Project: In-line control system for production of Nanodesigned coatings and enhanced analysis of low Z-elements based on LIBS.

The project has four first-priority goals:_x000D_1) Develop Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) into a plug-and-play technique, and bring this to a commercial breakthrough._x000D_2) Implement LIBS in two coating platforms enabling unique feedback and in situ control and characterization of light element in the working plasma, creating the world’s best coating platform._x000D_3) Bringing LIBS spectroscopy into the market as a plug-and-play technology to develop new carbon-based coatings serving high-end applications._x000D_Traditional surface characterization is normally performed by reflective Raman, UVIS, IR, and NIR spectroscopies. Alternative techniques such as XPS/EDS, RBS, SIMS, GDOS can only be performed under vacuum, which makes it difficult to handle volatile molecules and biological samples which can only be analysed under cryogenic conditions. Furthermore, several of these techniques cannot be applied in situ during coating processes. _x000D_Thus, LIBS is extremely suitable to be intertwined with state-of-the-art coating development and production. Hereto come LIBS’ unique sensitivity to low-Z elements such as hydrogen, carbon and fluorine, which makes the technique especially suitable for the development of different Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC), Teflon-like coatings and Picodeon’s patented Nicanite (C3N4). Also in connection with biological samples, LIBS is unique due to the high sensitivity to light elements. _x000D_The proposed Nano-LIBS project will mature an alternative method for surface characterization which will be demonstrated on biological samples in connection with committed end-users in important industrial segments such as the health, security, drug industry, etc. based on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). _x000D_A major technological breakthrough is expected when combining LIBS with in situ characterization of light elements in a “working” coating plasma – both in magnetron sputtering and in laser ablation. The concentration and ionization degree of e.g. carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen will be used to optimize and control the coating process on “the fly”. This will be demonstrated in one of Picodeon’s patented processes and in Danish Technological Institute’s HiPIMS processes where the degree of metal ionization (charged over neutrals) is crucial. Online control of the composition of the working plasma is crucial for optimizing the composition/performance of the coating._x000D_Since the LIBS method is simple, rapid, and capable of providing ultra-high sensitivity and since it will not need UHV conditions, it is indeed the best method to use inside working plasmas. The principle of LIBS has been investigated for a wide range of materials and the interest for the application of LIBS has within recent years developed from a pure scientific R&D-level, approaching the very beginning where it can be implemented as a calibrated spectroscopic technique. Thus, the timing is unique to lift the LIBS technology out from R&D laboratories into plug-and-play instruments to be used in connection with surface characterization and interfaced with in situ coating development involving light elements. _x000D_The interest for LIBS has grown significantly within the last 3-5 years due to the obvious advantages such as minimal sample preparation, rapid analysis time, multi-elemental capability, integrated online and stand-alone systems, flexible atmospheres and pressure conditions, the possibility of using specially designed pump/probes scenarios, etc. Furthermore, light elements such as H, C, N and O [1] and even fingerprint fragments can be analysed using low energy LIBS. _x000D_Biomedical applications of LIBS for analysing teeth, nail, skin, bacteria, vira and even cancer therapy have been developed recently [2]. In connection with coating applications, LIBS has been used to characterize W-doped DLC coating [3]. _x000D_A cutting-edge stand-alone LIBS spectrometer will be developed with multiple pulses and suitable beam delays generating pulse-trains enabling highly sensitive pump/probe configuration. The advantage of such a system is that the first laser pulse will enable the creation of plasma, whereas subsequent pulses will cause signal enhancement through plasma densifications. For interfacing with coating units, it will be possible to analyse the working plasma both with and without applying pulses. It is foreseen that several process patents can be filed based on the combination of LIBS with coating processes. _x000D_There are some advantages in carrying out the measurements in low pressure or under vacuum condition such as inside coating units. The advantages are higher spectral resolution, better signal-to-noise ratio and increased spectral intensity. Special lasers will be developed by the laser company Ekspla. The LIBS spectrometer will be constructed by experts in Turkey (Beam ArGe and Kocaeli University) and the application in coatings will be demonstrated by Danish Technological Institute, Picodeon and Polyteknik. _x000D_References inreference.pdf

Acronym Nano-LIBS (Reference Number: 7704)
Duration 01/07/2013 - 01/06/2016
Project Topic Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy will be matured into a plug-and-play technique providing unique sensitivity to light Z-elements. The technique will be implemented in patented laser ablation and HiPIMS sputtering to control the plasma conditions enabling production of new C/F/H/N-based coatings.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 9

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
5 Polyteknik A/S Partner Denmark
5 Danish Technological Institute Partner Denmark
5 Picodeon LtD Oy Partner Finland
5 BEAM Ar-Ge Optic Laser and Spectroscopy Coordinator Turkey
5 Ekspla UAB Partner Lithuania