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Coatings 2017, 7(1), 9; doi:10.3390/coatings7010009

Thickness Measurement Methods for Physical Vapor Deposited Aluminum Coatings in Packaging Applications: A Review

1
Fraunhofer-Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Giggenhauser Strasse 35, Freising 85354, Germany
2
Chair for Food Packaging Technology, Technische Universität München, Weihenstephaner Steig 22, Freising 85354, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Massimo Innocenti
Received: 14 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 December 2016 / Published: 14 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Coatings Characterization)

Abstract

The production of barrier packaging materials, e.g., for food, by physical vapor deposition (PVD) of inorganic coatings such as aluminum on polymer substrates is an established and well understood functionalization technique today. In order to achieve a sufficient barrier against gases, a coating thickness of approximately 40 nm aluminum is necessary. This review provides a holistic overview of relevant methods commonly used in the packaging industry as well as in packaging research for determining the aluminum coating thickness. The theoretical background, explanation of methods, analysis and effects on measured values, limitations, and resolutions are provided. In industrial applications, quartz micro balances (QCM) and optical density (OD) are commonly used for monitoring thickness homogeneity. Additionally, AFM (atomic force microscopy), electrical conductivity, eddy current measurement, interference, and mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) are presented as more packaging research related methods. This work aims to be used as a guiding handbook regarding the thickness measurement of aluminum coatings for packaging technologists working in the field of metallization. View Full-Text
Keywords: PVD; aluminum; quartz micro balance; optical density; AFM; electrical conductivity; eddy current; interference; ICP-MS; metal coating; nano-scale coatings PVD; aluminum; quartz micro balance; optical density; AFM; electrical conductivity; eddy current; interference; ICP-MS; metal coating; nano-scale coatings
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lindner, M.; Schmid, M. Thickness Measurement Methods for Physical Vapor Deposited Aluminum Coatings in Packaging Applications: A Review. Coatings 2017, 7, 9.

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