Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (APCVD)
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Salford
Unit of AssessmentElectrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials
Summary Impact TypeTechnological
Research Subject Area(s)
Physical Sciences: Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics
Chemical Sciences: Analytical Chemistry
Engineering: Materials Engineering
Summary of the impact
Research in atmospheric pressure (thermal) chemical vapour deposition
(APCVD) at the University of Salford demonstrates the following impact:
- Developing new concepts in the field of APCVD for application in the
environmental, construction, healthcare and biotechnology sectors,
resulting in commercially viable processes and products;
- Commercialising the technology via a spin out company; CVD
Technologies Ltd., offering an innovative, integrated and client focused
approach to exploiting the technology for its wide application;
- Achieving related patents and developing strategic licensing
agreements, allowing major international companies to use CVD
Technologies Ltd. technology;
- Generating economic and related social benefits, internationally.
The key researchers and positions held at the institution at the time
of the research are as follows: Professor David Sheel (from 2000),
Dr Heather Yates, (from 1995) and Dr John Hodgkinson (from 2007), School
of Computing, Science and Engineering. This case study focuses on research
projects relating to atmospheric pressure (thermal) chemical vapour
deposition (APCVD) conducted at the University of Salford since 2000, and
their advancement and application in new product concepts, the following
examples of which underpin the impact described:
2008: University of Salford researchers in the Materials and
Physics Research Centre 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.
2008/2009: 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 to a significant extent. This is
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.
2010/2011: University of Salford researchers 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).
2010/2012: 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 has 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 from May 2008 to Nov 2012 involving a range of
European industrial and academic partners.
References to the research
1. J.L. Hodgkinson, H.M.Yates, D.W. Sheel, Low temperature growth of
photoactive titania by GD plasma', Plasma processes and polymers,
6, 575-582, (2009) DOI
2. D.W. Sheel , H.M. Yates , P. Evans , U. Dagkaldiran , A. Gordijn , F.
Finger , Z. Remes , M. Vanecek Atmospheric pressure chemical vapour
deposition of F doped SnO2 for optimum performance solar cells, Thin
Solid Films 517 3061-3065 (2009) DOI
3. H A. Foster, D W. Sheel , P Evans , P Sheel, S Varghese, S O.
Elfakhri, J L.Hodgkinson, H. M.Yates, Antimicrobial activity of dual layer
CuO-TiO2 coatings prepared by CVD against hospital related
pathogens, Chem. Vap. Deposition 18, 140-146 (2012) DOI
4. K.Sanderson K , D.W.Sheel, J Van Deelen, W Dewald, A Roose, K Jager,
Characterisation of TCO layers, ICCG 9, Breda 2012, International
Commission on Glass (ICG)
5. 2012: Process Line Implementation for Applied Surface Nano
Technologies (PLIANT), EC (Framework), £352,871.00, Principal
Investigator: H Yates (50%). Co-Investigator: D Sheel (50%).
6. 2011: Electrical and picosecond optical control of
transistor-type plasmonic antenna switches EPSRC, £159,456.00. Principal
Investigator: D Sheel (100%)
7. February 2011: Wolfson Labs Refurbishment Scheme 2010 Royal Society,
£250,000.00. Principal Investigator: D Sheel (85%). Co-Investigators: H
Yates (10%), R Pilkington (5%)
8. 2008: A study of methods to produce MAX phases in thin films
at temperatures below 900 C, EPSRC, £272,501.26. Principal Investigator: D
9. 2008: UK Health Protection Agency and the University of
Salford: Flexible production technologies and equipment based on
atmospheric pressure plasma processing for 3D nano structured surfaces —
N2P, EC (Framework), £474,682.00. Investigator: D Sheel (100%)
Details of the impact
Developing new concepts in the field of APCVD for application in the
environmental, construction, healthcare and biotechnology sectors,
- Low E window coatings and Solar Control coatings for energy
- "Self" Clean photo-catalytic coating;
- Anti-reflection coatings;
- TCOs and Interface Layers for photovoltaic thin film cells;
- Bacteriocidal coatings for infection transfer suppression.
- The EU funded collaborative project (N2P Nano to Production) has a
range of European industrial and academic partners and involved (in the
Biocidal surfaces part of the project) the UK Health Protection Agency
and the University of Salford. The project is focused on flame assisted
CVD and thermal CVD — both atmospheric pressure based, passive (dark)
and active (photo-) biocidal properties, including visible wavelength
light enhancement. Salford and CVD Technologies are collaborating in
developing these systems in applications in hospital and healthcare
settings and incorporating the technology into a patent application.
