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Camera lens - coating

Vacuum solutions for optical coatings

Improving the reflective behavior or transmission properties of optical systems

such as filters, lenses, spectacle lenses or mirrors.

Thin film coating with vacuum

Producing eyeglasses, mirrors and reflectors requires advanced technologies, including some that are made possible through vacuum. One of the processes in which vacuum plays an important role is the production of anti-reflective and scratch-resistant thin-film layers. Of course, you’re familiar with special optic, infrared and ultraviolet filters for eyeglasses, but optical coatings also have plenty of scientific applications. From microscopes to James Webb Telescope mirrors for space observation, special optical filter lenses are everywhere.

Optical Coating

Optical coatings with PVD

Optical coatings entail a combination of many thin layers to create various reflection characteristics or layers that improve light conductivity. These layers are usually applied in batch coating systems in a process called “physical vapor deposition” (PVD) or evaporation processes, all of which take place under vacuum conditions in pressure ranges of 10-2 to 10-3 mbar.

Optical coating applications require precision systems that can maintain desired vacuum levels at stable values inside the vacuum chamber. Leybold offers all vacuum products required for these systems, including:

In the first stage of the process, ambient gases and humidity must be removed from the vacuum chamber with “roughing” pumps that can evacuate the vacuum chamber very quickly. We have various product families, depending on the exact requirements of your processes, including DRYVAC, VARODRY, SCREWLINE, SOGEVAC, TRIVAC and RUVAC pumps. You can combine multiple systems in order to obtain the perfect pumping speeds and optimize your cost of ownership.

In the next step of the process, the process chamber is pumped down to a vacuum level of 5x10-6 mbar and lower, a level which needs to be maintained continuously with gas loads of argon, nitrogen and oxygen in operation pressure ranges. Some processes require an oil, dust and vibration-free process environment. In this case, we recommend TURBOVAC i, TURBOVAC MAG or COOLVAC pumps. For less demanding processes, diffusion pumps (DIJ and DIP) are more suitable.
High vacuum systems need the ability to operate continuously with high gas loads for long stretches of time.

Leybold pumps are designed for coating applications and have proven their value over many decades. Experience has also taught us that reliability and uptime are key. Therefore, we recommend regular maintenance plans and OEM spare parts. When you take proper care of your vacuum system, you also save on operational costs. Talk to your local Leybold representative to figure out the best solutions for keeping your production up and running at all times.

Make sure you can always accurately measure the vacuum conditions of your vacuum deposition processes. With our full range of vacuum gauges, you can be sure you always have the ability to monitor the best possible conditions for your processes. Your Leybold representative will be happy to advise you on the best process control solutions. Leak detection and RGA (Redusial Gas Analyzer) systems play an essential role in process repeatability and reliability.

Our pumps are designed to fit together perfectly, but sometimes your process requires more control and monitoring solutions. In this case, we install PLCs or controllers that support your production processes.

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