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Thin Film Deposition And Precious Metals

The term “Precious Metals” calls up some sort of response in almost every individual on the planet. Until recently, most people conjured up items associated with jewelry. Some perhaps think of decadent bathroom faucets and other luxurious items. Yet, this is not the only use for such metals. In today’s high tech market, industries are discovering increasingly more industrial applications for this rare and unique group.

Precious Metals: Elemental Members

The group of precious metals is not an extensive one. If it were, the label would seem inappropriate. To be a member of this group requires a lack of commonality. Instead, a precious metal is described and categorized as such, if it possesses the following characteristic: Rarity or Scarcity. Other qualifiers may be:

* Economic worth: Precious metals are generally perceived in the financial world as being worth more than most non-precious metals
* Reactivity: In chemical terms, this group is less reactive than many non-precious metals are
* Luster: Precious metals possess a high luster
* Melting Point: Most such metals exhibit a higher melting point than their non-precious melting point

Precious metals, as a group, contain several well-known members. They consist of but are not restricted to the following metals:

* Gold (Au)

* Silver (Ag)

* Iridium (Ir)

* Platinum (Pt)

* Palladium (Pd)

* Rhodium (Rh)

* Ruthenium (Ru)

* Titanium (Ti)

All such items are employed in diverse industrial fields in the process of thin film deposition.

Precious Metals and Thin Film Deposition

Film deposition is the process in which a miniscule or thin layer of materials is applied to a substrate to endow it with one or more specific qualities. One of the possible thin film coating is any of the precious metals group. The company, depending upon the material chosen, the characteristics of the substrate material and the desired result will employ any of the following major methods of thin layer deposition:

1. Physical vapor deposition (PVD): two basic types: evaporation and sputtering
2. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD): types include atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition (APCVD) and low-pressure CVD

Some companies not only specialize in the area of thin film deposition, they may also offer only one specific type of deposition to accomplish it.

Applications for Precious Metals from Thin Film Deposition

Various industrial field utilize precious metal thin film depositions. Among the many applications are in the telecommunications, optical glass, clean energy and electronic industries. They find employment in

* Memory storage
* Energy harvesting
* Energy storage e.g. thin-film solar cells
* Electrode films for touch panels
* Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
* LED electrodes
* Crystal oscillators

The thin film deposition of any precious metal requires the talents of an experienced staff that is capable of recognizing the unique characteristics of the overlay material as well as the demands of the substrate and the client. Working with precious metals is a specialized field requiring skill, a unique approach and specific equipment.

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