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Development of a new coating technology

IonBond AG, a coating technologies firm based in Switzerland worked with our Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI), to offer a new generation of coating systems.

Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) is a coating technology used to lay down high quality coatings. Its use is wider than most people realise - on car engines, double glazed units, bath taps, drill bits, mobile phones, spectacles the list is endless.

The latest generation in PVD coating is a new method called High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS), which involves the use of pulses of high power electricity in the deposition chamber of up to eight mega watt. IonBond wanted to adopt a HIPIMS process to facilitate new coatings for their client base.

What we did

IonBond approached our Nanotechnology Centre for PVD Research, based within the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI), which have been carrying out pioneering research in this area. Dr Arutiun Ehiasarian and Professor Papken Hovsepian and their team have created one of the worlds leading centres of expertise in HIPIMS.

The new coating method creates very high plasma densities, which lead to coatings with high density that are almost defect-free.

The result

The applications for this new technology are widespread, from the protection of mobile phones from general wear and tear, to the coating of artificial hip and knee joints in biomedicine, decreasing the chances of implants being rejected by the body.

As a result of our research, and under licence, IonBond will be offering a new generation of HIPIMS coating systems. It is expected to create its own market worth several million pounds.

They say

We actively sought the co-operation of MERI as it focused not only on academic research but has also accomplished substantial industrial research.

Their in-depth knowledge plus their good, unacademic responsiveness have made them a valuable partner for us.

Dr Gerry Van Der Kolk, director of IonBond Services Europe, IonBond AG

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