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Definition: Nanotechnology sometimes shortened to "nanotech" is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres. Quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale. Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to direct control of matter on the atomic scale. Nanotechnology entails the application of fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc

Plasma arcing
Plasma is an ionized gas

A plasma is achieved by making a gas conduct electricity by providing a potential difference across two electrodes. Electrodes are made of conducting materials Electrodes can be made of a mixture of conducting and non conducting material. In arc discharge method, two high purity graphite electrodes as anode and cathode are held a short distance apart under a helium atmosphere. Under these conditions, some of the carbon evaporated from the anode re- condensed as a hard cylindrical deposit on cathode rod.
Using arc-discharge method, individual carbon nanotubes could be achieved in generally

several hundred microns long.

PHYSICAL VAPOUR DEPOSITION Physical vapour deposition (PVD) is fundamentally a vaporisation coating technique, involving transfer of material on an atomic level. It is an alternative process to electroplating The process is similar to chemical vapour deposition (CVD) except that the raw materials/precursors, i.e. the material that is going to be deposited starts out in solid form, whereas in CVD, the precursors are introduced to the reaction chamber in the gaseous state. It incorporates processes such as sputter coating and pulsed laser deposition (PLD). How Does Physical Vapour Deposition Work? PVD processes are carried out under vacuum conditions. The process involved four steps: Evaporation Transportation Reaction Deposition

Evaporation During this stage, a target, consisting of the material to be deposited is bombarded by a high ebergy source suchg as a beam of electrons or ions. This dislodges atoms from the surface of the target, vaporising them.

Transport This process simply consists of the movement of vaporised atoms from the target to the substrate to be coated and will generally be a straight line affair. Reaction In some cases coatings will consist of metal oxides, nitrides, carbides and other such materials. In these cases, the target will consist of the metal. The atoms of metal will then react with the appropriate gas during the transport stage. For the above examples, the reactive gases may be oxygen, nitrogen and methane. In instances where the coating consists of the target material alone, this step would not be part of the process.

Deposition This is the process of coating build up on the substrate surface. Depeding on the actual process, some reactions between target materials and the reactive gases may also take place at the substrate surface simultaneously with the deposition process. What are PVD Coatings Used For? PVD coatings are deposited for numerous reasons. Some of the main ones are: Improved hardness and wear resistance Reduced friction Improved oxidation resistance

The use of such coatings is aimed at improving efficiency through improved performance and longer component life. They may also allow coated components to operate in environments that the uncoated component would not otherwise have been able to perform. Advantages of the Physical Vapour Deposition Process Materials can be deposited with improved properties compared to the substrate material

Almost any type of inorganic material can be used as well as some kinds of organic materials The process is more environmentally friendly than processes such as electroplating

Disadvantages of the Physical Vapour Deposition Process It is a line of sight technique meaning that it is extremely difficult to coat undercuts and similar surface features High capital cost Some processes operate at high vacuums and temperatures requiring skilled operators Processes requiring large amounts of heat require appropriate cooling systems The rate of coating deposition is usually quite slow

Applications As mentioned previously, PVD coatings are generally used to improve hardness, wear resistance and oxidation resistance. Thus, such coatings use in a wide range of applications such as: Aerospace Automotive Surgical/Medical Dies and moulds for all manner of material processing Cutting tools Fire arms


Chemical vapour deposition or CVD is a generic name for a group of processes that involve depositing a solid material from a gaseous phase and is similar in some respects to physical vapour deposition (PVD). PVD differs in that the precursors are solid, with the material to be deposited being vaporised from a solid target and deposited onto the substrate.

Types of CVD Processes

CVD covers processes such as: Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (APCVD) Low Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (LPCVD) Metal-Organic Chemical Vapour Deposition (MOCVD)

Plasma Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition (PACVD) or Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD) Laser Chemical Vapour Deposition (LCVD) Photochemical Vapour Deposition (PCVD) Chemical Vapour Infiltration (CVI) Chemical Beam Epitaxy (CBE)

How Does CVD Work?

