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Book Reviews

New books on Physical Vapor Depositon Processes are reviewed and added periodically. These reviews were initially published in the SVC Bulletin.


Handbook of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Processing, Second Edition, Donald M. Mattox, Elsevier, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8155-2037-5.

I keep a few of my favorite reference books on the shelf closest to my desk and the one I find myself reaching for most often is Don Mattox’s “Handbook of Physical Vapor Deposition Processing.” Therefore, I was eager to take a look at the second edition when I learned it was available. I’m pleased to report that the things I like about the first edition are still there and that the author has added a number of helpful new features. It remains a comprehensive description of PVD technology, including excellent sections on associated subjects such as substrate preparation and film characterization. It also retains the first edition’s unique practicality with topics like tech transfer from R&D to manufacturing and the anecdotal footnotes that inform and entertain.

New content augments the earlier material. For example, a table of polymer repeat units is very helpful to those of us who are not chemists and many will find the illustrations of crystal structures and Bragg diffraction useful. The sections on the vacuum environment have been redone and hands-on information, such as how to change gas cylinders, has been added. Thought has also been given to the way people do research today. For example, the extensive glossary now includes related terms making Internet searching easier. I find the production quality to be better than the first edition as well. The larger format is easier to read and many of the figures and illustrations have been improved, making the overall appearance much nicer in my view.

I’m confident that if I replace my original copy of the “Handbook of Physical Vapor Deposition Processing” with the second edition I’ll find the information I’ve always counted on along with some important new items. It’s a worthy successor as an outstanding resource for those who are learning about PVD for the first time or for experienced practitioners need a bit more background.

(Review by Dave Glocker, President, Isoflux Incorporated)


50 Years of Vacuum Coating Technology and the Growth of the Society of Vacuum Coaters, edited by Donald M. Mattox and Vivienne Harwood Mattox, Society of Vacuum Coaters, 2007, ISBN 978-1-878068-27-9. Available from the Society of Vacuum Coaters. Visit the SVC On-line Store

To celebrate the 50 years of Excellence in Vacuum Coating, the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA) has published a book entitled,“50 years of Vacuum Coating Technology and the Growth of the Society of Vacuum Coaters.” The book contains excellent historical overviews of the science and technology related to the field of Vacuum Coatings, and also provides a description of the history, operation and governance of the SVC and the SVC Foundation.

The first section on the historical development of the important field of vacuum coatings is a “must read” for everybody working in the field of vacuum coating.  Several key players in the field have contributed to the book in the form of excellent reviews, which usually end with an outlook. These very well documented and written contributions can be divided into material and coating related contributions (a.o. decorative coatings, transparent conductive coatings, tribological coatings, smart materials, anti- and high-reflective materials), vacuum deposition technology related contributions (a.o. vacuum roll coating, sputtering sources, electron beam evoparation, cathodic arc coating, power supply technology) but also related to important scientific subjects of study such as bombardment effects, surface treatment aspects and plasma processes.

Section II is interesting for those who have shaped the important field of vacuum coatings, but also for newcomers to the field since, as paraphrased in the preface of this excellent book, “Those who do not know the history of their field are doomed to repeat its mistakes, or end up in patent litigation.” (G. Santayana).

For me, reading the book not only gave me a better insight into this still lively field of research, but also illustrated the importance of this statement.

(Review by M.C.M. van de Sanden, Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands)


Thin-Film Optical Filters, by H.A. Macleod, Thin Film Center, Inc., 641 pages, Third Edition, 2001. ISBN 0 7503 0688 2. Available from the Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, United Kingdom, and Philadelphia, PA.

In 1969 H. Angus Macleod published the first edition of Thin-Film Optical Filters. This was the premiere reference at the time for a comprehensive derivation from basic theory (Maxwell’s equations) to a fundamental expression of what happens mathematically as light transverses through various media, including optical thin-film structures and substrates. It contained a wealth of references to pertinent publications, thin-film coating design, and process development for optical thin-film technology.

The third edition is no less rich and includes expanded references and information on many advances in design and technology since the second edition was published in 1986. The basic coating types (mirrors, beam-splitters, multilayer high-reflectors, and edge filters) are covered pretty much as before. One also could say that this was true of the chapter on antireflection coating. However, I found the addition of a discussion on buffer layers in antireflection coating of many layers to improve performance very interesting. From a design aspect, the chapter on band-pass filters had several advances, from a technique to eliminate reflectance lobes at either edge of the high transmission band of a narrow multi-cavity filter, to adding thick layer impedance matching structures to make the very high transmittance, very narrow multi-cavity DWDM filters needed for the telecommunications industry.

