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  • UNIVEX’s role in coating, fingerprint detection and space applications

UNIVEX role in coating fingerprint detection and space applications

June 14th 2021


The UNIVEX multi-purpose experimentation systems were developed by Leybold for applications in research and development, as well as for setting up pilot production systems. Let's take a detailed look at some of these applications. 

Production coating

Cluster coating systems aimed at production applications and offering high quality, coherent and very uniform films. Applications include solar panels, glass coating, superconductors, optoelectronics, and OLED display.

The concept is to offer bespoke tools based on a cluster principal, with coating chambers accessed via a loadlock and with the ability to transport substrates between the dedicated chambers. The components are placed at atmospheric pressure into a loadlock, which is then pumped down, allowing the material to be transferred into a process chamber without the need to evacuate the chamber. This means faster process times whilst maintaining the integrity of the film. Moreover, for sequential film deposition steps, the substrate is moved from chamber to chamber under vacuum, again reducing process times and avoiding possible film degradation.


Each chamber, both the loadlock and the transfer module, have dedicated pumping systems specifically configured to meet the customer’s requirements. Both dry and wet forevacuum pumps are available, whilst Leybold can offer both turbomolecular and cryo pumps for the high vacuum component.

Leybold offer the following deposition techniques:

  • Thermal evaporation

  • Sputtering 

  • E-beam deposition

Dactyloscopy systems for fingerprint detection

Despite the increased use of DNA analysis to identify possible suspects in a crime scene, fingerprint detection continues to be a cost effective and quick method. There are three types of fingerprints that can be analyzed. Patent fingerprints can be simply stored for comparison using photography. Similarly, plastic prints are quickly detected in soft materials. Latent prints are deposited by the sweat and oil on the skin’s surface and these are the most difficult to detect.

Vacuum metal deposition (VMD) is an established technique for the development of latent fingerprints on non-porous surfaces. This technique is especially useful where prints are old, have been exposed to adverse environmental conditions, or are present on semi-porous surfaces.

The Leybold UNIVEX D has been developed specifically for this application. The system offers:

  • Easily controllable thermal coating process 

  • Coating of large areas, up to 800 x 400 mm

  • Short cycle times (depending on the material with the fingerprint evidence)

  • Good contrast on multi-coloured surfaces


Space simulation

Space missions, scientific or commercial satellites, space research projects such as the ESA Rosetta Mission or the NASA Rover expedition to Mars all have one thing in common – they can only succeed if all the materials, components, and assemblies to be used have been successfully tested in high vacuum and ultra-high vacuum conditions. One example is the simulation and testing of engines.

The size of the experimental chamber required to simulate space conditions in a vacuum varies from a few liters for testing small objects such as printed circuit boards, to several thousand cubic meters for the verification of major components within the spaceship or satellite. Leybold can supply turnkey system solutions with integrated fore vacuum and high vacuum pumps for this purpose, tailored to meet specific individual needs.

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