4 Categories of Thin Film PVD Materials


In the ever-evolving field of material science, Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) stands as a cornerstone technology, enabling the development of high-performance coatings across a myriad of industries. At the heart of this technology lies a diverse array of materials, each selected for its unique properties to meet specific application demands. From the reflective surfaces of optical devices to the durable exteriors of aerospace components, the choice of PVD materials directly influences the functionality and efficiency of the final product. This article delves into four pivotal categories of PVD materials—sputtering targets, evaporation materials, inorganic chemicals, and specialized PVD materials—exploring their roles, properties, and the customization options that tailor them to their respective applications.

Read more: PVD Thin Film Deposition Materials List

Sputtering Targets

Sputtering targets play a pivotal role in the Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) process, serving as the source material for thin film coatings. This technique involves bombarding a solid target with high-energy ions, causing atoms to be ejected and deposited onto a substrate, forming a thin film. The choice of target material, such as gold for its unparalleled electrical conductivity or chromium for its exceptional corrosion resistance, is crucial for achieving the desired properties of the final coating.

The customization of sputtering targets is a critical factor in optimizing the PVD process. By tailoring the shape, size, and composition of the target, manufacturers can ensure efficient and uniform deposition, significantly enhancing the performance of the coating. This adaptability allows for a high degree of control over the film’s thickness, composition, and microstructure, meeting the precise requirements of various applications.

Advancements in sputtering technology continue to broaden the range of applications for sputtering targets. From enhancing the durability of aerospace components to improving the efficiency of solar panels, the applications of sputtering targets are expanding into new industries. These advancements not only demonstrate the versatility of sputtering as a deposition method but also underscore the importance of continuous innovation in target material development to meet the evolving needs of technology and industry.

Evaporation Materials

In the realm of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD), evaporation materials hold a distinct place due to their role in creating thin films through the process of material vaporization and subsequent condensation on a substrate. This method utilizes materials such as silver, known for its excellent reflective properties, making it indispensable for optical coatings. Similarly, copper, celebrated for its high thermal conductivity, is a prime choice for coatings that demand efficient heat management solutions.

The capability to customize these evaporation materials, including the development of specific alloys like Zinc Tin (Zn/Sn), enables engineers to precisely manipulate the thin film’s properties. This level of control is critical for tailoring the film’s optical characteristics, electrical conductivity, or thermal properties to suit specific application needs. By adjusting the composition, form, and purity of the evaporation material, it’s possible to achieve high-performance coatings with optimized characteristics.

Zinc Tin (Zn/Sn) Evaporation Materials

The impact of selecting the right evaporation material extends far beyond the quality of the thin film itself. It influences the efficiency of the deposition process, the durability of the coating, and ultimately, the performance of the end product. For instance, the choice of silver for reflective coatings in high-end optical applications not only enhances the product’s functionality but also its longevity. Similarly, copper’s use in thermal management coatings can significantly improve electronic devices’ performance and reliability by efficiently dissipating heat.

As PVD technologies advance, the possibilities for customizing evaporation materials expand, opening new avenues for innovation in thin-film applications. Whether it’s developing more efficient solar panels or enhancing the durability of electronic displays, the evolution of evaporation materials continues to drive the advancement of coating technologies and the industries they serve.

Inorganic Chemicals

Inorganic chemicals serve as fundamental components in the Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) process, especially when the aim is to achieve specific optical or mechanical properties within thin films. Silicon dioxide (SiO2) and zinc sulfide (ZnS) are exemplary materials in this category, leveraged for their distinct capabilities in enhancing or manipulating light reflection and transmission, critical in optical coatings, and infrared applications, respectively.

The use of inorganic chemicals in PVD processes is highly diversified, thanks to the ability to tailor these materials to precise specifications. Silicon dioxide, for instance, is a staple in creating anti-reflective coatings, significantly reducing unwanted reflections in lenses and display screens. On the other hand, zinc sulfide finds its place in night-vision equipment, exploiting its infrared properties to enhance visibility under low light conditions.

