Precision optics

Applications for precision and perfection

The manipulation of light is key in the precision optics industry. Its end products are used in a vast range of applications, e.g. optical lenses for camera systems and cell phones, night-vision equipment, laser applications, telecommunications and sensors for different kinds of detection requirements. Substrates to be coated can have a diameter from less than 1 mm up to more than 4 m with varied shapes and substrate materials. EUV and DUV coatings
To achieve higher resolution and smaller structures, current research and development focus on the use of X-rays with a wavelength of 13.4 nm, i.e. in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) range. The layer systems consist of more than 100 layers with an individual layer thickness of a few nanometers. This requires high precision, high stability and outstanding repeatability of the coating process. With the successful development and market introduction of our unique sputtering system, the NESSY series, Bühler Leybold Optics is poised to serve the next generation of EUV lithography applications. However, this coating machine is eminently compatible with other fields of operation, too, such as the formation of X–ray coatings that are often especially designed for measurement devices within very specific wavelength areas.

The current standard in photolithography is using light in the deep ultraviolet (DUV) range at 193 nm. Within the SYRUSpro series Bühler Leybold Optics has developed a specially designed coating system for DUV applications. This coating equipment provides dense, shift-free coatings while offering all of the coating advantages of the LEYBOLD OPTICS APSpro ion source. Coatings with fluorides in the dedicated DUV machine show very low loss rates and in particular can be applied for anti-reflection(AR) coatings for lenses used in photolithography devices. This coating platform is also capable of producing high-reflection mirror coatings with a reflectivity of up to 99%.

IR coatings
Night vision applications require coatings in wavelength ranges of 3 µm … 5 µm and 8 µm … 12 µm and above. Bühler Leybold Optics has developed various coating processes for this particular requirement. The portfolio includes anti-reflection (AR) coatings, mirror coatings and various filter and band-pass coatings. Coatings with fluoride used for infrared (IR) can in addition achieve higher durability and environmental resistance with the aid of the LEYBOLD OPTICS APSpro plasma source. We have designed the perfect machine for IR range applications within the SYRUSpro series. For robust and high-resistance coatings, we have developed a diamond-like carbon coating, processed in our plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) system named LEYBOLD OPTICS DLC 600.

Laser and mirror coatings
Laser coatings require high reflectivity, low losses and high performance over an entire lifetime, together with high laser damage thresholds. Bühler Leybold Optics provides a large variety of equipment and coating processes for the whole spectral range from deep UV (DUV), visible spectrum (VIS) and near infrared (NIR) through to infrared (IR). The evaporation processes and the equipment are tailored to the corresponding wavelength applications.

Laser coatings by sputtering... here too, Bühler Leybold Optics provides the key solution, with the HELIOS series of sputtering systems for optical applications. Dense, shift-free layers with low losses, high reflectivity and low scattering can be obtained with the HELIOS system. Equipped with a load lock system while keeping the coating chamber under vacuum, this machine is perfectly suited for cleanroom installation and is the perfect choice for high productivity in a cleanroom environment.

For broadband mirrors with enhanced layer systems, the SYRUSpro series and HELIOS series coaters provide a variety of coating processes. One special application is cold-light mirrors for projector applications, where high light output is required from dielectric mirror coatings over highly curved substrates. For this application, the SYRUSpro 1510 with swivel-mounted planetary system is the right choice.

Dielectric filter coatings
For the high market demand for dielectric filters, Bühler Leybold Optics, in addition to its coating systems also provides solutions in the form of dielectric filter coatings for acceptance tests. This includes UV-IR cut filters for digital cameras and cell phones, polarization beam splitters, band-pass filter coatings, color filter coatings, narrow band-pass filter coatings with high blocking and multiple cavities and many more…

The direct optical monitoring system on the calotte with our premium LEYBOLD OPTICS OMS 5100 device ensures high accuracy for challenging filter coatings, high production repeatability, and coatings like multiple cavity filters on the calotte (not attainable without direct monitoring). The SYRUSpro series of evaporation coating systems combines all of these advantages. Even more advanced are the HELIOS series coaters. Their sputter systems are equipped with in-situ monitoring using LEYBOLD OPTICS OMS 5100 which directly measures on the substrate turntable and in doing so offers the advantage of highly repeatable processes with the highest accuracy - even for the most difficult optical specifications.

About Bühler Leybold Optics

In the beginning of 2012, Leybold Optics GmbH became a subsidiary of the Bühler Group based in Switzerland: Business Unit Leybold Optics, legally rebranded to Bühler Alzenau GmbH in 2015, operates under the Advanced Material Division within the Bühler Group.