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Thickness measurement methods for physical vapor deposited aluminum coatings in packaging applications: A review

: Lindner, Martina; Schmid, Markus

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Coatings 7 (2017), No.1, Art. 9, 32 pp.
ISSN: 2079-6412
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IVV ()

The production of barrier packaging materials, e.g., for food, by physical vapor deposition (PVD) of inorganic coatings such as aluminum on polymer substrates is an established and well understood functionalization technique today. In order to achieve a sufficient barrier against gases, a coating thickness of approximately 40 nm aluminum is necessary. This review provides a holistic overview of relevant methods commonly used in the packaging industry as well as in packaging research for determining the aluminum coating thickness. The theoretical background, explanation of methods, analysis and effects on measured values, limitations, and resolutions are provided. In industrial applications, quartz micro balances (QCM) and optical density (OD) are commonly used for monitoring thickness homogeneity. Additionally, AFM (atomic force microscopy), electrical conductivity, eddy current measurement, interference, and mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) are presented as more packaging research related methods. This work aims to be used as a guiding handbook regarding the thickness measurement of aluminum coatings for packaging technologists working in the field of metallization.