Custom formulation of these chemicals is not uncommon in the industry. Manufacturers often require specific chemical compositions and forms, such as powders or pellets, to achieve optimal application results. This customization ensures that the PVD materials precisely match the intended application’s performance criteria, ranging from enhancing durability to improving efficiency or aesthetic qualities.

Case studies across various sectors demonstrate the effectiveness of inorganic chemicals in specialized coatings. For example, the application of silicon dioxide in the telecommunications industry has enabled the production of more efficient fiber optic cables by minimizing light loss. Similarly, the automotive sector benefits from zinc sulfide-based coatings, enhancing the durability and performance of infrared sensors used in driver-assistance systems.

These examples underscore the critical role of inorganic chemicals in advancing PVD technology and their contribution to the development of innovative products and solutions. The ability to customize these materials to meet exacting standards is a testament to the flexibility and adaptability of PVD processes, paving the way for further advancements in materials science and engineering.

Specialized PVD Materials

The category of specialized PVD materials includes advanced compounds such as silicon carbide (SiC) and aluminum nitride (AlN), each selected for its unique set of properties that address specific challenges in harsh environments and high-tech applications. These materials exemplify the innovative edge of PVD technology, offering solutions where traditional materials fall short.

Silicon Carbide (SiC) stands out for its exceptional hardness and thermal conductivity, making it an ideal candidate for protective coatings in environments subjected to extreme wear and high temperatures. Its application spans various industries, from aerospace, where engine components benefit from SiC’s durability and thermal resistance, to electronics, where SiC enhances the longevity and performance of semiconductor devices.

Silicon Carbide Powder

Aluminum Nitride (AlN), with its remarkable electrical insulation properties combined with high thermal conductivity, is particularly valuable in electronic applications. It’s used to fabricate substrates and insulating layers that can efficiently draw heat away from sensitive electronic components, thus preventing overheating and ensuring reliable operation under demanding conditions.

The role of these specialized materials in advancing PVD applications cannot be overstated. They not only provide enhanced performance and durability but also enable the development of technologies that were previously unattainable. For instance, the use of SiC in protective coatings has led to the creation of cutting tools that can operate at higher speeds and temperatures, significantly increasing productivity and reducing downtime.

Looking forward, the potential for new compounds and innovative applications of specialized PVD materials is vast. Ongoing research and development are expected to unveil materials with even greater capabilities, further expanding the horizons of what can be achieved with PVD coatings. Whether it’s developing ultra-resistant coatings for next-generation spacecraft or creating more efficient thermal management solutions for the latest electronics, specialized PVD materials are at the forefront of technological innovation.


The exploration of the four pivotal categories of PVD materials—sputtering targets, evaporation materials, inorganic chemicals, and specialized PVD materials—reveals the depth and breadth of options available for modern coating technologies. Each category offers unique properties that can be tailored to meet the exacting demands of various applications, from enhancing the optical performance of devices to improving the durability of components exposed to extreme conditions.

This diversity not only underscores the versatility of PVD technology but also highlights the importance of material selection in achieving the desired outcomes. Whether it’s choosing the right sputtering target for electrical conductivity or selecting a specialized material for thermal insulation, the success of PVD processes hinges on a deep understanding of material properties and their interactions with specific applications.

Looking ahead, the continued innovation and development of new PVD materials promise to further expand the capabilities of this technology. As industries push for higher performance standards and environmental sustainability, the role of advanced PVD materials will undoubtedly grow, driving new applications and improvements across a wide range of sectors.

For those navigating the complexities of PVD processes, the guidance o

experts and suppliers like Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) can prove invaluable. SAM’s expertise in providing high-quality PVD materials, coupled with a deep understanding of industry-specific requirements, ensures that clients can make informed decisions, optimizing their processes and products for the challenges of tomorrow.

In conclusion, the role of PVD materials in advancing technological and industrial innovations cannot be overstated. As we continue to explore the potential of these materials, their impact on shaping the future of manufacturing, electronics, aerospace, and beyond is poised to be profound, marking a new era of material science and engineering excellence.

