Thin films are defined as nano-materials (usually deposited on a substrate) with nano-scale thickness (≤ 1 nm to several 100 nm) in one direction (z) and macroscopic dimensions (~ m²) in the other two directions (x-y plane). Their functional performances (e.g. conductivity or optical properties) are determined by their nano-physical dimensions, nano-scale structure/morphology and chemical composition. Therefore, processes for manufacturing thin film nanomaterials must be tuned very precisely within a narrow process window to reach desired nano-physical properties.
Industry has no access to solutions for at-line or in-line immediate evaluation of relevant nano-material properties that determine their functional performance. Industry lacks methods to efficiently determine small, but critical deviation of those properties on large surface areas (e.g. rolls of coated polymer web). Finally, Industry has no access to real-time in-situ monitoring of thin film growth and microstructure formation during processing.
NanoQI is the first initiative to combine 3 characterisation tools (XRR, XRD and HSI) to provide industry access to real time evaluation of nano-material geometry, structure and morphology and correlative imaging of deviations of these properties