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Things are getting thinner

Beneq’s atomic layer deposition and aerosol technologies are used to produce advanced, high-performance thin film coatings used in a number of leading photovoltaic and flexible electronics and lighting applications.

Beneq’s atomic layer deposition (ALD ) equipment for producing thin film coatings for research, batch production, and continuous industrial manufacturing offers results that cannot be achieved cost–efficiently using non-ALD technologies, if at all.

Thanks to the company’s highly repeatable and scalable process, Beneq’s ALD solutions enable very precise nanometre–thick, pinhole– free, and dimensionally accurate thin films to be applied to virtually any object, shape, or 3D geometry – reliably and affordably. Pinhole–free films deliver superior barriers and high-performance surface passivation, and intrinsically conformal coating is a major benefit when working with different types of substrates, including porous bulk materials and powders.

Beneq’s ALD systems combine uncompromisingly high-quality coating capabilities with extremely low cycle times. Whether intended as tools for research purposes or as industrial workhorses, all are planned, designed, and manufactured to the same exacting standards.

Some – such as the TFS 1200 and TFS NX300 batch systems – are application-specific and the outcome of in-depth work with customers, while others are breaking completely new ground. The WCS 500 Web Coating System, for example, is the first-ever to make genuine roll–to–roll ALD viable and accessible for both research and industrial production.

Two aerosol coating technologies

In the aerosol coating area, Beneq’s nHALO® technology is a flame-based nanoparticle generation process that offers industrial-scale capabilities for both in-line and off-line flat glass coating. nHALO® can be used to modify the surface layer of a substrate material by allowing nanoparticles to diffuse into the material matrix or to produce a surface coating by depositing nanoparticles directly on the surface.

Beneq’s other aerosol process, nAERO®, combines the advantages of spray pyrolysis and CVD, while avoiding the challenges commonly associated with these more traditional methods. It offers high thin film growth rates and an efficient use of raw materials, with minimal detrimental process-related particle formation.

As the deposition process can be scaled up easily, nAERO® is well-suited to a variety of production and post-processing use on glass, and has proved very effective in producing transparent conductive oxide (TCO ) coatings for thin film photovoltaics and low-emissivity glass.

Beneq’s WCS 500 offers true roll–to–roll ALD on flexible webs up to 500 mm in width.

An international winner

Beneq has been very successful in winning international accolades for its pioneering technology recently. The company was named Best in New Materials and one of the Global Top 10 Later Stage Award Winners by the Global Cleantech Cluster Association in 2011 and received the 2011 Millennium Distinction Award for excellence and growth in photovoltaics. Beneq was also a Winner of Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe and Global Prizes and was a recipient of one of the President of Finland’s 2011 Internationalisation Awards.

> Joe Pimenoff
(Published in HighTech Finland 2013)