The selective functionalization
As described in previous weeks, PVD coatings can not only be applied to products with a standard marking laser in an extremely abrasion-resistant manner, but can also be partially or completely oxidized - resulting in many beautiful colors.
Another very interesting possibility is that PVD coatings can also be simultaneously functionalized during their application. For example, the laser coatings can be permanently energetically charged and/or selectively structured, which can be achieved, for example, by antimicrobial activity or catalytic activity at the coating surface. Also exciting is the superhydrophilic property, which, together with a capillary effect, allows water to run uphill, as shown in the short video here.
The opposite is also possible: by creating a layer surface with very low energy, which then also has a lotus-like structure at the same time, hydrophobic behavior is created.
This can, of course, be applied selectively - here as "ARA" lettering on glass - or over the entire surface; then large areas remain water-free.
The special feature of these hydrophobic laser coatings is that they are extremely robust and durable.
Another example is lasered silver mirrors, as shown below. The high reflectivity results from the silver layer being transferred by the laser as small droplets (i.e., in liquid form), which then flow together on the product surface to form a homogeneous layer.
For this reason, the coating speed is also quite high at around 2 square centimeters/s.
In this way, we have already been able to successfully produce other laser coatings that appear completely "illogical", such as anti-corrosion coatings.
In summary, the combination of PVD coatings and laser technology offers a kind of "construction kit" with which the materials presented so far, as well as many completely new ones, can be generated and unique functionalities can be integrated into product surfaces.
You can hardly believe all this?
Then just come and see for yourself with real samples at our booth 4D42, Hall 4 at LASYS in Stuttgart in two weeks' time.....
We will conclude our series of articles next week with the presentation of one of our tamper-proof machine-readable laser markings, which not only look chic, but can also be really funny. We promise.