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Physical Vapor Deposition: 6 Essential Questions

What is PVD?

PVD or physical vapor deposition is a vaporization technique that involves a transfer of material on an atomic level. Similar to chemical vapor deposition or CVD, the process is considered an alternative to electroplating. PVD is process that goes through the following 4 stages: evaporation, transportation, reaction, and deposition.

What are PVD materials?

PVD materials refer to a slew of metals that can be used to create thin films and coatings on various surfaces. There are a number of advantages to choosing this deposition technique over others.

Pros of PVD Coatings:

  • Durability. PVD coatings are hardier and have a greater resistance to corrosion than other coatings. Therefore, if you want a coating that will last, it is a great choice to consider.
  • Heat-Resistant. While a number of coatings can also resist high temperatures, PVD coatings are sturdy enough to ensure that high temperatures won’t damage the surface of the material and compromise it.
  • Versatile. You don’t have to limit your choice to only few inorganic materials. The PVD coating process works on almost any kind of inorganic and organic material.
  • Eco-Friendly. PVD is a much better choice than electroplating or painting since it’s more environmentally-friendly.

Cons of PVD Coatings:

  • Technique. Line of sight (LOS) techniques make it more difficult for to coat the undercuts of the material as well as other similar features of the surface.
  • Cost. This technology doesn’t come cheap. You’ll have to invest a good chunk of capital before you have the materials in place. However, the results are worth every penny once you see the quality of the finished materials.
  • Requires Skilled Operators. PVD typically mean processes that require tremendously high temperature settings. This means operators must be skilled and trained to be fully on their guard. A single misstep could land them in a whole lot of trouble.

Common Applications for PVD Coatings

Since PVD coatings are known to enhance the oxidation resistance of a surface, it’s often used in a number of different applications. Some common applications include: automotive, cutting tools, fire arms, dies and molds for processing materials, and aerospace.

Where to shop for PVD materials and coatings?

Look for reliable PVD manufacturers that provide quality PVD coatings, like ACI Alloys. With over 30 years of industry experience, you’re always in good hands.

Advantages of Using Indium Bonds

Indium bonding is an application of sputtering target bonding. If you’re looking for metallization techniques that enhance the quality of the bond in a major way, then consider this bonding application. Some advantages are:

Thermal Conduction & Durability

Indium bonding is very well-known and often used because of its powerful thermal conductivity. Because it has a greater resistance to high temperatures, the bond is also long-lasting.

Heat Extraction

The bond is an ideal and efficient way to eliminate heat from any target. Therefore, operators find it easier to work with the material.


If you are looking for a bond that is more malleable than other bonding solders out in the market, indium bonding fits the bill quite nicely. By using a malleable bond, cracks and other common wear and tears—which could lead to issues and problems—are less likely to happen.

Low Melting Point

Some of the best bonds have a low melting point. The bonds must be able to remove stress when dissimilar materials cool to help lessen the extent of the damage caused by warping.

Finding the Right Bonding Manufacturer

Not all manufacturers provide the same results in regard to bond quality. Therefore, it’s best to choose the most reliable company.

In order to make sure you’re dealing with a quality bonding manufacturer, it’s advisable to check for the following:

  • Experience. Pick a company that has been in the business long enough to know how to get things done and done right.
  • Reputation. Chances are, if a company has already been around for more than a few years, they have built a reputation. Make sure that they have a good reputation, and if not, look elsewhere.
  • Reliability. Choose a company that is known for its dedication, or one that has a history of providing quality results.
  • Trustworthiness. Protect your business against unscrupulous providers. Ask around and look for companies that you feel you can trust.

ACI Alloys, Inc. has been manufacturing alloys, along with bonds, for the last 30 years. With 3 decades of experience, we are well positioned to provide you with everything you need for all of your manufacturing and processing applications. For more information, contact us today.

PVD Materials And Medical Devices

Application of physical vacuum deposition (PVD) technology has increased substantially over the past two decades. It has recently achieved the level of the second most popular process of coating various components. Initially, this combination of environmentally friendly and precise material coating became the favorite of various sectors of the manufacturing sector. Tool manufacturers and the electronics industry became two industries that sought out PVD materials for coating their components.

Recently, another industrial concern has begun to use PVD coatings for their products. While the medical industry originally flirted with PVD process in the 1980s, the limitations of the materials and technology at the time, was not conducive to growth in its application in this field. Today, however, the PVD process is becoming widely accepted as a means of providing various medical instruments and devices with the qualities they need.

What Medical Devices Use PVD Technology?

PVD is often used to provide a thin film coating on a variety of medical devices and instruments. Among those that use this process:

  • Catheters
  • Dental Instruments
  • Digital Thermometers
  • 38 Endoscopes Heart Valves
  • Laboratory Equipment
  • Orthodontic Appliances
  • Orthopedic Implants
  • Pacemakers
  • Prostheses
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Tubing

They rely on PVD materials to supply the qualities the instruments require when functioning in their specific environment.

