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Thin film deposition is a process whereby materials - generally precious metals or oxides - are deposited onto a substrate or lithography sample. This can be achieved in a variety of ways such as sputtering, electroplating, evaporation, or CVD.


ANFF-SA offers a range of different thin film deposition techniques and instruments including:

RF/DC sputtering        HHV TF500               Deposits metals and oxides thin films

Nickel electroplating   Customised                Mask to be used in DRI of glass substrates

Thermal evaporation   Emitech K975x MVD  Deposits metal/oxide thin films

Thermal evaporation


The process: Resistive thermal evaporation is another form of physical vapour deposition and can be used to deposit metals, organic, and inorganic polymers. In this method, electrical energy is used to heat a filament which in turn heats a deposition material to the point of evaporation. The process can be performed at very high levels of vacuum to eliminate collisions with foreign particles and therefore fewer tendencies to introduce film impurities. High deposition rates can be achieved and lower energy particles can reduce substrate damage.


The uses: Polymer solar cells and flexible electronics.

The instrument: Emitech K975X MVD



The process: Sputtering is a physical vapour deposition method that involves depositing thin films in a vacuum environment. During this process, a solid material and substrate are positioned separately within a vacuum system. A high-energy argon ion plasma stream is targeted at the material, resulting in the subject material being ejected and deposited onto the substrate, creating a thin film.


As this is not an evaporative process, the temperatures required for sputtering are lower than evaporation methods. This makes it one of the most flexible deposition processes and it is particularly useful for depositing materials with a high melting point or a mixture of materials, as compounds that may evaporate at different rates, can be sputtered at the same rate. Certain processes will benefit from improved film adhesion due to higher impact energy.


The uses: The sputtering process is used extensively in the semiconductor industry, screen displays, photovoltaics and magnetic data storage. Sputtering can be used to deposit a wide variety of thin films including metals, oxides, nitrides and alloys. 


The instrument: HHV TF500



The process: Electroplating uses electrical current to reduce dissolved metal ions from an electrolyte to form a coherent metal coating on a material. The cathode, or part to be plated, and plating metal are immersed in an electrolyte containing dissolved metal salts as well as other ions that permit the flow of electricity. When a current is applied to the electrolyte, the free metal ions move through the solution to the cathode and are reduced to metal, creating a thin metal covering the surface.


The uses: Electroplating is a common process in the jewellery, automotive, and food industries but it is also highly useful in the production of semi-conducting electronics and optics. Different metals can also be used to grow shims for use in hot embossing and nano-imprint lithography, while they can also help to protect surfaces from aggressive etching processes. Nickel electroplating can also be used to cast PDMS in the creation of fluidic cells.

The instrument: *Customised

Contact ANFF-SA Facility Manager Simon Doe on +61 8 8302 5226 for further information or to make a booking. 

View our full instrument list or for more information please contact facility manager Simon Doe today on +61 8 8302 5226.

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