- A primary focus of our work is in the field of thin-film Photovoltaics
(i.e. the modules which generate electricity from the sun). APCVD is
widely used for Low E windows (which reduce heat losses through the
glazing). A second significant area (and more recent) is in "self —
clean" windows. These windows are photo-catalytically active and destroy
organics under sunlight via photo-oxidation. Both applications are
exploited by CVD Technologies Ltd. A recent focus of our research work
has been in exploring lower temperature routes to APCVD using AP plasma
activation (e.g. coating steels or even plastics).
Commercialising the technology via a spin out company of the
which offers an innovative, integrated and client focused approach to
exploiting the technology for its wide application:
- Impact results directly from the supporting structure offering 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.
- The supporting structure facilitates companies with product ideas
which may benefit from APCVD technology including feasibility evaluation
and the capacity to accelerate the process and improve quality and value
in the development of products and processes, enabling clients to
exploit APCVD technology within their own markets. The successful
business strategy of CVD Technologies supports design, cost and supply
of Industrial scale APCVD equipment, or to license the technology for
- 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
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.
- CVD Technologies Ltd. employs industrially experienced staff who
provide the `scale up' expertise to link the University research work
with a route to exploitation through the development of a range of
Industrial R&D, prototype and full scale production equipment and
system designs and offers a technology licensing model supported by
equipment design and supply.
- The first license was signed with Akzo-Nobel (later Nuon) to develop
an in-line reel-to-reel APCVD system.
- A key milestone was the signing of a licence to jointly develop a
Float Glass coating system with Stewart Engineers Inc (USA), launched
in 2008. A major engineering exercise (being 4 metres wide and
required to operate at up to 700C and run 24 hrs a day, the system
cost (turnkey) is between $7and 20 million (depending on required
capabilities). CVD Technologies Ltd. is a partner in the turnkey
system project. The first system was installed in China in 2009/10 and
generated approaching $1million income for CVD Technologies Ltd. with
a margin of around 50%.
- CVD Technologies Ltd. has since worked on three further Float lines
in China with Stewart Engineers and are currently working on two in
Turkey and a sixth in Russia
- In parallel with this work, the company has developed processes for
use in the Photovoltaic industry and has signed licences in this area. A
recent initiative has been the development of an instrument to allow for
in-line monitoring of APCVD coatings as they are manufactured.
Successfully submitting related patents and developing strategic
licensing agreements, allowing major international companies to use CVD
Technologies Ltd. Technology:
- 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
- PCT/EP2011/061551- Biocidal coatings by flame and plasma coating CVD
- UK Patent Application 1215996.8 — Fast pulses to volume glow discharge
atmospheric pressure (AP) plasmas (2012)
Generating economic and social benefits, internationally:
- The leverage provided by the relationship between APCVD research and
development, application and uptake, through a range of production
processes through its commercial arm, generates commercial impacts for
the UK economy and for international partners and economies:
- CVD Technologies Ltd. has averaged c.£200K profits over each of the
last 3 years, which has allowed reinvestment in the local economy,
employing 9 staff and bringing related income and specialist skills to
the North West of England, ensuring the sustainability of the research
and its commercial application
- Over 90% of CVD Technologies Ltd. business is focused outside UK —
in Europe and the Far East, generating economic benefits and skills
Sources to corroborate the impact
a) CEO, Stewart Engineers Inc, USA for corroboration of jointly
developing a Float Glass coating system.
b) Head of Chemistry, UCL, London for corroboration of collaboration on
Self Clean Photocatalytic coatings.
c) Former Technical Director now Special Projects Manager, Sisecam ,
(Turkey's largest Glass company), Turkey, for corroboration of utilising
tailored APCVD technology.
d) Head of Coatings Group (retired), Fraunhofer, IWS, Dresden, for
corroboration of projects related to biocidal coatings, Transparent
Conducting Oxides and atmospheric pressure flame and plasma technologies.
e) Former Tech Manager Helianthos/Nuon BV, now Director at Helmholtz
Centre, Berlin for corroboration of license signed with Akzo-Nobel (later
Nuon) to develop an in-line reel-to-reel APCVD system.
f) Sheel has membership of the CEC `expert list' for evaluation of large
project proposals and is Founder Board membership of EJIPAC (European
Japanese Initiative in Photocatalysis Applications and Commercialisation).