The process we implement to develop your materials is the plasma induction. What is it ? Why ? How ?
The plasma :
After the solid, the liquid and the gas, the plasma is the forth state of the matter, the less known but the most frequent in the universe. It is an ionized gas, i. e., gas having an electrical potential through to an electrical discharge. The concrete examples are the storm flash, the gas in the neon tubes, or also the state of matter in the stars. When the gas is excited, a radiation of photons is transmitted generating light and energy.
The plasma can be obtained by arc, with permanent or alternating single-phase or multiphase currents through to adjusted electrodes and at high power, or by induction. The electrode used to start and supply the arc plasma can pollute the material. That is not the case with the induction allowing to transfer the energy without contact. Indeed, the induction is a physical effect showing the Foucault current : the application of a magnetic field generates an electrical current in opposition to this field. By applying an alternating field, the induced current frequently changes the senses, excites the molecule binds and so, heats the matter, then melts or sublimes it. That is the principle of microwave oven or (for another frequency) inductive cookplates. So, by applying a high magnetic field at high frequency (between 100 kHz and 3 MHz), a gas can be ionized, its characteristics giving the needed energy to transmit.
The plasma induction :
The plasma induction is a comfortable method to supply an energy at the same time very dense (like the laser) and in large space to synthesize materials with a high feed rate. The temperature of the plasma can reach 10000°C, removing all theoretical barriers to the synthesis of all combinations of the periodic table. Of course, other technologic issues can limit this principle, in particular the corrosion and the pollution.
The interest of the process is the total control of the matter balance (input/output), because the energetic component is controlled like the material precursors. These precursors can be solid, liquid or gas. The art consist in adjusting the process parameters to obtain the wanted material. The process has a lot of advantages : high purification, removing of OH ions from the glass (absorbing the light), bulk doping at high content and high homogeneity, forming control (tubes, ingots, balls…) and size control (nanometric to decimetric).
The industrial strength of the process is to be able to adjust a plasma unit at several sorts of materials, reducing the investment level at each new material development.
We are promoting the plasma induction, however, we keep the possibility to develop other processes if it is technically and economically necessary to achieve the clients objectives.