Communication 2030

It’s all about communication. Our desire to communicate more, with increased content and at faster speed drives the development of new infrastructure and device technologies. We are amid an explosion in data transfer: business-to-business, business-to-people, person-to-person, person-to-machine, and machine-to-machine. Trends in the type of data transferred will also drive device technology as consumers move more toward communication via mobile video. This trend is driving new technologies including 5G wireless communication, high-resolution miniature displays, smart manufacturing, driverless autonomous controls of machines and vehicles, real-time medical data recording, real-time physician engagement, active feedback control of biomedical systems, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Many, if not all, of these advances are enabled by thin film technology. As a consequence, deposition, lithography, and characterization processes must evolve to make the vision of the future a reality. The requirement for additional miniaturization, to make devices more compact and energy efficient, will push the limits of traditional vacuum technologies and propel the adoption of advances such as high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS) and development of multi-frequency and voltage wave-form control in all the plasma processing methods. The sunset of Moore’s Law will pull gas-based self-limited thin film technologies such as atomic layer deposition and etching further into the mainstream. Materials technologies which enable advanced heat transfer, energy storage, moisture resistance, electrochemically active/biocompatible surfaces, and optics will require continual development. The challenge of three-dimensional thin film device architectures will continue to drive the capabilities of thin film systems and device designers. These new challenges will also drive characterization technologies including interfaces, morphologies, crystal structure, thickness, resistivity, adhesion, and composition. This session will spotlight advanced communication technologies that will support the explosion in data communication anticipated in the new decade. These alternative communication strategies include:

  • 5G wireless networks and devices
  • Holography
  • Driverless “everything”
  • Embedded systems
  • Flexible electronics
  • Internet of Things
  • New semiconductor architectures
  • Non-volatile memory
  • Wireless sensor platforms
  • Small high-resolution displays
  • Intelligent data infrastructure
  • Autonomous control of vehicles

These new communication technologies will drive advances in thin film materials, substrates, deposition processes, lithography, and additive manufacturing. These advances will trickle down into new requirements for vacuum systems, system design, and fabrication. With devices needing to be built on a molecular level, vacuum systems may have to be engineered to reach an extremely high vacuum with pressures at or below 10-11 Torr. It is an exciting and challenging time for vacuum enabled coatings. The advancement of many of these new technologies is dependent on robust, scalable processes which will push the boundaries of current capabilities. Presentations that focus on key new trends in communication technologies and the challenges and opportunities for the vacuum coating community in the next decade are eagerly solicited.

Symposium OrganizersChris Stoessel, Eastman Chemical Company, stoessel@attglobal.netLenka Zajíčková, Central European Institute of Technology, Masaryk University, Czech Republic, lenkaz@physics.muni.cz