Project: Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) for vacuum and space applications

This present project, entitled “DLC for vacuum and space applications” - in short vacuum-DLC - is focused on developing and implementing a new type of Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) dedicated to vacuum and space applications with and without the application of novel lubricants. _x000D_ The CO issue is to develop a technology platform capable of depositing wear-resistant DLC, which reveals consistently wear-resistant ultra low friction under vacuum conditions and an acceptable low friction under ambient environment. The reason for developing a wear-resistant DLC-coating that can function under ambient as well as under vacuum conditions is that critical vacuum components and space devices are always assembled and tested under ambient conditions prior to evaluating their vacuum performance. Thus, dual vacuum/ambient DLCs are needed, although optimal performance is to be found under vacuum conditions. _x000D_ _x000D_ The project is integrated along the entire value chain, spanning from building the DLC deposition equipment (Polyteknik in Denmark), developing the DLC coating (Danish Technological Institute) with and without the application of lubricants (BRUGAROLAS, S.A.) testing and verification of its superior performance (sub-contracting to Tekniker and Falex Tribology NV) and subsequently implemented into dedicated high-tech vacuum components (TETRA). _x000D_ _x000D_ The coating synthesis will be based on an industrial-scale ion implanter combined with co-evaporation from an e-beamer ensuring, the production of nearly atomically flat coatings enabling lower friction. _x000D_ _x000D_ The project is going to be incorporated in the EUREKA umbrella ENIWEP (European Network for Wear Prevention), where the ultimate goal is to ensure efficient transfer of tribology-related results and exploration hereof to SMEs through generation of EUREKA projects, supporting further environmentally responsible growth in Europe. Hence, the project is directly linked with the core concept of ENIWEP and the outcome is expected to revolutionize multiple components, machine parts and devices and several spin-out possibilities are foreseen within the vacuum, space and aeronautic segment. Associated and secondary SMEs will be affiliated to the project through the ENIWEP network ensuring market penetration into additional areas._x000D_ _x000D_ A potential huge business opportunity has been identified by TETRA since many users want to apply high precision two-dimensional drivers and stages under vacuum conditions. This is especially the case in manufacturing environments associated with electronics and micro systems, vacuum pumps and components. The CO issue will be to incorporate DLC on sliding surfaces and thereby avoiding stick and slip effects since it is not possible to apply conventional techniques such as air bearings or lubricants in low pressure environments and in areas where extremely low density of dust particles is mandatory (e.g. wafer processing)._x000D_ _x000D_ A similar potential will be present for the equipment vendor, Polyteknik, since they will be involved in fabrication and further automization of the equipment needed to build coating units, when the developed DLC platform moves from medium-scale production to large-scale mass production. Furthermore, Polyteknik expects to be more known as an experienced equipment re-builder throughout Europe using this project as an additional reference. _x000D_ _x000D_ The gap between equipment development and final coated vacuum components will be bridged by the Tribology Centre, Danish Technological Institute which has more than 20 years experience in the development and production of nano-designed functionally coatings dedicated to specific industrial applications. Finally new applications of lubricants will be elucidated by BRUGAROLAS, S.A._x000D_ _x000D_ The development of the coatings and lubricants will be iteratively coupled with accelerated laboratory tests performed at Tekniker in Spain quantifying the overall performance of the coatings under both ambient conditions and under vacuum by a modified pin-on-disk setup measuring under ultra high vacuum (UHV) conditions._x000D_

Acronym Vacuum-DLC (Reference Number: 4653)
Duration 01/08/2009 - 31/12/2012
Project Topic The project develops a new coating platform, a DLC coating dedicated to vacuum applications, new test methods and new products for high-end vacuum compatible equipment. The project integrates the entire valuechain and large secondary market segments are foreseen in e.g. aeronautic, microtechnology.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO outcome of the project is the build-up of a new coating platform combining an e-beamer and an industrial scale Danfysik ion implanter and an oil evaporator. The combination of these coating synthesis techniques has been used to synthesise new and novel low friction coatings. _x000D__x000D_Two new coating testing platforms have been developed at the Ps (Tetra and Brugalolas); a 50 station pin-on-disk unit and a vacuum tribometer. Both novel characterization tools._x000D_New coatings are available based on the project and the achieved knowledge has been used to synthesise both PVD and ion beam assisted Diamond Like Coatings.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 2

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
5 Polyteknik A/S - house of coating technology Coordinator Denmark
5 Danish Technological Institute, Tribology Centre Partner Denmark
5 BRUGAROLAS, S.A. Partner Spain
5 TETRA - Gesellschaft für Sensorik, Robotik und Automation mbH Partner Germany
5 Fundación Tekniker Observer Spain