Fibers can get completely new properties with Spatial ALD
A new impetus is emerging in the textile market, now that it appears that all kinds of fibers with Spatial ALD can get completely new properties. Fibrous materials, including natural and synthetic textiles, are important for protective and decorative function. Because of their high surface area, flexibility, ease of manufacture and low cost, research interest is growing in textile materials for biomedical systems and for applications in photovoltaic cells, transistors, or sensors. For many applications, chemically modifying the fiber surface is important to improve appearance, chemical durability, and mechanical properties. Several processes such as sol-gel or plasma treatments are known to alter surface properties of woven and nonwoven fiber mats for use in hygiene, bandages, or oil recovery functions. In addition, exposing fibers to reactive vapors is also known to alter the surface properties of fibers, especially their wetting characteristics.
Although less well known than other methods in the industry, atomic layer deposition is known to penetrate inside complex fibrous structures to create conformal and uniform coatings of inorganic or inorganic-organic thin films that modify the surface finish. Spatial ALD is particularly advantageous compared to wet chemical processes since it is highly efficient, it leaves no liquid chemical waste, and it requires no expensive thermal drying steps after coating.