The chapter on "Production methods and thin-film materials" has a major rewrite and updated photographs of equipment. A primary addition was a section on energetic plasma processes that reflects advances in sputtering, evaporation, RLVIP, IAD, and CVD technology over the last 15 years. A new chapter was added, "Factors affecting layer and coating properties." This chapter contains information moved from other chapters in the book and has expanded information on the effect of microstructure on the properties of selected films and the sensitivity of contamination on the performance of films. Another new chapter, "Other topics," includes areas of interest developed in the last 15 years, such as a discussion of rugate filters made up of continuously varying refractive index (typically modeled with many very thin discrete layers) and ultra-fast coating performance, which results from ultra-fast laser pulses where transient response can become significant. This chapter concludes with a discussion of automatic methods of refining and synthesis (or optimization) of optical coating designs.

The third edition of Thin-Film Optical Filters is a must-have addition to the library of any optical thin-film theorist or practitioner. It provides extensive methods to use in achieving desired optical performance for a broad range of coating types and extensive references for one to use in delving deeper into these topics.

(Review prepared by Dale E. Morton, Denton Vacuum, LLC)


Physical Vapor Deposition of Thin Films, by John E. Mahan, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000. ISBN 0-471-33001-9. For ordering information call 800-CALL-WILEY

This is an interesting book with a rather misleading title. A better title might be "Fundamentals of Some Aspects of Physical Vapor Deposition." For example, there are 10 pages on pulsed laser deposition, 1 page on reactive deposition, and nothing on arc vapor deposition. There is no discussion of the effect of ion bombardment on film growth, nor is there discussion of the structure-zone models of film growth. There is only limited discussion of "I-PVD." The author seems to concentrate on subjects that can be treated mathematically. The individual discussions are quite good though, and the book is a good addition to the library of someone serious about PVD. However, it certainly doesn’t give a good overall view of the subject to the university engineering student to whom it is supposedly directed.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Handbook of Physical Vapor DepositionProcessing, by Donald M. Mattox, William Andrews/Noyes Publications, 1998. ISBN 0-8155-1422-0.

The recently published Handbook of Physical Vapor Deposition Processing sets the ambitious goal of covering all aspects of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) process technology. To a large extent, it succeeds. In addition to sections on all of the major deposition methods, there are chapters on substrate cleaning and preparation, the vacuum environment, film nucleation and growth, analytical methods, and film properties. Because it is so comprehensive, the material is treated at a relatively high level. However, there is an excellent list of references for those interested in learning more about any of the subjects covered. The informal style makes reading easy and the anecdotal footnotes, describing actual case histories, are both fun and valuable. Another useful element is an extensive glossary of terms, which helps take the mystery out of the jargon for newcomers. I have called on the Handbook frequently in the short time I have had it and have been pleased to often find what I was looking for or be led to the right references. Anyone involved in PVD processing, from substrates to coating to analysis, will find this an important addition to their library.

(Review prepared by David A. Glocker, Isoflux Incorporated)


Handbook of Vacuum Science and Technology, edited by Dorothy M. Hoffman. Bawa Singh and John H. Thomas, III, Academic Press, 1998, 834 pages. ISBN 0-12-352065-7.

This book is a very good addition to the vacuum technology literature. The chapters are written by individuals who are authorities in their subjects. The book has sections on subjects such as the use of aluminum for vacuum applications and cleaning of surfaces, that are not found in standard texts. The book has practical information on the use of vacuum components and systems and a section on the application of vacuum in science and industry.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


High-Vacuum Technology: A Practical Guide - Second edition, Revised and Expanded, by Marsbed H. Hablanian, Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1997, 551 pages. ISBN 0-8247-9834-1. To order, call 212/696-9000.

This revised and updated book is a welcome addition to the vacuum engineering literature. Much of the expansion of the book is in the addition of a chapter on Gettering and Ion Pumping and a chapter on Overloading Vacuum Pumps. The book could be further expanded to cover vacuum feedthoughs and the techniques and problems associated with introducing gases into a vacuum chamber. This would include mass flow meters and partial pressure control methods. Also the materials used in vacuum engineering and their "conditioning" and cleaning is not covered to any extent. All-in-all though this is probably the most up-to-date book on vacuum engineering that is available on the subjects covered. For example, it has a good description of the diaphragm vacuum pump which was not discussed in the first edition. and I have not seen discussed in any other book.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Handbook of Thin Film Process Technology: Supplement 96/1, edited by David A. Glocker and S. Ismat Shah, IOP Publishing Ltd., 1996. ISBN 0 7503 03115.

For ordering information, contact IOP Publishing Ltd., c/o AIDC, 2 Winter Sport Lane, Williston, VT 05495-0020; Telephone 800/632-0880

This is the first supplement to the Handbook of Thin Film Technology that was previously reviewed. The supplement is free to those that have purchased the book if they registered for the supplements. This supplement contains a new section on thermal spray processes, some new PVD information and a very interesting article on atomic adsorption spectroscopy. There are several new film materials discussed.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Handbook of Vacuum Arc Science and Technology: Fundamentals and Applications, edited by Raymond L. Boxman, Philip J. Martin and David M. Sanders, Noyes Publications, 1995, 742 pages. ISBN 0-8155-1375-5. Available from Noyes Publications. Tel 201/666-1843 FAX 201/666-5111.