Why Employ PVD?

Companies select PVD technology over others for several reasons. They turn to it mainly because it has the capability to alter the surface of the substrate metal comprising the component. It modifies it, enabling it to perform its medical functions. The PVD coating will vary to address the existing qualities of the substrate as well as to enhance or attribute desirable properties. Among the reasons for medical instruments to receive a layer of PVD material are the following:

  • Increased Adhesion
  • Bonding
  • Lubricity
  • Infection Prevention
  • Increased Hardness
  • Protection from Corrosion
  • EMI/RFI (Electromagnetic and Radio frequency shielding)
  • Wear Resistance

These are very desirable properties. A coating company must ensure when applying the material it is biocompatible. In many instances, the PVD coating most commonly employed to achieve this is titanium nitride (TiN). Other options currently used in the medical instrument sector are:

  • Aluminum Titanium Nitride (AlTiN)
  • Chromium Nitride(CrN)
  • Titanium Aluminum Nitride(TiAlN)
  • Zirconium Nitride (ZrN)

Such PVD material is capable of addressing specific needs and providing coatings for substrates comprised of ceramics, metals and polymers.

PVD Materials

At ACI Alloys, we can help you find the right process to thin film coat your component for the medical field. Our professional engineers and technicians are experts in this area. We understand the value of PVD technology and are always ready to help your company explore a new use for PVD materials in bettering the production of medical instrument components and devices.

Master Alloys Expand Potential

Master alloys play an important role in several manufacturing fields. The use of custom alloys and high purity metals exists in a large number of industries, and it is always very important to be accurate in composition. At ACI Alloys, we have been custom forming metal alloys for over 30 years.

With a globally competitive market, and a movement towards increasing efficiencies, custom metal blends are being utilized more frequently in industries from high tech R&D to standard everyday steel.

What are Master Alloys?
The use of base metals to a custom blend is a science that takes experience and skill. Metal alloys are often designed for an intended field or are product specific and many parameters are needed to me met when melting. ACI providing the master alloy can leave save time and still leave the final treatment in the manufacture hands.

At different times in the melting process, metals can be mixed to influence the overall microstructure of an alloy. ACI can follow a specific recipe or consult on modifications to achieve property such as increase mechanical strength, electrical conductivity, ease of use, or overall appearance of metals. Blends can be added using a variety of methods and processed so that the strength and appearance will provide a product that is of excellent quality.

Industrial Skills
The custom alloy industry as a whole is focused on a quality skill set and extensive experience. With the use of equipment that is specific to the development of alloy blends, becoming an expert takes time. Learning to properly blend metals in specialized environment and applying this to our finished product is what we love to do.

With our vacuum arc melters, furnace and induction melter, we are able to make custom blends with increased potential. We use our years of experience at ACI Alloys to keep our clients happy.

Indium Bonding – The Process Explained

Chemistry and science are more than just school subjects to many people. These people may remember sitting in a classroom mesmerized by the periodic table of elements and imagining collecting all the elements and noting their different properties. If you had this problem, well, then you are fortunate to know about ACI ALLOYS.

At ACI Alloys, we believe in manufacturing reliable products for leading industrial and academic groups, and we want people to understand what we do. We stock almost every element, know their properties well and stand behind our products.

Indium bonding is one of the many services we provide and here is some background information on what is used and the process:


Indium is a chemical element that is considered a post-transition metal. All that really means is that it sits between transitional metals and the metalloids in the periodic table of elements. It is a soft metal that has a low melting point when compared to other metals and it is most often associated with zinc and tin. Its low melting point combined with its thermal and electrical properties make it especially useful in the bonding process.

Indium can serve a variety of uses and purposes, such as creating alloys, photoconductors, and thermistors, and is considered a non-toxic alternative to the highly toxic mercury.

The Bonding Process

We specialize in quick turnaround times for any bonding process. With the indium bonding process, we can guarantee the quality of the bond through ultrasonic testing. Due to Indium’s malleable properties and low temperature, it is an ideal metal to be used in bonding. This malleability means that it can be flexible with the thermal expansion of the target when it differs from the backing plate. One aspect of indium bonding to keep in mind is that since indium does have a low melting point, you have to be careful to have sufficient cooling to be sure not to exceed 150 degrees Celsius during the sputtering process.

Whatever your needs are regarding Indium bonding, we can help fulfill them and answer any questions you may have.

Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Materials and Their Many Uses

The use of thin PVD materials is a crucial need in an amazing variety of industries. Examples where thin films are used include architectural glass, touch panel displays, solar cells, and architectural glass. Other areas of application include smartphones, bank ATMS, digital photo printers, library information terminals, and car navigation systems. The process used to create these thin layers is known as sputter deposition.

