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Thin Film Coating Technology

Thin Film Coating Technology that Supports High Precision Optical Components

Konica Minolta’s optical components are coated with metallic or dielectric thin layers in order to increase transmittance of light, selectively reflect colors, and harden surface to prevent scratches. Through this coating process, new features, never attained only by lens or prism, are added to optical components.

Especially, the dichroic prism, which selectively reflects or transmits only certain colors, plays a significant role in digital imaging devices, Blu-rays, and DVDs since it determines the image quality and characteristics of those products.

The light reflects at the interfacial surface, where refractive index differs. Due to the nature of light to form wave, by adequately controlling light reflected from thin coated layers, light can be mutually fortified or interfered to eliminate reflection. Adversely, it is also either possible to reflect 100 percent of light or transmit or reflect only certain colors of light.

To achieve this, it is necessary to precisely over-lay dozens of thin layers as thin as approximately quarter wavelength at ultra-high-precision nanometer order (equivalent to several numbers of atoms). It is popular to melt metal-oxide within vacuum chamber to deposit vapor onto substrate. This is called “vacuum deposition method.” In this thin film-coating process, quality of the layers greatly depends upon surface and vacuum conditions.

On the basis of long experience in surface process technologies, Konica Minolta developed such cutting-edge technologies as technology to calculate minute reflectance in order to over-lay thin layers at the accuracy of several numbers of atoms, and plasma technology to stably coat thin film layers. These state-of-the-art technologies allow us to realize extremely precise multi-layer thin film-coating at full-scale.

Konica Minolta’s highly-precise state-of-the-art thin film technology, which is adopted in various optical products such as optical components for pick-up lens, projector of digital cinema, special inspection device, digital camera unit, and micro lens, is recognized as one of the top level technologies in the world and is renowned among our customers.

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