Forge Nano has developed a proprietary atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology that it claims could improve nearly any material on earth at the atomic level. The technology could optimize characteristics such as conductivity, thermostability, and corrosion resistance, and it is now available for a wide range of applications, from consumer electronics and lithium-ion batteries to medical devices and raw materials used in manufacturing.
ALD entails applying an extremely thin coating (as thin as a single layer of atoms) to a wide range of materials, powders, or objects. This process can be repeated to build up multiple layers on nearly any surface, producing robust coatings that can be engineered to enhance or add to the characteristics of the material being coated, the company shared in a news release.
"For decades, ALD has been relegated to bench-top exercises and the world of peer-reviewed articles," said James Trevey, PhD, CTO of Forge Nano, in the release. "It's like we're selling wireless internet in a world of Cat 5 Ethernet cables. ALD delivers greater performance for a lower cost than incumbent technology for nearly any application, and now we have brought this technology to the commercial environment at true manufacturing scale."
Forge Nano’s range of ALD equipment aims to address the needs of large-scale manufacturing as well as fundamental R&D. ALD could provide an alternative to conventional coating techniques such as physical vapor deposition (PVD) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The company reports that "ALD is the only deposition technique that offers chemically bonded coatings with angstrom level precision," according to Forge Nano's Web site. Because the coatings are built atomic layer by atomic layer using gas phase reaction steps, they generate coatings with uniform thicknesses and without pinholes, even on porous substrates, it reported.
The company has already claimed success in markets such as batteries and semiconductors. In the case of batteries, the company’s ALD coatings have been shown to improve energy density, lifetime, safety, and cost. For instance, in electric vehicles, these benefits would translate to a lower cost, longer range, faster-than-fuel recharge times, and an EV battery that can last for at least 20 years and is better suited for recycling than current EV batteries, the company shared.
Forge Nano ALD coatings can also be applied to semiconductor wafers and components to create hermetic, pinhole free, low-stress thin films that offer the uniformity and precision required by semiconductor manufacturers.