Ever thought how nice it would be if the replicator (synthesizer) from Star Trek actually existed? Assembling different materials in an atomic scale however, has been possible already for decades! This exciting technique is called „Atomic Layer Deposition“ (ALD). The deposition process is carried out in a specially designed ALD reactor, where different chemicals enter the reaction chamber one at a time and react with the substrates surface in a self limiting manner. With each deposition cycle a thin layer is deposited and by repeating the cycle thicker material layers can be obtained. An easy example would be the deposition of titanium dioxide by using titanium(IV) chloride and water as reacting chemicals (precursors) and nitrogen as carrier gas.
Although this method is not suitable for creating macroscopic objects, it can be used to significantly enhance their properties such as corrosion resistance, wetting (self cleaning surfaces) or even biocompatibility (brain chips). This method is also used in the production of some solar cells, microelectronic devices and nanostructures. The huge benefit of this method is the possibility to apply films with well defined thickness and composition even on sophisticated three-dimensional objects. This makes ALDep perfect for applying ultra thin (nanometric) corrosion resistant coatings on many small devices (including jewelery), where thick coatings cannot be used.
In order to get a better understanding of this method, watch the video above.
Sony Vegas Pro 13 Suite was used for making this video – check out their website below:
Sony Creative Software Inc.