pilot – Opportunities and Challenges of Large-area Inline Flash Lamp Annealing
The performance of thin film coating materials strongly depends on their stoichiometry, defect density, morphology and others. Annealing procedures or deposition at elevated temperatures are commonly used to adjust and alter these for given applications.
However, the applicable temperatures are often limited by substrate materials and/or economic considerations. Therefore, rapid thermal annealing processes are an alternative technology enabling thermal treatment of functional layers and coatings. The limited penetration depth of the imposed heat can even allow the thermal treatment on temperature sensitive substrates. By superimposing periodic flashes and moving the substrate perpendicular to the lamp axis, large areas can be continuously and homogeneously annealed. Recent developments transferred this technology from lab-scale to a pilot scale level and even beyond providing a reproducible and effective large area treatment. In comparison to conventional furnace processing, a superior high energy efficiency is demonstrated at a comparatively small machine footprint and high throughput.
The corresponding Flash Lamp equipment with a lamp length of 750 mm has been implemented in an inline vertical coating machine platform at Fraunhofer FEP providing sampling and development capabilities up to pilot scale. In this configuration the impact of FLA on thin film materials synthesized by PVD and PECVD coating technologies can be sampled without vacuum break.
This talk introduces the principles of FLA as well as the setup at Fraunhofer FEP and relating them to the conclusions of selected applications addressed over the last couple of years. Examples are: large area TCO coatings in combination with inline FLA on rigid and ultra-thin bendable glass, treatment of Ag-based lowE multilayer stacks, formation of antimicrobial nanoparticles and even the toughening of plain glass substrates. Furthermore, the FLA process itself is in the focus of research and commercial validation. Therefore, topics like long-term stability, scalability and energy efficiency will be discussed.