Black Gold Maximizes the Light Absorption of Nanomaterials


March 2017 Newsletter

Nanowerk Spotlight

Black Gold Maximizes the Light Absorption of Nanomaterials


From Nanowerk Spotlight, December 21, 2016, by Michael Berger: "Maximizing light absorption of nanomaterials has been an emerging research field in the recent years due to its attractiveness in a wide range of applications that involves conversion or utilization of solar energy. However, most of the concepts reported are based on multi-layered structures. A group of researchers from RMIT University, Australia is now one of the first to report such a material—a nanolayer of black gold. The Australian team showed a black gold film of 400 nm in thickness exhibited a broadband super absorber that is capable of absorbing >92% of the incident solar energy up to 600 nm. The intriguing light absorption capability is related to its tapered wall structure and gap plasmon modes between the tubes. The black gold film is fabricated by a simple, inexpensive and scalable template-assisted physical vapor technique, which makes it highly attractive and versatile."


Source:
Nanowerk Spotlight 
Image: Reprinted with permission by Wiley-VCH Verlag


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SEMI

62 New Facilities Start Operation 2017 and Beyond


From SEMI, December 12, 2016, by Christian G. Dieseldorff: “Data from SEMI’s recently updated World Fab Forecast report reveal that 62 new front end facilities will begin operation between 2017 and 2020. This includes facilities and lines ranging from R&D to high volume fabs, which begin operation before high volume ramp commences. Most of these newly operating facilities will be volume fabs; only 7 are R&Ds or pilot facilities.


Between 2017 and 2020, China will see 26 facilities and lines beginning operation, about 42 percent of the worldwide total currently tracked by SEMI. The majority of the facilities starting operation in 2018 are Chinese-owned companies. The peak for China in 2018 comes mainly from foundry facilities (54 percent). The Americas region follows with 10 facilities and Taiwan with 9 facilities.”


Source: SEMI
Image: SEMI


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Photonics Spectra

No One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Selecting Optical Coatings


From Photonics Spectra, December 2016, by Stephaan Vandendriessche, Edmund Optics Inc.: “Optical coating design and performance are critical for a growing number of applications in fields as diverse as biomedicine and astronomy. As laser usage continues to increase globally, the use of laser-specific optical coatings increases in tandem. There are many methods for manufacturing optical coatings; therefore, a solid understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of each technique, along with the interplay of the laser with the design of the coating and the uncoated substrate, helps in the selection of the proper substrate, coating technology and requirements for the given application. Achieving the required performance without over-specifying the optic or choosing an unnecessarily expensive substrate or coating technique can save on cost and provide engineering benefits that directly impact the bottom line.” This article includes an optical coating selection guide.


Source: Photonics Spectra 
Image: Photonics Spectra


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NASA Tech Briefs

Advanced Multilayer Environmental Barrier Coatings


From NASA Tech Briefs, December 1, 2016: “NASA’s Glenn Research Center scientists have developed a revolutionary bond coat system that improves the performance of silicon-carbide/silicon- carbide ceramic matrix composites (SiC/SiC CMCs). This groundbreaking system enables higher-temperature operating conditions, protects against erosion and corrosion, and reduces mechanical loading. They have also designed a means of creating multilayer thermal and environmental barriers with a remarkable new deposition technique to improve the coverage and quality of the coatings. The newly patented technology combines plasma spray and physical vapor deposition, so that layers may be deposited from a liquid phase, a vapor phase, or both phases simultaneously. This technology allows layers to be generated with a multi-system architecture, forming both planar and columnar structures in a faster, one-step coating process.”


