What is DLC or Diamond Like Carbon

DLC or Diamond-like carbon coating is an amorphous carbon material sharing many of the characteristics of diamond.  The coatings have unique properties such as low friction, high hardness, high corrosion resistance and good transmission in the infrared.

DLC applied as a coating on windows and lenses improves their resilience. DLC applied to semiconductor parts reduces particle generation. DLC applied to drivetrain components reduces wear and friction. DLC applied to ophthalmic lenses renders them hydrophobic.

What dictates the properties of DLC is the proportion of sp3 bonds to sp2 bonds where crystalline diamond is 100% sp3.

This is a key benefit of this material because it allows for optimization to suit a particular role.

Hydrogen, Tungsten, Titanium, Silicon, Nitrogen, Helium and oxigen are all dopants or additives Thin Film Service has experiance with in the search for stress and nodule free hard Diamond Like Carbon

Sp2Sp3 models

Common and typical DLC applications

Looking at the ternary diagram one quickly understands that altering the sp2, sp3 and h fractions of the DLC film will create a coating that is either diamond like, graphitic or polymeric. The applications are therfor endless. High uniformity and pinhole free films available as well as metal rich DLC. Here's a few we love to share.


Drivetrain components

High hardness and low friction reduces the required torque and power. Adding DLC to the fingers and cams further reduces friction. High aspect ratio process to fill cavities 10:1 available


Ophthalmic hydrophobic VIS

Proprietary proccess creates a very flexible DLC that binds directly to glass and most plastics. Diluted and post processed for max hydrophobicity


High temperature iDLN™

Arguably the hydrogenated Si:O rich DLC with the highest sp3 fraction available on the market. Combining high hardness, low COF and extremely low wear rate. Available as dielectric or semi conductive


Precision optics DLC

Your ticket to MWIR and LWIR on Germanium, ZnS, ZnSe and Chalcogenide glas. Our unique process controls guarantees perfect adhesion and MIL-C properties

360° 3D DLC coatings

Firstly, The unique advantage of PECVD DLC is its intrinsic ability to coat shapes that are highly asymmetrical and maintain excelent uniformity. Unlike PVD based DLC it does not rely on expensive and high maintenance carousels or turntables to achieve basic uniformity. Adding a carousel to a PECVD DLC system will dramatially improve uniformity to levels not possible with PVD.

Secondly, the wide pressure range (1mtorr to 400mtorr) of Thin Film Service's DLC processes allows the process engineer to control the sheath and pre-sheath thickness of the PLASMA. Changing the sheath also affects the directionality, stress and aspect ratio of cavities that need to be reached as it does affect other properties was well.

Thirdly, we have developed unique power supplies tailored to our porcess and our portfolio includes RF (w/ or w/o slow pulsing capabilities), Mid Frequency RF, Pulsed DC and Asymmetrical Bipolar tunable DC. All have their unique ways of ionizing the plasma over a wide range of voltages.

flex dlc

Flexible DLC

DLC is know to be hard but brittle. For those applications where continuous flexibility is required we developed a DLC withstanding thousands of folds or bends not limited by the bend radius. Typical applications include plastics, foils and wire, cord or wire meshes. This process allows to be modified with a variety of additives. Thermal and Electrical conductivity are adjustable if one requires such need.

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