M. Jupé
H. Badorreck
D. Ristau

Material analysis by virtual coating materials

Magnetron Ion Processing & Arc Technologies European Conference (MIATEC)
26.-30. Juni
Type: Konferenzbeitrag
In recent years, virtual materials have been evolved to an effective tool analyzing complex processes of layer growth at a theoretical level. Basically all important physical and optical properties can be extracted from virtual materials. In the present contribution, the focus will be on the analysis of structural properties of both, ion-assisted coatings as well as magnetron sputtering. In particular, the influence of ion assistance and kinetic energy of the coating particles is investigated and correlated with experimental values. Optical coatings with inadequately balanced optical performances are inconceivable for applications in state of the art photonics. Furthermore, the quality of the employed optical coating is often the limiting factor for the functionality of many modern photonic systems. For this reason, a variety of coating processes have been developed during the last century and adapted to many different applications spanning an extremely wide range from low cost consumer optics, architectural glass to high end optics for high power laser systems. For example, various optimized sputtering processes are employed for the production of architectural glass, thermal processes have been established partly with plasma or ion assistance for coating of different consumer optics in mass production, and ion beam sputtering dominates the field of high precision low loss optics. In general, these processes have been optimized over many years and often, further empirical attempts to improve the coating quality for a certain application result in only minor progress. A significant step in this development seems to be possible only on the basis of a better fundamental understanding of material and physical properties. The concept of the "Virtual Coaters" and the "virtual materials" can be used to gain a deep insight into correlations of process parameters and structural as well as optical and electronic properties. The "virtual material" is a novel concept that summarizes manufacturing processes and material analysis in a computer-based multiscale model. Different simulation techniques are combined in such a way that a practically equivalent coating simulation is combined with an atomistic growth simulation and a quantum mechanical calculation of the optical and electronic properties. This modeling allows a theoretical description of the coating materials in a process-based manner. The individual simulation steps are linked via corresponding software interfaces, so that the simulation techniques can be individually adapted to the requirements of the respective objectives.