Source: NASA Tech Briefs
Image: John H. Glenn Research Center


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Chemical and Engineering News

Specialized Coatings Help Detect Gravitational Waves


From Chemical and Engineering News, January 18, 2017 by Mitch Jacoby: “Gravitational waves are curious entities described as “ripples in spacetime” that radiate for billions of light-years as they traverse the universe. Albert Einstein predicted their existence in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. But it took a century until scientists were able to confirm that prediction experimentally. Last year, researchers reported that the ultrasensitive Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors finally detected these elusive waves. Working with LMA, a specialty coatings research center based at Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, in France, the team applied a total of 30 alternating layers of SiO2 and TiO2 -doped Ta2O5. Those two materials pair well for this application because in addition to their low absorption, they exhibit a large difference in index of refraction, which enhances the coating’s reflectivity. Doping with TiO2 further boosts the difference in index of refraction. LMA deposited the films via ion-beam sputtering, which produced ultra-smooth coatings on the mirror surfaces.”


Source: Chemical and Engineering News
Image: LIGO


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Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

PPPL Scientist Uncovers Physics Behind Plasma-Etching Process


From Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, January 27, 2017, by Raphael Rosen: “Physicist Igor Kaganovich at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and collaborators have uncovered some of the physics that make possible the etching of silicon computer chips, which power cell phones, computers, and a huge range of electronic devices. During the etching process, a piece of silicon is placed in a chamber and immersed within a thin layer of plasma, about two centimeters wide. Also within the plasma are two electrodes spaced a couple of centimeters apart that produce a beam of electrons. As the electrons flow through the plasma, they start a process known as a two-stream instability, which excites plasma waves that enable the plasma to etch the silicon more efficiently. Researchers modeled this process. The simulations indicate that the placing of plasma within a pair of electrodes supports the excitation of large plasma waves, which then lead to the acceleration of plasma electrons that can aid etching.”


Source: PPPL
Image: PPPL


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Product Design and Development

Medical 3D Printing: The Current State of Viable Materials


From Product Design and Development, January/February 2017 by Cullen Hilkene, 3Diligent Corp.: “From the vantage point of 3Diligent, a rapid manufacturing service provider that helps companies with their 3D printing projects, one industry in which additive manufacturing applications are especially prevalent and gaining acceptance in the medical field. Since 3D printing builds objects one voxel (3D pixel) at a time, it is uniquely suited to construct complex organic shapes that are implausible or impossible with traditional manufacturing techniques. These shapes can, for instance, contain intricate internal geometries and custom-tailored porosity to mimic different bone densities. This update on the state of 3D printing materials market will show that there are more available now than is generally perceived, and more are rapidly on the way.” This review includes aqueous solution/bio inks, polymers (low-temperature, high temperature, and thermoset), and metals.


Source: Product Design and Development
Image: CSIRO


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Kyushu University

Miniscule Amounts of Impurities in Vacuum Greatly Affect OLED Lifetime


From Kyushu University, December 14, 2016: “Reproducibility is a necessity for science and manufacturing but has long eluded researchers studying the lifetime of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). New research sheds light on the cause: impurities present in the vacuum chamber during the fabrication of OLEDs but in amounts so small that they are easily overlooked. Because of this, researchers found that the time until an OLED under operation dims by a given amount because of degradation, known as the lifetime, sharply increases when the time an OLED spends in the vacuum chamber during fabrication is reduced. Although vacuums are often idealized as being clean environments, unwanted impurities in the vacuum system contaminate the OLED materials being thermally evaporated to make the active layers of the device and become an important factor affecting device degradation. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify the impurities, the researchers found that many could be traced to previously deposited materials and plasticizers from the vacuum chamber components. While control of water content has been known to be important for improving lifetime, these new results show that impurities amounting to less than even a single molecular layer from sources such as the fabrication chamber itself must be closely managed to reproducibly achieve highly stable and reliable devices.”


