Nanotechnology Centre for Physical Vapour Deposition Research (NCPVD)

The Nanotechnology Centre for Physical Vapour Deposition Research (NCPVD) is part of the Materials and Engineering Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University. The Centre has a very successful history in the research and development of high performance functional coatings for applications in extreme environments, and of coatings for decorative applications.

The Centre has pioneered the deposition of application tailored nanoscale multilayer (superlattice) coatings for industry, environments and is world-leading in this field. Coating families developed include TiAlYCrN, CrAlYN/CrN, CrN/NbN, TiAlN/VN, TiAlCN/VCN and Me/C. Most of these have been successfully transferred to industrial coating companies.

These advanced coatings offer greatly reduced friction, increased wear and corrosion resistance, protection against high temperature oxidation and add aesthetic value to products. They have applications in several industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, food processing, petrochemical, textile and others. You can download more information on innovative coatings for aerospace, energy and automative industry (see downloads).

A strategic direction of the research is development of advanced PVD technologies such as magnetron sputtering, cathodic arc evaporation, and hybrid technologies such as low pressure plasma nitriding combined with PVD. The group has taken the lead in ground breaking High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS) (see downloads) PVD technology for adhesion-enhancing substrate pre-treatment, which is considered as the main technical breakthrough in PVD in the last thirty years. The HIPIMS technology developed at Sheffield Hallam University is the subject of granted patents in Europe and the USA. The technology was first time up-scaled at NCPVD using jointly developed with Hüttinger Electronic power supplies. Commercial licenses for the HIPIMS pre-treatment technology have been granted so far to Hauzer, IonBond, CemeCon and SVS, Germany, representing a substantial presence in the PVD market, in both machine building and coating.

The NCPVD is equipped with unique world class industrial and laboratory scale PVD systems and a large variety of advanced systems for plasma diagnostics which allows both fundamental and applied research to be carried out. The Centre has stable well balanced and diverse income stream from national, European and industrial research programs.

The NCPVD collaborates with large number of European, USA and far eastern companies as well as leading research organisations such as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Centre for Microanalysis of Materials, University of Illinois and more recently with Fiat Research Centre, Fraunhofer Institute, and many others which contributes to the high standard and the success of the research carried out. The scientific results achieved at the Centre and within the international collaborations have been widely disseminated. More than 100 peer-reviewed papers were published between 2001 and 2008.

The annual International Conference on High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS), jointly organised with Fraunhofer Institute (IST Braunschweig, INPLAS) Germany is another powerful vehicle to maintain he contacts both with industry and academia.