Precursor gases (often diluted in carrier gases) are delivered into the reaction chamber at approximately ambient temperatures. As they pass over or come into contact with a heated substrate, they react or decompose forming a solid phase which and are deposited onto the substrate. The substrate temperature is critical and can influence what reactions will take place.

Coating Characteristics
CVD coatings are typically: Fine grained Impervious High purity Harder than similar materials produced using conventional ceramic fabrication processes

CVD coatings are usually only a few microns thick and are generally deposited at fairly slow rates, usually of the order of a few hundred microns per hour.

CVD Apparatus
A CVD apparatus will consist of several basic components: Gas delivery system For the supply of precursors to the reactor chamber Reactor chamber Chamber within which deposition takes place

Substrate loading mechanism A system for introducing and removing substrates, mandrels etc Energy source Provide the energy/heat that is required to get the precursors to react/decompose. Vacuum system A system for removal of all other gaseous species other than those required for the reaction/deposition. Exhaust system System for removal of volatile by-products from the reaction chamber.

Exhaust treatment systems In some instances, exhaust gases may not be suitable for release into the atmosphere and may require treatment or conversion to safe/harmless compounds. Process control equipment Gauges, controls etc to monitor process parameters such as pressure, temperature and time. Alarms and safety devices would also be included in this category.

Energy Sources
There are several suitable sources of heat for CVD processes. These include: Resistive Heating e.g. tube furnaces Radiant Heating e.g. halogen lamps Radio Frequency Heating e.g. induction heating Lasers

Other energy sources may include UV-visible light or lasers as a source of photo energy.

Materials are deposited from the gaseous state during CVD. Thus precursors for CVD processes must be volatile, but at the same time stable enough to be able to be delivered to the reactor. Generally precursor compounds will only provide a single element to the deposited material, with others being volatilised during the CVD process. However sometimes precursors may provide more than one. Such materials simplify the delivery system, as they reduce the number of reactants required to produce a given compound.

Typical Precursor Materials

CVD precursor materials fall into a number of categories such as: Halides - TiCl4, TaCl5, WF6, etc Hydrides - SiH4, GeH4, AlH3(NMe3)2, NH3, etc Metal Organic Compounds Metal Alkyls - AlMe3, Ti(CH2tBu)4, etc Metal Alkoxides - Ti(OiPr)4, etc Metal Dialylamides - Ti(NMe2)4, etc Metal Diketonates - Cu(acac)2, etc Metal Carbonyls - Ni(CO)4, etc Others include a range of other metal organic compounds, complexes and ligands.

Materials That Can be Produced by CVD Processes

CVD is an extremely versatile process that can be used to process almost any metallic or ceramic compound. Some of these include: Elements Metals and alloys Carbides Nitrides

Borides Oxides Intermetallic compounds

CVD Gas Products

An often neglected by-product of the CVD process are volatile gases. However, these gases may be toxic, flammable or corrosive so must be treated appropriately. Analysis of the off-gases can also lead to a better understanding of the CVD reaction mechanisms and the information used to refine the process.

CVD has applications across a wide range of industries such as: Coatings Coatings for a variety of applications such as wear resistance, corrosion resistance, high temperature protection, erosion protection and combinations thereof. Semiconductors and related devices Integrated circuits, sensors and optoelectronic devices

Dense structural parts CVD can be used to produce components that are difficult or uneconomical to produce using conventional fabrication techniques. Dense parts produced via CVD are generally thin walled and maybe deposited onto a mandrel or former. Optical Fibres For telecommunications.

Composites Preforms can be infiltrated using CVD techniques to produce ceramic matrix composites such as carbon-carbon, carbon-silicon carbide and silicon carbide-silicon carbide composites. This process is sometimes called chemical vapour infiltration or CVI.