MVD – An exciting new technology for Thin Film Partners

Want to apply an nano-scale coating that is completely uniform and conformal across all surfaces, hydrophobic and optically clear, but not wait forever for the deposition process?

Further, would you like that coating at a sensible price?

Then perhaps one of the newest additions to outline of coating processes, Molecular Vapour deposition (MVD), could be a solution for you.

Molecular Vapor Deposition from Thin Film Partners on Vimeo.

So what is Molecular Vapor Deposition (MVD)?

MVD is a process that was invented by Applied Microstructures (AMST) in 2004.

MVD was developed initially to help semiconductor manufacturers grow ultra-thin, functionalized, organic and inorganic films with higher yields and improved cost efficiencies than traditional liquid deposition techniques. It was a big success.

Now, this exciting new technology is finding new and novel applications in many areas, particularly in providing protective coatings that can be hydrophobic, hydrophilic, biocompatible, or even reactive.

How does MVD actually work?

The MVD process applies ultra-thin, completely homogeneous, organic and inorganic films by vapor deposition at low temperatures onto the substrate. 

It is a gas-phase reaction between surface reactive chemicals and an appropriately receptive surface. 

What are the advantages of MVD and how does it compare to Parylene?

In terms of process technology there are some similarities between MVD and Parylene – a traditional industry standard. It is a chemical vapour deposition process that applies a thin film coating.

However, that is where the comparison ends and the differences are striking:

  • The MVD coating process time is much, much faster than Parylene. So, process costs are reduced.
  • The MVD process is self-limiting. The deposition process ceases once the “reactive” surfaces are depleted.  Many other processes like Parylene are dependent upon amount of dimer and will continue to deposit successive polymer layers until it is completely used up.
  • The MVD coating can be applied in layers or laminates, each of which can be selected to address a specific task. Most other films including Parylene are single component layers.
  • MVD film thickness can be uniform from end to end throughout the chamber. Devices coated with Parylene can show wide variations in film thickness relative to their position in the coating chamber.
  • The homogeneous coating can be pinhole-free at a sub-nanometer thickness. Parylene and some other materials are only pinhole-free at micron levels.
  • The MVD coatings are highly flexible and physical/chemical properties can be adapted in many different ways including being reactive, hydrophobic or hydrophilic.
  • The coating can be engineered to be ultraviolet stable and optically clear – properties essential to LED lighting.
  • So, although similar in concept to traditional coatings like Parylene, MVD does offer different options to improve the coating performance and reduce costs.

Where is MVD used?

MVD is used in many different areas including:

  • Hydrophobic anti-stiction films In MEMS for devices including displays, sensors, actuators, RF switches, inkjets, and data storage devices.
  • Wetting control in micro-fluidics MEMs (lab-on-a-chip, microplates)
  • Passivation on implantable MEMs devices
  • Biocompatible surface coatings for BioMEMS applications
  • Moisture barriers for polymers and other high-quality materials
  • Oxidation and corrosion barriers on metals
  • Wetting and protein absorption prevention in bio-MEMS
  • De-wetting performance in inkjet applications
  • Surface anchors for biomolecule reactions in biotechnology applications
  • Release layers between the stamp and polymer materials in nano-imprint lithography

Want to find out more about MVD technology and its many applications?

Then contact us now or read more about us by Starting Here.