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14 August 2013

Picodeon to ramp up research and manufacturing of thin-film deposition tools after €5m investment

Finland-based nanotech firm Picodeon Ltd, which specializes in thin-film coatings and surface treatments, is to accelerate the development and manufacture of its thin films and thin-film deposition tools following completion of a €5m round of funding by private investment and project management firm Enso Ventures Ltd. Picodeon also recently started a new project funded by TEKES (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) with a value over €1m.

The investment will fund further research into thin-film applications and the development of new thin-film materials, as well as the production of a market-ready range of laser deposition equipment.

Picodeon’s patented Coldab technology is an ultra-short pulsed laser deposition (US PLD) process that enables high-quality nanometer-scale thin-film coatings of materials such as metals, composites, oxides and polymers to be deposited on a wide range of substrates.

The process is produced by Picodeon’s patented coating equipment, where material is vaporized in a laser-ablation process forming a plasma plume which condenses on the substrate to form a thin film. Applications include hard optical coatings for displays, screens and other transparent products (ranging from super-hard low-friction thin-films to optical thin-films with anti-finger print properties). However, in July, Picodeon delivered a project to a semiconductor manufacturer for the US PLD deposition of a gold (Au) thin film. Picodeon cites semiconductor applications of Coldab thin-film technology as including high-K and low-K dielectric coatings, as well as coatings for micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).

“This investment round enables Picodeon to continue the commercialization and production of its innovations related to nanotechnology thin-film solutions and equipment,” says CEO Marko Mylläri. “Enso Ventures is an ideal investor for us as they are committed to a long-term business development plan,” he adds.

“Picodeon is investing nearly €2m in the development of new automated thin-film coating equipment which will be up and running by January 2014,” Mylläri continues. “This is a unique machine to demonstrate the volume manufacturing potential of PLD coatings. It will show that the PLD process is not just a laboratory research concept, but that it is scalable into industrial applications by using Picodeon’s innovations.”

Picodeon says that it has a portfolio of global patents including 18 granted patents and nearly 100 patent applications. “The patent portfolio plays a critical role in our business model and in the value produced by the company,” concludes Mylläri.

Tags: PLD Enso TEKES



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