Special Issue "Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications"

A special issue of Coatings (ISSN 2079-6412). This special issue belongs to the section "Surface Characterization, Deposition and Modification".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021) | Viewed by 12156

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Patrick Chapon
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Guest Editor
HORIBA Scientific, Palaiseau, France
Interests: glow discharge spectrometry; µ XRF; spectroscopic methods
Prof. Dr. Ken Shimizu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Keio University, Tokyo, Japan
Interests: corrosion science; surface analysis; SEM
Dr. Fuhe Li
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Air Liquide Electronics–Balazs NanoAnalysis, California,USA
Interests: advanced materials; coatings; thin films; nanoparticles
Dr. Pavel Bulkin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
LPICM, CNRS Ecole polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, France
Interests: PECVD; ALD; plasma sources; spectroscopic ellipsometry
Prof. Dr. Jiangyong Wang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics, Shantou University, Shantou, China
Interests: diffusion; segregation; phase transformation; depth profiling; thin solid film

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the last few years, coating deposition technologies and characterization techniques have made tremendous advances.

Creating coherent approaches for ultra-thin (below 100 nm), thin (less than several µm), and thick (up to one hundred microns or even more) films is not an easy task. Many deposition techniques and a combination of characterization tools can be applied for these vastly different length scales.

This Special Issue entitled “Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization, and Applications” calls for papers that can specifically connect improvements in the quality of deposited coatings (always for particular applications) with advances in characterization techniques and specific approaches to deposition and characterization. It is critical to understand that, while properties are objective characteristics, the quality (either of material or of coating) is never absolute and always has to be considered from an application point of view. Original research papers and reviews on coatings for various applications will be considered.

We welcome not only success stories, but also thoughtful discussions of process failures and ways to circumvent the most difficult obstacles, as scientists are learning from them all, and it is not obvious what leads to improved understanding.

In particular, the topics of interest of this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Combining different characterization techniques to obtain accurate interpretation of coating structure and composition;

- Techniques for reduction of the number of defects in coatings;

- Failure analysis as a way for characterization and improvement of coatings;

- Optimization of a deposition process from an application-specific viewpoint;

- Tailoring the deposition process for specific applications;

- Use of non-destructive techniques in situ for deposition process monitoring and optimization.

Dr. Patrick Chapon
Prof. Dr. Ken Shimizu
Dr. Fuhe Li
Dr. Pavel Bulkin
Prof. Dr. Jiangyong Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Coatings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • thin and thick films
  • deposition processes
  • characterisation techniques
  • applications of advanced coatings
  • successes and failures in coatings development

