Advanced Sputtering

Advanced Sputtering

Applying a Film to Glass

Plasma sputtering

In the high-tech world of advanced coatings, "sputtering" is a high-speed, high-volume process where superfast ions hit a metal target and dislodge miniscule particles that in turn coat a thin film over cutting-edge products like architectural glass, large-screen televisions and computer displays.

Berkeley Lab scientists are applying this method to low-e glass to further improve the product and save money. Adopting energy-saving coated glass in commercial and residential arenas is a rapidly advancing field that needs the science and data to support it.

Glassmakers use the sputtering to coat glass. During the coating process, argon gas is placed in a vacuum chamber and is ionized (gets a charge) so that magnetic fields can drive the argon atoms at high speed against the rotating sputtering target within a chamber. The argon atoms knock material loose from the sputtering target. This process occurs as a large piece of glass passes through the vacuum chamber. The loose material coats the glass. The glass coating is built up in layers by moving the glass back and forth.