Boost for laser-deposited thin films

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The development of laser-deposited thin film coatings and surface treatments has received a boost with the announcement that Picodeon, a Finnish coating technology specialist, has completed a €5 million round of investment.

The investment, by Enso Ventures, will fund further research into thin-film applications and the development of new thin-film materials, as well as the production of a market-ready range of laser deposition equipment. In addition, Picodeon recently started a new project funded by TEKES (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) with a value of more than €1 million.

Picodeon's patented Coldab coating technology is an advanced ultra-short pulsed laser deposition (USPLD) process, which allows nanometre-scale thin-film coatings -- including materials such as metals, composites, oxides and polymers -- to be deposited on a range of substrates.

Material is vapourised in a laser-ablation process to form a plasma plume which condenses on the substrate to form the thin film. Applications include optical coatings for displays, screens, and other transparent products, and may vary from super-hard low-friction thin-films to optical thin-films with anti-finger print properties. In July, Picodeon delivered a system to a semiconductor manufacturer for the USPLD deposition of a gold thin film.  

Marko Mylläri, CEO of Picodeon, said: 'Picodeon is investing nearly €2 million in the development of new automated thin-film coating equipment which will be up and running by January 2014. This is a unique machine to demonstrate the volume manufacturing potential of PLD coatings. It will show that the PLD process is not just a laboratory research concept, but that it is scalable into industrial applications.'