UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics


Laser & Sputter Coating Facility

Laser machining facility

This NdYAG laser system with integrated computer controlled coordinate table is used to manufacture fine-scale mechanical and electro-optical components. The capability of this equipment allows us to manufacture parts which would not be possible by conventional machining methods, but without the constraints of lithographic technology. This includes readout anodes (e.g. Wedge & Strip and Vernier) for use in Microchannel plate detectors.


Power: Nd-YAG - CW 15W, Q-switched peak power 30 kW

Focussed Beam Diameter: 10 to 100 microns (therefore we can create a slot approx. 10 µm wide or greater)

Co-ordinate table accuracy: 1 µm and 150 mm travel


Precision machining of designs (etched lines) in thin films on insulating substrates (Glass, Ceramics, etc.) Machining of sheet metal (e.g. Phosphor Bronze, Stainless Steel) up to a maximum thickness of 0.5 mm

Sputter coating system

Sputtering provides a means of depositing thin film coatings onto substrates. Our sputtering facility, an Edwards ESM100, can operate in DC and RF modes; DC is used for conductors and RF for insulators (RF can also be used for conductors). Before applying a thin film the ESM100 can be used to sputter clean (back sputter) a substrate which removes surface contamination within a few minutes.

Typical applications include the manufacture of anodes for use in Microchannel plate detectors) by coating quartz substrates with chrome/gold/copper and coating a 300mm quartz disc with gold for use in our electron gun assembly.

Choice of film materials

Insulators e.g. SiO2
others can be installed, all targets are 100 mm diameter

Substrate dimensions

Substrate thickness: up to 30 mm
For optimum coating uniformity substrates of up to 60 mm diameter may be accomodated. It is possible to coat larger parts, up to 300 mm diameter.