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
PECVD SiNx Thin Films for Protecting Highly Reflective Silver Mirrors: Are They Better Than ALD AlOx Films?
Coatings 2021, 11(7), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11070771 - 26 Jun 2021
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Protection of silver surface from corrosion is an important topic, as this metal is highly susceptible to damage by atomic oxygen, halogenated, acidic and sulfur-containing molecules. Protective coatings need to be efficient at relatively small thicknesses, transparent and must not affect the surface [...] Read more.
Protection of silver surface from corrosion is an important topic, as this metal is highly susceptible to damage by atomic oxygen, halogenated, acidic and sulfur-containing molecules. Protective coatings need to be efficient at relatively small thicknesses, transparent and must not affect the surface in any detrimental way, during the deposition or over its lifetime. We compare PECVD-deposited SiNx films to efficiency of ALD-deposited AlOx films as protectors of front surface silver mirrors against damage by oxygen plasma. Films of different thickness were deposited at room temperature and exposed to O2 ECR-plasma for various durations. Results were analyzed with optical and SEM microscopy, pulsed GD-OES, spectroscopic ellipsometry and spectrophotometry on reflection. Studies indicate that both films provide protection after certain minimal thickness. While this critical thickness seems to be smaller for SiNx films during short plasma exposures, longer plasma treatment reveals that the local defects in PECVD-deposited films (most likely due to erosion of some regions of the film and pinholes) steadily multiply with time of treatment and lead to slow drop of reflectance of SiNx-protected mirrors, whereas we showed before that ALD-deposited AlOx films reliably protect silver surface during long plasma exposures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Combined Pulsed RF GD-OES and HAXPES for Quantified Depth Profiling through Coatings
Coatings 2021, 11(6), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11060702 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 972
Abstract
Chemical characterization at buried interfaces is a real challenge, as the physico-chemical processes operating at the interface govern the properties of many systems and devices. We have developed a methodology based on the combined use of pulsed RF GD-OES (pulsed Radio Frequency Glow [...] Read more.
Chemical characterization at buried interfaces is a real challenge, as the physico-chemical processes operating at the interface govern the properties of many systems and devices. We have developed a methodology based on the combined use of pulsed RF GD-OES (pulsed Radio Frequency Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectrometry) and XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) to facilitate the access to deeply buried locations (taking advantage of the high profiling rate of the GD-OES) and perform an accurate chemical diagnosis using XPS directly inside the GD crater. The reliability of the chemical information is, however, influenced by a perturbed layer present at the surface of the crater, hindering traditional XPS examination due to a relatively short sampling depth. Sampling below the perturbed layer may, however, can be achieved using a higher energy excitation source with an increased sampling depth, and is enabled here by a new laboratory-based HAXPES (Hard X-ray PhotoElectron Spectroscopy) (Ga-Kα, 9.25 keV). This new approach combining HAXPES with pulsed RF GD-OES requires benchmarking and is here demonstrated and evaluated on InP. The perturbed depth is estimated and the consistency of the chemical information measured is demonstrated, offering a new route for advanced chemical depth profiling through coatings and heterostructures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Quantification of High Resolution Pulsed RF GDOES Depth Profiles for Mo/B4C/Si Nano-Multilayers
Coatings 2021, 11(6), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11060612 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 661
Abstract
Pulsed-radio frequency glow discharge optical emission spectrometry (Pulsed-RF-GDOES) has exhibited great potential for high resolution (HR) depth profiling. In this paper, the measured GDOES depth profile of 60 × Mo (3 nm)/B4C (0.3 nm)/Si (3.7 nm) was quantified by employing the [...] Read more.
Pulsed-radio frequency glow discharge optical emission spectrometry (Pulsed-RF-GDOES) has exhibited great potential for high resolution (HR) depth profiling. In this paper, the measured GDOES depth profile of 60 × Mo (3 nm)/B4C (0.3 nm)/Si (3.7 nm) was quantified by employing the newly extended Mixing-Roughness-Information depth (MRI) model. We evaluated the influences of the thickness and sputtering rate on the depth profile of very thin layers. We demonstrated that a method using the full width at half maximum (FWHM) value of the measured time-concentration profile for determining the sputtering rate and the corresponding thickness was not reliable if preferential sputtering took place upon depth profiling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Thermal Atomic Layer Deposition of Yttrium Oxide Films and Their Properties in Anticorrosion and Water Repellent Coating Applications
Coatings 2021, 11(5), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11050497 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1530
Abstract
The thermal atomic layer deposition (ThALD) of yttrium oxide (Y2O3) was developed using the newly designed, liquid precursor, Y(EtCp)2(iPr2-amd), as the yttrium source in combination with different oxygen sources, such as ozone, water [...] Read more.
The thermal atomic layer deposition (ThALD) of yttrium oxide (Y2O3) was developed using the newly designed, liquid precursor, Y(EtCp)2(iPr2-amd), as the yttrium source in combination with different oxygen sources, such as ozone, water and even molecular oxygen. Saturation was observed for the growth of the Y2O3 films within an ALD window of 300 to 450 °C and a growth per cycle (GPC) up to 1.1 Å. The resulting Y2O3 films possess a smooth and crystalline structure, while avoiding any carbon and nitrogen contamination, as observed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The films showed strong resistance to fluorine-containing plasma, outperforming other resistant materials, such as silicon oxide, silicon nitride and alumina. Interestingly, the hydrophilic character exhibited by the film could be switched to hydrophobic after exposure to air, with water contact angles exceeding 90°. After annealing under N2 flow at 600 °C for 4 min, the hydrophobicity was lost, but proved recoverable after prolonged air exposure or intentional hydrocarbon exposure. The origin of these changes in hydrophobicity was examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Evaluation of Damage Process of a Coating by Using Nonlinear Ultrasonic Method