This book should remain the seminal work on the subject of vacuum (and low-pressure gaseous) cathodic and anodic arcs for some time to come. One major plus is the significant number of Russian contributors. The Russians have made many contributions to this field but their work is seldom recognized. It is to the editors' credit that they overcame the problems associated with incorporating their work in this book. The book has a chapter on the deposition of coatings, primarily reactive deposition of hard coatings, using arc sources. I think that one thing that is missing from the treatment is the effect of the arc on plasma chemistry. Arcs are very efficient in "activating" reactive gases, which is important in reactive deposition processes. The cathodic arc also has the advantage in coating deposition that it moves over the whole target surface and thus prevents "poisoning" of some areas on the target surface, which can be a problem in magnetron reactive sputter deposition.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Handbook of Thin Film Process Technology, edited by David A. Glocker and S. Ismat Shah, IOP Publishing Ltd. 1995. 750 pages ISBN 0 7503 03115. Available from IOP Publishing Ltd., c/o AIDC, 2 Winter Sport Lane, Williston, VT 05495-0020 Tel 800/632-0880.

This book has a rather unusual format in that the pages and sections can be removed or replaced and new or revised sections added. A subscription allows new sections to be obtained as they become available. The book provides a wealth of information by a variety of experts on a variety of deposition processes including: section A. Physical Deposition Processes, B. Chemical Deposition Processes, C. Processing Technologies, D. Real-time Diagnostics, and X. Materials. The deposition and properties of a number of specific materials are discussed in detail in Section X. Of particular note are the sections on Electron Beam Evaporation by Graper and on Glow Discharge Sputtering and Magnetron Sputtering by Penfold. The deposition process of ion plating is treated in a rather cursory manner in a section on Ion Vapour Evaporation. The properties of atomistically deposited thin films depends on a number of factors but the book only deals with one of these factors – namely deposition processes. There is no discussion of atomistic film growth, the effect of substrate morphology and chemistry (cleaning) on film growth, and little about characterization of film properties. Hopefully these deficiencies will be remedied in subsequent supplements.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Particles on Surfaces: Detection, Adhesion and Removal, edited by K.L. Mittal, Marcel Dekker, 1995. 420 pages. ISBN 0-8247-9535-0.

This volume contains the proceedings of the Fourth Symposium on Particles on Surfaces held as part of the 23rd annual meeting of the Fine Particle Society held in July 1992. The book contains 23 papers covering a number of aspects of detection, identification, and cleaning for semiconductor processing, optical surfaces and spacecraft.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Surface Engineering, Vol. 5 of the ASM Handbook, ASM International, 1994. ISBN 0-87170-384-X. Available from American Society for Metals International (ASM), Materials Park, OH 44073-0002; Tel. 216/338-5151.

This volume contains information on a wide variety of surface finishing, cleaning, coating and surface modification techniques and should be in all engineering libraries. In the Physical Vapor Deposition section there are articles on: Growth and Growth-Related Properties of Films Formed by Physical Vapor Deposition, Vacuum Deposition, Reactive Evaporation and Gas Evaporation, Sputter Deposition, Ion Plating, Ion-Beam-Assisted Deposition, Arc Deposition and Ion Implantation. Of particular note are the sections on Growth and Growth-Related Properties of Films Formed by Physical Vapor Deposition; Vacuum Deposition, Reactive Evaporation and Gas Evaporation; and Ion Plating by Mattox and Ion-Beam-Assisted Deposition by Hubler and Hirvonen. There is also a section on Testing and Characterization of Coatings and Thin Films.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Plasma Sources for Thin Film Deposition and Etching, edited by Maurice H. Francombe and John L. Vossen, Vol. 18 of Physics of Thin Film Series, Academic Press, 1994, 328 pages. Available for $95.00 from Academic Press (800/321-5068). ISBN 0-12-533018-9.

This book contains articles on "Design of High-Density Plasma Sources for Materials Processing," "Electron Cyclotron Resonance Plasma Sources and their use in Plasma-assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition of Thin Films," "Unbalanced Magnetron Sputtering," and "The Formation of Particles in Thin-Film Processing Plasmas." The design paper discussed several plasma sources such as the Helicon, ICP, and the helical resonator, which are receiving considerable attention because they are more amenable to scale-up than are the ECR sources.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)


Plasma Surface Modification of Polymers: Relevance to Adhesion, edited by M. Strobel, C.S. Lyons and K.L. Mittal, VSP Publishers, 1994, 290 pages. Available for $79.00 from Books International, P.O. Box 605, Herndon, VA 22070 (Fax 703/689-0660). ISBN 90-6764-164-2.

This book is a collection of papers previously published in the Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology. The papers cover the plasma treatment of a variety of polymers, including polypropylene, polyimides, polyethylene and polystyrene using Ar, N2, NO, NO2, NH3, O2, CO and CO2. Analysis was by adhesion testing, contact angle, XPS, SIMS, ISS, AFM and STM. Of particular interest was the excellent review article on plasma treatment of polymers.

(Review prepared by Donald M. Mattox, SVC Technical Director)





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