PVD coating has become the premier alternative surface treatment to many hard-chrome or electro-chemical surface treatment methods of the past because of its improved functionality, increased durability and lifetime, as well as its environmental friendliness. We will get into the actual process of PVD coating later.

Surface Engineering

“Surface engineering involves changing the properties of the surface and near-surface region in a desirable way. Surface engineering can involve an overlay process or a surface modification process. In overlay processes a material is added to the surface and the underlying substrate (material to be coated) is covered and not detectable on the surface. A surface modification process changes the properties of the surface but the substrate material is still present on the surface” (Mattox 29). There are many different processes that can be utilized in order to obtain certain surface characteristics; examples of these methods can be seen below.

All of the processes have unique pros and cons in different applications. Sometimes the surface of a substrate (material to be coated) may be modified to change
or enhance properties of the coating.

During the atomic film deposition process, the coating material is deposited one atom at a time. The film remaining at the end of the coating process can vary
from a crystalline form to amorphous with varying densities. This film is only a few microns thick and is often given the name “thin film.”


Thin film coating via PVD can be done by applying electric current and voltage or bombarding of inert gas to ionize the desire material. Once the material is ionized into vapor form it is deposited on the desired substrate. There are several general types of PVD coating: sputtering, vacuum evaporation, ion plating, and IBAD.

Click here for more illustrative information regarding the theories behind various PVD coating deposition methods.

Above: PVD processing techniques (1a) vacuum evaporation, (1b and 1c) sputter deposition in a plasma environment, (1d) sputter deposition in a vacuum, (1e) ion plating in a plasma environment with a thermal evaporation source, (1f) ion plating with a sputtering source, (1g) ion plating with an arc vaporization source and, (1h) Ion Beam Assisted Deposition (IBAD) with a thermal evaporation source and ion bombardment from an ion gun (Mattox 32).

*This website is in no way affiliated with Eclat Coating Inc. We merely wish to provide our customers with as much additional information as possible regarding PVD Coating.

1. Mattox, Donald M. Handbook of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Processing: Film Formation, Adhesion, Surface Preparation, and Contamination Control. New York: Noyes Data Corporation/Noyes Publishing, 1998.