Functional materials are used very often as a thin layer, in the range of nanometers up to single micrometers. Typical applications are gas sensitive layers, electrode materials for batteries and SOFC, catalytic converter with enhanced surface area or planar thermoelectric generators.
Therefore, film technologies and theirs preparation for achieving desired physical or chemical properties on a specific substrate is an important topic for us. For characterization of such layers, planar electrical contact pads are often necessary as well.
The preparation of different structures (for instance a gas sensor with or without integrated heater and electrical contact pads) is carried out using, in most cases, thick-film technology. We are equipped with different screen-printers (Ami 485 – semi-automatic screen-printer with optical alignment system, Simatec Sim 20 – manual laboratory equipment for single structures, Ami 885 – semi-automatic screen-printer for student teaching).
High degree of flexibility by layer patterning is achieved using frequency-tripled Nd:YAG laser (LPKF Microline 350) with focal diameter <20 µm.
For preparation of thin-film layers a mask aligner (Suess) and an apparatus for vapor deposition are available. Aerosol Deposition is an entirely new method of layer fabrication. In this technique, a ceramic powder is accelerated through a jet nozzle in vacuum atmosphere. On the substrate a dense and adherent layer will be form directly from the powder. Thus, different materials can be deposited on different substrates without additional high-temperature processes.