Coatings 2021, 11(4), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11040440 - 11 Apr 2021
Viewed by 696
Abstract
During the service or external loading of the surface coating, the damage accumulation may develop in the coating or at the interface between the substrate and the coating, but it is difficult to measure directly in the early stage, so the acoustic nonlinear [...] Read more.
During the service or external loading of the surface coating, the damage accumulation may develop in the coating or at the interface between the substrate and the coating, but it is difficult to measure directly in the early stage, so the acoustic nonlinear parameters are used as the early damage index of the coating. In this paper, the nonlinear wave motion equation is solved by the perturbation method and the new relationship between the relative ratio of second-order parameter and third-order parameter was derived. The nonlinear ultrasonic testing system is used to detect received signals during tensile testing of for the specimen with Al2O3 coatings. It is found that when the stress is less than 260 MPa, the appearance of the coating has no obvious change, but the nonlinear coefficients measured by the experiment increase with the increase of the tensile stress. By comparing the curves of nonlinear coefficients and stress respectively, the fluctuation of curves the second-order nonlinear coefficient A2 and the relative nonlinear coefficient β′ to stress is relatively small, and close to the linear relationship with the tensile stress, which indicates that the two parameters of the specimen with Al2O3 coatings are more sensitive to the bonding conditions, and can be used as an evaluation method to track the coating damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Investigation of Thick-Film-Paste Rheology and Film Material for Pattern Transfer Printing (PTP) Technology
Coatings 2021, 11(1), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11010108 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1096
Abstract
Steady cost pressure in silicon solar cell production leads to a continuous reduction of silver consumption per cell. Pattern Transfer Printing (PTP) technology enables to reduce silver consumption by depositing smaller front electrodes on solar cells. Here, we aim at a better understanding [...] Read more.
Steady cost pressure in silicon solar cell production leads to a continuous reduction of silver consumption per cell. Pattern Transfer Printing (PTP) technology enables to reduce silver consumption by depositing smaller front electrodes on solar cells. Here, we aim at a better understanding of the laser deposition process. The aspect ratio of printed lines improved with increasing paste yield stress but was lower than the theoretical aspect ratio for a given trench geometry, suggesting that line spreading was caused by the pressure that was due to the vaporization of volatile paste components and a yield stress reduction that was due to local paste heating. A low laser power threshold, mandatory to fabricate narrow electrodes with a high aspect ratio and low amount of debris, could be achieved using pastes with low boiling temperature of volatile components and poor wetting between paste and film. The material with the lowest light transmission exhibited the lowest laser power threshold. We attribute this to the weaker adhesion to the paste and a better alignment with the laser focal plane. Our results provide valuable guidelines for paste and film material design aimed at narrower electrodes, with a higher aspect ratio to be obtained at an even lower laser power threshold in PTP-based solar cell metallization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Influences of Substrate Temperatures and Oxygen Partial Pressures on the Crystal Structure, Morphology and Luminescence Properties of Pulsed Laser Deposited Bi2O3:Ho3+ Thin Films
Coatings 2020, 10(12), 1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10121168 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 927
Abstract
Monoclinic Bi2O3:Ho3+ powder was synthesized using a co-precipitation method, followed by the deposition of Bi2O3:Ho3+ thin films on Si (100) substrates at various substrate temperatures (room temperature–600 °C) and oxygen partial pressures (5–200 [...] Read more.
Monoclinic Bi2O3:Ho3+ powder was synthesized using a co-precipitation method, followed by the deposition of Bi2O3:Ho3+ thin films on Si (100) substrates at various substrate temperatures (room temperature–600 °C) and oxygen partial pressures (5–200 mT) using pulsed-laser deposition. X-ray diffraction analysis showed a single α-Bi2O3 phase at temperatures of 400 and 500 °C, while a mixed α- and β-Bi2O3 phase was obtained at 600 °C. The films deposited at the different oxygen partial pressures showed an α-Bi2O3 and non-stoichiometric phase. The influences of different substrate temperatures and oxygen partial pressures on the morphology and the thickness of the films were analyzed using a scanning electron microscope. The root mean square roughnesses of the films were determined by using an atomic force microscope. The surface components, oxidation states and oxygen vacancies in all the deposited thin films were identified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The optical band gap of the Bi2O3:Ho3+ thin films was calculated using diffused reflectance spectra and was found to vary between 2.89 and 2.18 eV for the deposited films at the different temperatures, whereas the different oxygen partial pressures showed a band gap variation between 2.97 and 2.47 eV. Photoluminescence revealed that Ho3+ was the emitting centre in the isolated thin films with the 5F4/5S25I8 transition as the most intense emission in the green region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Study on Preparation of Superhydrophobic Ni-Co Coating and Corrosion Resistance by Sandblasting–Electrodeposition
Coatings 2020, 10(12), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10121164 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 857
Abstract
To enhance the corrosion resistance of type C45E4 substrates, a superhydrophobic Ni-Co coating was prepared on a C45E4 surface by sandblasting pretreatment and electrodeposition. The surface microstructure, three-dimensional surface roughness, and crystal structure of the coating was characterized by scanning electron microscope, laser [...] Read more.
