PHTN9190: Vacuum Systems and
Thin Film Technology

(2014 Winter)

Course Info | Class Notes | Evaluation / Check Marks | Labs

Course Description

An extremely practical course introducing the theory of high vacuum science, technology of vacuum systems (including various pumps and gauges), and application of this technology to deposition of thin-film optical coatings and gas laser tube processing where attention will be paid to issues of gas purity and sources of contamination (including residual gas analysis using mass spectroscopy). Deposition technologies will be covered including evaporation and sputtering techniques and optical coatings such as mirror, antireflective, and dielectric filter coatings will be designed, fabricated in a class-1000 cleanroom, and the resulting devices analyzed with the results related back to the process involved.

PHTN1432 Lab Images
A collage of images shot in our vacuum laboratories. This is an exceptionally practical course with laboratory work comprising an important part in which students can apply concepts learned in the classroom. This is the essence of college education: the application of theory to real-world problems and structures. Labs are completed in small groups (usually five or less students) in the Mass, Infrared, and Optical spectroscopy laboratory in V12 as well as our class-1000 cleanroom facility where thin-film structures such as dielectric filters and mirrors are fabricated.


This course (PHTN 9190) is offered as part of the Advanced Lasers Program at Niagara College.

Text ...

Basic Vacuum Practice, Third Edition by Varian Vacuum Products (now part of Agilent), Part Number 900-0085

Evaluation ...

Check your Registration Status, Marks, and Lab Group Assignments here.

Specific Elements Of This Course

Laboratory components to accompany this material are also outlined on this page

The Physics of Gases and Vacuum Systems

Vacuum Technology
Deposition Techniques
Optical Structures in Thin Film


Laboratory work is a vital portion of this course. Whether experiencing first-hand the difficulties encountered while depositing thin films in a high-vacuum evaporator in the cleanroom (for example, controlling deposition rates manually on a thermal source and producing an accurate deposit thickness) or simply observing how an auto-ranging vacuum gauge operates in the spectroscopy lab, laboratory work provides hands-on skills not obtained from classroom work alone. Niagara is proud to have two unique dedicated lab spaces: the spectroscopy lab in V12 and the class-1000 cleanroom in V13C, both of which are utilized in this course.

As per departmental policy, late labs are assigned a mark of ZERO.

Course Notes and Links

For Part I (Vacuum Technology) of the course: For Part II (Deposition Technology) of the course: General Notes:

Lab Equipment used in this course

Descriptions and photos of equipment used in depositing thin films in our microelectronics laboratory


For the Photonics programs ...
Program Coordinator Alexander McGlashan
Telephone (905) 735-2211 x.7513

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