Processing Parameters

Besides the typical processing variables that characterize other vacuum deposition processes, vacuum arc deposition offers additional control of the arrival energy of coating ions. In the case of conductive or semiconductive coatings, this bias can be controlled using a direct-current power supply. The level of bias is limited at the upper end by thermal considerations, because the part being coated is heated by condensing ions. Many of the trends that exist for other ion plating processes also apply to vacuum arc deposition. The main difference is ion composition. In the case of vacuum arc deposition, the ions are the particles that form the coating. With most other ion plating processes, the majority of ions involved are ionized gas molecules. This distinction can become important when coating parts that have complex shapes during a reactive process.

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