Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Pulsed Laser Deposition Technology
With its laser expertise and equipment, Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology (ORCMT) began using pulsed laser deposition (PLD) to develop new thin film materials and associated advanced manufacturing technologies. PLD uses focused high-energy laser beams, pulsed for nanoseconds, to concentrate a tremendous amount of energy on target surfaces. This process ablates the target materials and produces a directed plume of vapor for depositing on substrates. PLD can form thin films of crystalline and amorphous materials at thicknesses up to several microns.
Because of its simplicity, PLD possibly provides one of the least expensive and more efficient methods for growing thin films. In addition, PLD does not require excessively high vacuums like other standard methods and is amenable to standardized formation recipes for many similar materials. ORCMT’s current PLD capabilities include the fabrication of high-temperature superconductors, optical switches, thermographic phosphor layers, and enriched boron layers for neutron detectors.
ORCMT has also developed patented techniques for improving the basic PLD system design and performance. These techniques relate to fast switching of laser targets, split beam laser ablation (i.e., Laser Ablation from Rapidly Exchanged Sources [LARES]), and specialized film growth chambers (i.e., Individual Controlled Environment for Pulsed Addition and Crystallization[ICEPAC]) for volatile element condensation and film ordering. In addition, the techniques will be applied to the development and manufacture of new high-quality materials, compounds and components. ORCMT’s unique expertise in PLD technology will enable the facility to generate materials which cannot be produced through any other method.
PLD technology has many applications within the defense community. PLD can form high-quality crystalline sensors for guidance systems, layered coatings for flat panel displays, complex optical components for ultra high- speed hybrid networks, and numerous other specialized applications. PLD has been used in the development of thin film electroluminescent materials for flat panel displays.
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