How Sputtering Deposition Works

Sputtering deposition is done in a vacuum chamber. The source used to create the thin material is a called a sputtering target, and it could be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. Air is continually removed in a vacuum, and argon gas is continually introduced to create a low pressure atmosphere. A magnet array behind target creates a magnetic field, and a high voltage is applied to the target. The arc creates a plasma that concentrates along a magnetic field. Within this magnetic field is plasma, argon atoms, argon ions, and free electrons. The argon ions are then attracted to the sputtering target’s surface and chip off the atoms to create the thin film.

Our Capabilities

At ACI Alloys Inc., we specialize in the creation and production of high purity metals and custom alloys. We have the experience and skills to create affordable, thin material solutions for any need or application. We also have the means to create master alloys and ingots from every metal that exists on the periodic table. Our processes allow us to mill, cut, and grind a vast array of materials, which can be customized to a customer’s needs.

Additional PVD Applications

Additional uses for PVD may include aluminum tracks, ceramic resistors for electronic circuitry, optic coatings, plastic coatings, and coatings to prevent wear for machines and press tools. Thin film applications are extensive and can also be used where anti-fogging, anti-corrosive, stain repellent, non-stick, electrically insulated, low friction, and wear resistant qualities are needed.

PVD materials are amazing elements that affect the daily lives of people in many ways. The process will continue to play a major role in how and why products are created. With the virtual unlimited combination of elements with unique properties, imagining for a whole new world of applications is always possible.

Thin Film Materials-Overview and Common Applications

Thin films have thousands uses for both of everyday items and highly specialized technologies. Using thin film materials or rather the application of a thin film to a product or component is called deposition. The term deposition, itself, is really any technique that affixes a fine layer of material onto a substrate or the surface of an object. Generally, this process is accomplished through two main categories of deposition–chemical deposition or via physical deposition.

For example, everyday household mirrors were previously made using a similar technique known as silvering. Today, the application of different materials to other components typically occurs either with optical coatings or electronic semiconductor devices. Here, at ACI Alloys, we offer a thin film material for all types of applications. We can make high purity custom alloys, precious metals, ceramics and non-precious metals.

Commonly Used Types of Thin Film Materials

As previously mentioned, other commonly used films include a range of metals, non-metals such as ceramics and PVD materials all of which are ideal for creating specific kinds of thin films. Depending on your specific needs, materials that are affixed or sputtered using Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) can be customized to the level of quality and the exact size you desire. We can also provide ceramics- ceramic films are another commonly used to creates a protective layer against oxidation, wear and corrosion.

Typically, this particular material is perfect for extending the longevity of tools as well as other products or components that are prone to wear and tear. Ultimately, if you are having trouble finding the material you hope to use for your application, our experts at ACI Alloys have the experience to find a way to make the thin film materials that you need.

The Difference between Physical and Chemical Deposition

With chemical deposition, fluid precursors essentially change a solid surface on a chemical level. In other words, a particular fluid surrounds a solid component and the process of deposition therefore occurs completely on every surface without any real opportunity for customization. Physical deposition, on the other hand, uses electromechanical, thermodynamic or mechanical methods to create the film or coating.

Benefits of Thin Film Application

The benefits of thin film application are almost endless, since films, PVD materials and coatings are used in almost every industry. Typically, coatings and films provide a specific protective function.

Precious Metal Alloys: A Few Facts and Practices

Made up of rare metals, precious metal alloys possess unique characteristics unavailable in traditional base metal alloys. Each precious metal brings its best qualities to the final product, offering a variety of extended properties. At ACI Alloys, we strive to provide high-quality metals through in-house melting with carefully crafted and cost-reductive technology to help our clients get the best alloy at the lowest possible cost. Today’s critical uses for alloys leave no room for error, and product integrity is the key to a viable and overall great finished product.

Noble Metals
Noble metals bring special qualities to alloys. Precious metals such as gold, silver, palladium, platinum and iridium all have their own special elements. To reach desirable results, we perform specification testing for shape, strength, melting point, corrosion resistance, conductivity, malleability and ductability. It’s important to remember that properties differ based on the composition of the alloy. Depending on the finished product, testing of alternative metals should always be taken into consideration. At ACI Alloys, we know reclamation value is also an important factor when deciding on which precious metals to use.

Different Metals, Unique Properties
While all precious metals have unique properties, they also share many common characteristics. For instance, gold and silver share high reliability. Gold, however, is less lubricable than silver, but stands up to corrosion better than silver. Silver offers a better soldering surface than gold, and the conductivity of silver is superior to most other metals. Palladium is an alternative to gold for some purposes, and it absorbs hydrogen. Platinum offers superior anti-corrosive properties, and iridium offers excellent elasticity. Depending on the mix of metals, the application possibilities are almost endless.

Precious metal alloys are used throughout a multitude of industries. At ACI Alloys, we specialize in precious metals for evaporation and sputtering which can apply for the aerospace, electronics, ceramics, automotive and medical and chemical industries. Testing any industry product specifications should include determining proportions, content and purity to ensure integrity of the finished products. While innovation in testing is an important factor in reducing costs, we also recommend considering reclamation when engineering your precious metal alloy.