Source: Kyushu University
Image: Kyushu University


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SPIE Newsroom

Improving the Performance of ZnO-Based Perovskite Solar Cells


From SPIE Newsroom, January 24, 2017, by Aleksandra Djurišić, et al.: “The efficiency of Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) is comparable with and in some cases even exceeds that of more mature solar cell technologies. Nevertheless, several challenges need to be addressed, with long-term stability under realistic operating conditions currently the greatest challenge. Researchers at University of Hong Kong investigated improving the stability and efficiency of compact film zinc oxide (ZnO) electron transport layers (ETLs) in PSCs. They observed significant differences in performance between ZnO ETLs deposited by vapor deposition (i.e., e-beam evaporation) and solution processing. This disparity is a result of the presence of functional groups from ZnO precursors and abundant hydroxyl groups on the surface of the solution-prepared films. Results show that the ZnO deposition method and any post-deposition treatment significantly affects the ZnO surface properties, ZnO/perovskite interface, perovskite film quality, and—consequently—the performance of these PSCs.”


Source: SPIE Newsroom
Image: SPIE Newsroom


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Solar Industry Magazine

Solar Outlook 2017: The Global Market Marches On


From Renewable Energy World, January/February 2017 by Jennifer Runyon: “According to most analysts 2017 will shake out to be a very good year for solar in terms of deployment and expansion. Installed capacity worldwide will most likely top 70 GW. Analysts have reported modules quotes between $0.40 and $0.50 per watt and some in the industry have seen quotes below $0.40 for 2017 delivery. 2017 also saw record low tenders for projects in India, Dubai, and Chile. Module makers are upping their timelines for improved module efficiency to offer advanced technology that can deliver in this low pricing environment. The study also covers wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, energy storage, and finance outlooks.”


Source: Renewable Energy World
Image: SPV Market Research


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Penn News

Researchers Are Among the First to Grow Versatile Two-Dimensional Material


From Penn News, February 7, 2017 by Ali Sundermier: “University of Pennsylvania researchers are now among the first to produce a single, three-atom-thick layer of a unique two-dimensional material called tungsten ditelluride. Unlike other two-dimensional materials, scientists believe tungsten ditelluride has what are called topological electronic states. This means that it can have many different properties not just one. The researchers were able to grow this material by chemical vapor deposition. Using a hot-tube furnace, they heated a chip containing tungsten to the right temperature and then introduced a vapor containing tellurium. Under the right conditions, these elements will chemically react and combine to form a monolayer, or three-atom-thick regions of this material. The researchers found that the material grows in little rectangular crystallites, rather than the triangles that other materials grow in. One property of these topological systems is that any current traveling through the material would only be carried on the edges, and no current would travel through the center of the material. If researchers were able to produce single-layer-thick materials with this property, they may be able to route an electrical signal to go off into different locations.”


Source: Penn News
Image: University of Pennsylvania


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Harvard University

Flat Lens Opens a Broad World of Color


From Harvard University, February 7, 2017, by Leah Burrows: “Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed the first metalens to work across a continuous bandwidth allowing new control of light. Last summer, these researchers announced a new, flat lens that could focus light with high efficiency within the visible spectrum. The lens used an ultrathin array of nanopillars to bend and focus light as it passed. One of the major challenges in developing a flat, broadband lens has been correcting for chromatic dispersion. Now, the same team has demonstrated achromatic flat lenses and also invented a new type of flat lens with reverse chromatic dispersion. To design an achromatic lens—a lens without chromatic dispersion—the team optimized the shape, width, distance, and height of the nanopillars that make up the heart of the metalens. This is the first flat lens that works within a continual bandwidth of colors, from blue to green. This bandwidth, close to that of an LED, paves the way for new applications in imaging, spectroscopy and sensing.”


Source: Harvard University
Image: Harvard SEAS/Capasso Lab


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SVC Membership

SVC Membership Offers Many Benefits


Join or renew your membership for 2017 now and enjoy the benefits of membership for the entire calendar year. Members enjoy free access to the SVC Digital Library and special discounts for many SVC products and services.


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TechCon Tutorial Course Offerings

Choose from TechCon Tutorial Course Offerings for Every Skill Level


The TechCon Tutorial Program increases attendees’ practical knowledge of vacuum coatings and processes. Return to work with solutions to everyday vacuum coating troubles and breathe new life into your technical career.


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SVConnections Contributing Editors:
Carl M. Lampert, SVC Technical Director
Joyce Lampert


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