Diamond Like Carbon

diamond like carbon system

The Intlvac DLC PECVD system is a turnkey Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating machine. Our DLC machine employs plasma activated, low temperature chemical vapor deposition technology. The unique design and processes of the DLC allow for numerous consecutive coating progressions before any maintenance is required to maximize your throughput. In addition, the DLC system comes complete with recipes for Infrared Anti-reflection coating of Silicon and Germanium optics.

What is DLC?

DLC stands for Diamond-Like Carbon. From a material science point of view, this means that it shares many of the characteristics of diamond itself, or rather DLC emulates diamond's properties enough to be considered similar. Some of these properties include the Hardness and the Young's Modulus, both of which are what set diamond apart from other materials. The physical trait that dictates this similarity is the proportion of sp3 bonds within the carbon structure as compared to crystalline diamond which is solely made up of sp3 bonds. It follows that DLCs land on a spectrum of similarity to true crystalline diamond. This is a key benefit of this material because it allows such substances to be optimized to suit a particular role. 

Excellent Uniformity
chalcogenide lens‚Äč

Intlvac's DLC system can consistently produce uniform films that are up to several microns thick on a variety of substrates. This is effective in reducing the required materials for coatings, but also time under vacuum, and in turn, the cost. Examples of substrate materials include: Si, Ge, II-VI compounds, optical glasses, chalcogenides, sapphire, metals, and plastics.

Rotation-less DLC uniformity Intlvac vs Competitor



Figure 1: This curve depicts the edge and center uniformity of the Diamond-Like Carbon coating produced by Intlvac's DLC machine, plotting the wavelength against the reflection, compared with a top competitor. Without rotation, Intlvac's uniformity is maintained to an extremely high degree as radius increases.

Pinhole Free

DLC coating on 6 inch substrate

On the microscopic scale, the effects of pinholes become greatly amplified. A thin film with pinholes risks erosion should the pinhole density be too large. Furthermore, once films begin to approach 1 nm in thickness, the presence of pinholes may put the underlying substrate at risk. Intlvac DLC coatings are pinhole-free which is not only a metric of quality, but also longevity. 

HydrophobicDLC in action

This characteristic of our DLC system output arises from the quality of the coatings it produces. Water molecules are not able to penetrate the uniform and pinhole free coatings the system produces which prevents more water droplets from adhering to themselves, potentially compounding the effect. Water molecules adhere to other molecules because of their relative polarity. Due to the uniformity of our DLC coatings and the non-polar C-H bonds within them, it does not provide a suitable means for water molecules to adhere.

Scratch Resistant

team with scratch resistant DLC sample


One of the main appealing factors of DLC coatings is that they retain simlar tribological characteristics to crystalline diamond. DLCs do exist on a range of similarity in comparison to diamond, however our DLCs consistently maintain values that approach the upper limits of what DLCs are. Atom Density, Hardness and Young's Modulus reach values of 95%, 75%, and 66% respectively of their diamond counterpart. 

Mil-Spec CompliantDLC with operator

Intlvac's Diamond-Like Carbon coatings are MIL-spec compliant. Such certifications require rigorous testing that better emulates the scenarios and applications seen in the real world. Some of the metrics within the specification include: reflectance, transmission, abrasion resistance, salt solubility, among other specs. While this is no doubt a proof of quality, it is also proof that Intlvac is committed to going above and beyond to achieve exceptional results. Our DLC coatings are not restricted to lab environments but are excellent performers in the real world.


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