To enhance the corrosion resistance of type C45E4 substrates, a superhydrophobic Ni-Co coating was prepared on a C45E4 surface by sandblasting pretreatment and electrodeposition. The surface microstructure, three-dimensional surface roughness, and crystal structure of the coating was characterized by scanning electron microscope, laser scanning confocal microscope, and X-ray diffraction. An optical surface contact angle measuring instrument and an electrochemical workstation was used to characterize the wettability and corrosion resistance of the surface. The results showed that the water contact angle reached 151.2 degrees on the Ni-Co coating surface. The surface was superhydrophobic and still had stable hydrophobicity after four months. In electrochemical corrosion experiments. Compared with polishing pretreatment, the corrosion current density of superhydrophobic Ni-Co coating prepared by sandblasting pretreatment reached Icorr = 5.05 × 10−7 A·cm−2, and the corrosion potential reached Ecorr = −0.33 V. The superhydrophobic Ni-Co coating had excellent corrosion resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Self-Assembly of Self-Cleaning Polystyrene/Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene Films with Well-Ordered Micro-Structures
Coatings 2020, 10(11), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10111133 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Well-ordered porous films have been widely applied in various areas, such as chemical sensors, microreactors, and tissue engineering. In this article, we propose a novel air-liquid interface self-assembly method to fabricate well-ordered porous polystyrene (PS)/styrene–butadiene–styrene (SBS) films by simply dipping the PS/SBS chloroform [...] Read more.
Well-ordered porous films have been widely applied in various areas, such as chemical sensors, microreactors, and tissue engineering. In this article, we propose a novel air-liquid interface self-assembly method to fabricate well-ordered porous polystyrene (PS)/styrene–butadiene–styrene (SBS) films by simply dipping the PS/SBS chloroform solutions onto the surface of a mixed water/ethanol liquid phase. The proper volume ratio of water/ethanol is necessary for the formation of films with highly uniform pore size. The effect of weight ratio of PS/SBS, the volume ratio of water/ethanol and the concentration of the solutions were experimentally investigated. The pore size decreases with the concentration of polymer solution, and the structure becomes more regular with the decrease of water/ethanol volume ratio. Ordered structure can be formed under PS/SBS in a certain weight ratio. The self-assembled films also have the function of self-cleaning. Besides the analysis of structural characteristic, the self-assembly mechanism was also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Article
Polysiloxane Hybrids via Sol-Gel Process: Effect of Temperature on Network Formation
Coatings 2020, 10(7), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10070677 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
The effect of temperature on the network formation of polysiloxane hybrids was evaluated since this type of material is currently in high demand. In the last decades, the deposition of these coatings on different substrates, mostly metals, has demonstrated anticorrosion properties. Sol-gel hybrids [...] Read more.
The effect of temperature on the network formation of polysiloxane hybrids was evaluated since this type of material is currently in high demand. In the last decades, the deposition of these coatings on different substrates, mostly metals, has demonstrated anticorrosion properties. Sol-gel hybrids were prepared by mixing 3-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTS) and tetramethyl orthosilicate (TMOS) with a molar ratio of 1. The formation, thickness and composition of these hybrid materials were evaluated by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), respectively. The results showed that the temperature plays an important role in the network formation, the total condensation degree and the total dimensionality of the hybrid materials. At room temperature, the polysiloxane hybrids presented total condensation degrees lower than 75% and a total dimensionality (dtotal) = 2.5, while those obtained at 65 °C presented total condensation degrees higher than 80% and a dtotal = 2.8. The ideal conditions to prepare polysiloxane hybrids are 65 °C for 4 h, where this shows a higher atomic percentage of Si and a greater thickness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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Review

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Review
Latest Development on Pulsed Laser Deposited Thin Films for Advanced Luminescence Applications
Coatings 2020, 10(11), 1078; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10111078 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 1928
Abstract
Currently, pulsed laser deposition (PLD) is a widely used technique to grow thin films for academic research and for industrial applications. The PLD has superior advantages including versatility, control over the growth rate, stoichiometric transfer and unlimited degree of freedom in the ablation [...] Read more.
Currently, pulsed laser deposition (PLD) is a widely used technique to grow thin films for academic research and for industrial applications. The PLD has superior advantages including versatility, control over the growth rate, stoichiometric transfer and unlimited degree of freedom in the ablation geometry compared to other deposition techniques. The primary objective of this review is to revisit the basic operation mechanisms of the PLD and discuss recent modifications of the technique aimed at enhancing the quality of thin films. We also discussed recent progress made in the deposition parameters varied during preparation of luminescent inorganic oxide thin films grown using the PLD technique, which include, among others, the substrate temperature. The advanced technological applications and different methods for film characterization are also discussed. In particular, we pay attention to luminescence properties, thickness of the films and how different deposition parameters affect these properties. The advantages and shortcomings of the technique are outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin and Thick Films: Deposition, Characterization and Applications)
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