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SVC TechCon 2019: Trends and Takeaways

A gloved hand holding a flexible printed electric circuit

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Last month, the Society of Vacuum Coaters held its annual TechCon in California. We learned about new developments in thin film deposition and the trends that are driving the industry. Our team also had the opportunity to present some research and unveil a new product.

Denton Vacuum at SVC TechCon

Our own Craig Outten, Senior Research Scientist, co-chaired the Plasma Processing session and presented a paper, “The Development of Scratch Resistant Diamond-like Nanocomposite Based Coatings for Mobile Displays”, which covered our linear plasma ion source work for displays. The paper presented the latest data on hardness and water contact angles on polycarbonate and PMMA substrates. Hydrophobic, scratch-resistant and anti-fingerprint properties are highly desirable in displays for touchscreens and mobile devices, so this type of research will help further the development of those applications.

Andrew Klumph, one of our Development Engineers, also presented our new Versa cluster tool during the event’s Innovator Showcase. As emerging applications begin to mature, and eventually become market drivers, production volume inherently needs to increase. A cluster platform like the Versa enables high-volume manufacturing and efficiency even for complex processes. The Versa platform also features ProcessPro™ HV software to enhance the automation and efficiency that the system delivers, with customizable charting capability and a clean user interface.

Trends and Emerging Technologies in Thin Film

At SVC TechCon 2019, there was plenty of talk about next-generation technologies driving the future of thin film. Sustainability was a big theme at the show, specifically developing energy sources and energy efficient infrastructure. This is not a new trend, but innovation in this area continues to be a focus throughout the industry.

Some other next-gen tech trends we heard about at the show:

  • Flexible electronics and roll-to-roll processing: With Samsung needing to delay the launch of its Galaxy Fold phone due to display malfunctions, it’s clear that flexible electronics are still very much an emerging technology. Still, it has the potential to drive demand in the market over the next several years.
  • Datacom: Data sharing, cloud storage and information processing are all big players in the opto-electronics and semiconductor industries. This is driving demand in the laser and semiconductor markets, as these technologies continue to consume large volumes of optical amplifiers and switches.
  • Sensors and wearable devices: Wearable devices are becoming more and more intricate (and smaller!), with consumers demanding newer and better features. There’s also a strong need for more accurate sensors that can be better integrated with other source data within a device.
  • IoT, AI and autonomous vehicles: End-use devices in these specific applications continue to become more robust, and they’re creating even more demand in the semiconductor and display industries. An extraordinarily large number of devices and applications need to be developed for all these technologies, and it’s an exciting area of research and development that we will continue to watch over the coming years/decades.