Picosun ALD demonstrates effective surface protection for materials in space conditions

ESPOO, Finland, March 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Picosun Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) has proven to be a suitable solution for protecting surfaces exposed to atomic oxygen degradation in low Earth orbit. High material survivability is a requirement for objects sent into space as they face a number of degrading circumstances, such as exposure to atomic oxygen.

Researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) tested and analyzed various material samples provided by Picosun to verify the suitability of the protective coatings for protection against atomic oxygen. These tests were carried out in the LEOX facility of the ESTEC TEC-QEE laboratory as part of an “open laboratory” test campaign. These campaigns are intended to provide access to ESA’s unique space environmental testing facilities and enable collaboration with ESA research fellows, especially for SMEs and institutes new to the space sector.

The test simulates the corrosive effect of atomic oxygen, to which satellites, including the International Space Station (ISS), are exposed. Test results, performed on Kapton® HN polyimide film, silicon parts and PCBs (printed circuit boards) coated with Picosun ALD coating have clearly demonstrated the erosion protection provided by the ALD coating. The demonstrated low temperature (125°C) film was relatively thin (20 nm) allowing the coating of different relevant materials. The reduced thickness of the ALD coating is known to resist more deformations required for flexible materials than thick layers. Additionally, the ALD coating can be applied to a 3D surface with extreme aspect ratios. The analysis carried out by ESTEC consisted of a mass measurement, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) inspection and a measurement of the thermo-optical properties, partially, before and after the test.

“Atomic oxygen erosion has a major impact on the choice of external materials available for spacecraft and satellites operating in low Earth orbit. Picosun ALD has shown resistance to atomic oxygen in testing and forms a protective coating suitable for extreme environmental conditions, also applicable to flexible materials”, explains Adrian TigheSenior Materials Engineer in the Physics and Chemistry of Materials Section at ESA.

“ALD is an advanced thin-film coating method for ultra-thin, highly uniform and conformal layers of material. It has proven to be the coating solution of choice already in production in solutions and innovations operating in environments extremes. Today, they are found everywhere from the deep seabed to Mars,” says Juhana KostamoVice President, Industrial Business Line of the Picosun Group.

More information:

Juhana Kostamo
Vice President, Industrial Business Line, Picosun Group
Tel: +358 50 369 9565
E-mail: [email protected]

www.picosun.com

Picosun provides the most advanced Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) thin film coating solutions for global industries. Picosun’s ALD solutions enable a technological leap into the future, with turnkey production processes and unparalleled, pioneering expertise in the field – dating back to the invention of the technology itself. Today, Picosun® ALD equipment is used daily in manufacturing in many high-tech industries around the world. Picosun is based in Finlandwith subsidiaries in Germany, United States, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China mainland and Taiwanoffices at India and France, and a global sales and support network. To visit www.picosun.com.

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