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The deposition of thin film is used to give a bulk material particular surface properties by the deposition of a thin layer of source material upon it. Thin films can be deposited by several techniques: one of the most common is Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD).
PVD has an efficiency of 10-20% thus a high percentage of source material is deposited on the chamber walls of the deposition facilities, forming production waste. This material is often a precious metal like gold, platinum, silver or palladium; therefore the wastes have a high-value. The recovery processes of this waste are very expensive or require big quantities of materials (i.e. kg or tons) to be feasible and profitable; therefore, often these materials are lost.
Besides, the facility’s maintenance involves long downtime and dangerous activities for the personnel.

the solution

MRS has developed an electro-mechanical system (product), able to select and recover high percentages of wasted materials from the vacuum chamber of deposition facilities, allowing a faster periodic maintenance. Moreover, MRS system helps to lengthen the life-cycle of the facility and it reduces downtime.
Img1This system is designed to be installed inside the vacuum chamber of the deposition facility: given its core- modularity, it is adaptable to different kinds of vacuum chambers.
The core component of the system are removable blades, made of a metallic plate (e.g. stainless steel), covered on both sides with polymeric materials suitable for high vacuum applications. The evaporated metals are recovered by the blades, instead of depositing on the internal surface of the vacuum chamber, where they are normally wasted.
The system is placed between the melting pot and the walls of the chamber: the two-stages rotation of the blades (performed through an electromotive automated system) permits the selection among materials already during the production process.
The system is able to collect a uniform layer of the target material deposited on one side of the blades. Because of this particular characteristic of the system, at the end of their lifetime, the blades are replaced and the target material is immediately recovered through a simple etching process, which dissolves the sacrificial polymeric layer.