Evaporation Pellets for Thin Film Coating

Gold (Au) Evaporation Materials

Evaporation pellets are evaporation materials for vacuum evaporation coating.

Evaporation is a form of physical vapor deposition (PVD) where the evaporation material is heated to a high vapor pressure, often in a molten state. The vapors are then condensed on the substrate to form a thin film.

The most common heating method for vacuum evaporation is the resistance heating method. The advantages of resistance heating method include simple structure, low cost and convenient operation. The disadvantage is that it is not suitable for refractory metals and high temperature resistant dielectric materials. Electron beam heating and laser heating can overcome the shortcomings of resistance heating. Electron beam heating uses a focused electron beam to directly heat the bombarded material, and the kinetic energy of the electron beam becomes thermal energy, causing the material to evaporate. Laser heating uses a high-power laser as a heating source, but due to the high cost of high-power lasers, it can only be used in a few research laboratories. You can refer to Five evaporation sources for heating for detailed information of the heating methods. As for a thin film precious metal coating, the heating is typically accomplished via resistive heating or by E-beam (electron beam).

Evaporation pellets or slugs are manufactured with specific form factors intended to vaporize at known rates. Often during evaporation processes, “spitting” results in liquid droplet material splattering on to the substrate. Engineered pellets are made with specified metal purities and processes intended to minimize incorporated gases and impurities to mitigate “spitting” in process.

Silver (Ag) Evaporation Materials

Optimal evaporative performance for thin film deposition is highly dependent on the use of high purity materials specifically customized for PVD processes. It requires evaporation materials that feature low organic and inorganic impurities, as well as minimal surface contamination. This level of purity results in highly reproducible performance with low spit rates and defects. SAM offers high-quality evaporation materials in precious metals for your PVD coating.

The following chart shows some common thin film deposition of precious metals. SAM can customize any precious metal alloy you need that is not listed.

 Gold Copper Gold Nickel Gold Nickel Indium
Gold Palladium Gold Gold Silicon
Gold Silver Platinum Gold Tin Gold Zinc
Palladium Rhenium Palladium Lithium Palladium Manganese
Palladium Nickel Platinum Palladium Platinum Iridium
Platinum rhodium Silver Gold Silver Titanium

Please visit https://www.sputtertargets.net/evaporation-materials.html for more information.

Manufacturing process of semiconductor wafer

Semiconductor wafers are the basic material for manufacturing chips. The most important raw material for semiconductor integrated circuits is silicon, which is widely found in rocks and gravel in the form of silicate or silicon dioxide in nature. The manufacturing process of semiconductor wafers/silicon wafers can be divided into three basic steps: silicon purification, monocrystalline silicon growth, and wafer formation.

Silicon purification

The sandstone material is placed in a 2000 °C electric arc furnace which has a carbon source. At high temperatures, the silica in the carbon and in the sandstone undergoes a chemical reaction (carbon is combined with oxygen, leaving silicon) to obtain pure silicon having a purity of about 98%, also known as metallurgical grade silicon. Continue reading “Manufacturing process of semiconductor wafer”

Differences between vacuum evaporation and sputter coating

It is well known that vacuum coating has two common methods: vacuum evaporation and sputter coating. However, many people have doubts about the difference between evaporation and sputter coating. Let SAM Sputter Targets answer it for you.

sputter coating3First, let’s take a look at the definition of these two words. The vacuum evaporation is carried out by means of resistance heating, electron beam or laser bombardment in an environment with a vacuum of not less than 10-2 Pa, and the evaporation material is heated to a certain temperature to evaporate or sublimate a large number of molecules or atoms, and then directly deposited on a substrate to form a film. Continue reading “Differences between vacuum evaporation and sputter coating”

What is Extreme High Speed Laser Material Deposition(EHLA)?

The German research institute Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology has developed a new metal part coating process called Extreme High Speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA).

