Archives for May 2014

How Vacuum Metallization Works

Ion beam assisted deposition is an important manufacturing process used in many household goods.

Written by: Denton Vacuum, LLC

There are two major components that are important to ion beam assisted deposition: you need a substrate that you can apply a coating to. This could be the lens of a pair of eye glasses, the cell from a solar panel, parts for a car, or medical tubing. The coating material is also required. It can be a special chemical to erase glare in lenses, or it can be aluminum to be applied to plastic sheets.

Process Explained

Once you have both the substrate and coating, both objects are placed into a vacuum sealed chamber. Then the coating can begin.

Optical coating systems start by heating the coating substance and melting it down. This breaks the coating down into particulate matter, which then bounces off the walls of the chamber before settling onto the substrate. While this is happening, the chamber is being cooled. The combination of the hot and cold causes the particles to settle and solidify on the substrate.


Ebeam technology is used to manufacture the solar absorbent coating on a solar cell. It also adds durability to common parts used in manufacturing and automobiles through metallization, or the application of a thin metallic coating. You can find evidence of deposition on eye glasses as well.

Final Thoughts

Much of the technology that uses sputtering was once out of reach of consumers. Solar panels are still the exception, being too expensive for everyone to afford at the moment, but we are fast approaching a time where technology makes it easy for us to mass produce amazing items.