University of Salford Manchester

New surface coatings

Research in atmospheric pressure (thermal) chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) at the University of Salford:
  • Develops new concepts in the field of APCVD for application in the environmental, construction, healthcare and biotechnology sectors;
  • Commercialises the technology via CVD Technologies Ltd., offering an integrated, client-focused approach to exploiting the technology for its wide application;
  • Develops patents and developing strategic licensing agreements, allowing major international companies to use CVD Technologies Ltd. technology;
  • Generating economic and social benefits, internationally.

Professor David Sheel, Dr Heather Yates, and Dr John Hodgkinson (from 2007) of the School of Computing, Science and Engineering have advanced atmospheric pressure (thermal) chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) and developed its application in new product concepts.

New ways of coating surfaces 

In 2008 David and his colleagues reported, for the first time, the application of volume glow discharge atmospheric pressure (AP) plasmas to initiate CVD thin film growth of titania. By exploring the plasma conditions, the onset of crystalline film growth, critical for many titania properties (optical - for high refractive index and also for photocatalytic properties) was demonstrated. It was also demonstrated that the onset of crystallinity can be initiated around 300C (c.f. thermal typically 450C+) and that a volume plasma is viable (compared to more common “jet” designs), with volume capability compatible with scaling to larger areas, high growth rates and therefore, throughputs.   

A new approach to controlling surface nano- and microstructures in Transparent Conducting Oxides (TCOs) was based on the addition of organic additives during the growth process. A range of alcohols were screened and compared to show that surface morphology can be controlled and/or selected, significant in a number of application areas. In the Solar Cell area, a patent was filed (with an industrial collaborator) and the technology is being used by CVD Technologies Ltd.  

David and his colleagues developed the application and the interpretation of the structure and optical relationships in the design, building and application of a new and unique instrument developed by CVD Technologies Ltd., which offers the capability to analyse angular and spectral properties of critical Photovoltaic thin films, enabling understanding of the impact on the efficiency of measuring and interpreting light scattering from nano- and micro-textured surfaces, and specifically thin film transparent conducting oxides (TCOs).  

High bio-activity is a key property for infection control which must usually be combined with appropriate durability. The research reports on the combination, for the first time, of two CVD processes (flame assisted CVD and thermal CVD – both atmospheric pressure based) which allow the creation of film compositions and structures not previously possible with APCVD.  Additionally, the research observed both passive (dark) and active (photo-) biocidal properties, including visible wavelength light enhancement for the first time, with these systems. The research results from a collaborative project which was part of an International project Nano to Production (N2P) between the UK Health Protection Agency and the University of Salford, EU funded to 2012 involving a range of European industrial and academic partners

David and his colleagues have developed new concepts in the field of APCVD for application in the environmental, construction, healthcare and biotechnology sectors, including: 

  • Low E window coatings and Solar Control coatings for energy efficiency; 
  • “Self” Clean photo-catalytic coating; 
  • Anti-reflection coatings;
  • TCOs and Interface Layers for photovoltaic thin film cells; and,
  • Bacteriocidal coatings for infection transfer suppression.

CVD Technologies Ltd. was structured to offer full research and development and a complete vertically-integrated service, directly from theory through product and process feasibility, prototyping and design and commissioning of the full production process. Clients benefit from direct access to research in APCVD, meeting their requirements from concept to application. A portfolio of translational knowledge has been developed through close understanding of client needs and alignment of product development, which in turn, informs future research across many application areas. 

With a leading international reputation and the development of strategic industrial partnerships to promote APCVD in a range of markets, clients access bespoke technology solutions. CVD Technologies Ltd. has secured a share of number of major turnkey APCVD coating line orders in China to the value of over $10million.

Over 90% of contracts derive from outside the UK with the signing of several strategic licensing agreements allowing major international companies such as Stewart Engineering of USA, Akzo-Nobel, and Sisecam of Turkey to utilise tailored APCVD technology.

The team have submitted patents and developed strategic licensing agreements, allowing major international companies to use CVD Technologies Ltd. Technology, including:

  • EP1525336 A2 - Flame assisted CVD of metals (2005)
  • DE 102008 017 076  - TCOs for PV application (2008)
  • US 20110086235 - Process for achieving improved coatings in Float Bath environment (2011)
  • PCT/EP2011/061551- Biocidal coatings by flame and plasma coating CVD (2011)
  • UK Patent Application 1215996.8 – Fast pulses to volume glow discharge atmospheric pressure (AP) plasmas (2012)