The coating is processed by a laser to form a molten pool with a small amount of powder added. The metal powder is then deposited by laser beam and movement between the components to form a thin, uniform coating. What makes EHLA different from other deposition processes is that the powder melts completely before it is applied to the surface of the part. This process can effectively reduce resource consumption by introducing approximately 90% of the material into the correct area, while other processes can only achieve 50%.

Extreme High Speed Laser Material Deposition

But the most outstanding part of the process is its amazing speed. With the EHLA process, coating processing can be performed at a speed 100 to 250 times higher than conventional laser material deposition speeds. Moreover, it has almost no heat during processing and can be used for heat-sensitive component coating processing. In addition, it is also possible to perform tandem coating processing. In the future, it will be possible for products to be protected from wear and tear during their life cycle.

Researchers say the new process protects metal parts from corrosion and wear without the need to deposit chromium that pollutes the environment. EHLA is environmentally friendly because it does not use chemicals. In addition, the coating adheres to the substrate in a material-locking manner to prevent peeling. And the process is also compatible with other coatings such as iron, nickel and cobalt based alloys. With these advantages, EHLA presents a promising application prospect.

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global supplier of various sputtering targets such as metals, alloys, oxides, ceramic materials. If you are interested, please visit our website https://www.sputtertargets.net/ for more information.

Five evaporation sources for heating

The evaporation source is a heating element used to vaporize  the molding material. The evaporation sources currently used mainly include the following types:

Resistance evaporation heating source

The resistance heating method is simple and easy to operate, and is a common application method: a filament-like or sheet-like high melting point metal (such as Tungsten, Molybdenum, Titanium, etc.) is made into an evaporation source of a suitable shape. It is equipped with an evaporation material to turn on the power supply, and the evaporation material is directly heated and evaporated. The resistance heating method should mainly consider two problems, the melting point and vapor pressure of the evaporation material; the reaction of the evaporation material with the coating material and the wettability caused by the coating material.

Electron beam evaporation source

The evaporation material is placed in a water-cooled copper dry pot and directly heated by an electron beam, which is called electron beam heating. It can vaporize the evaporation material and form a film on the surface of the substrate. It is an important heating method and development direction in the vacuum evaporation coating technology. In the resistance heating method, the coating material and the evaporation material are in direct contact, and the temperature of the evaporation material is higher than that of the coating material, and is easily mixed into the coating material, especially in the semiconductor device coating. Electron beam evaporation can overcome many shortcomings of general resistance heating evaporation, and is particularly suitable for preparing high melting point film materials and high purity film materials.

High frequency induction heating evaporation source

The high-frequency induction heating evaporation source places the graphite or quartz crucible containing the evaporation material in the center of the water-cooled high-frequency spiral coil, so that the evaporation material generates strong eddy current loss and hysteresis loss under the induction of the magnetic field in the high frequency band (to Ferromagnetic), causing the evaporating material to heat up until evaporation. The smaller the volume of the evaporated material is, the higher the frequency of induction is. In the large-scale vacuum aluminum plating equipment on the steel strip, the high-frequency induction heating evaporation process has achieved great success.

Radiant heating evaporation source

For materials with high absorption of infrared radiation, it can be evaporated by radiant heating, and many substances are evaporated by this method. In addition, the reflectivity of the metal for infrared radiation is high, and the absorption rate of quartz for infrared radiation is low, so they are difficult to be evaporated by radiation heating. The main advantage of the radiant heating method is that the evaporation is only heated on the surface, and the adsorbed gas is released on the surface without splashing the material.

Laser beam evaporation source

The evaporation technique using a laser beam evaporation source is an ideal film preparation method because the laser can be installed outside the vacuum chamber. This not only simplifies the space arrangement inside the vacuum chamber and reduces the abandonment of the heating source, but also completely avoids the contamination of the evaporation material by the evaporator, thus it is advantageous for obtaining a high-purity film.


Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global supplier of various sputtering targets such as metals, alloys, oxides, ceramic materials. If you are interested, please visit our website https://www.sputtertargets.net/ for more information.