Fluorine Doped Tin Oxide Coatings - Over 50 Years and Going Strong


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Thin film coatings of fluorine doped tin oxide on glass were first produced in the 1940’s as part of the World War II effort. Generically known as TCO (Transparent Conductive Oxide) Coatings, the primary use was for antifogging coatings for aircraft transparencies using an electrical current to heat the glass assembly. Nearly 60 years later, these coatings are still used in cockpit glazings. Although the first generation coatings were applied using spray pyrolysis on heated glass panes, by 1990 these coatings were being applied directly on the float glass ribbon during the primary glass manufacturing operation, using Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (APCVD). As part of a color suppressed multi-layer structure, these coatings met the aesthetic and performance criteria for architectural low E glazings, and spawned new applications in electrochromic devices, heated freezer doors, radiant glass heaters, EMI/RFI Shielding, and the largest growing segment in glass – thin film photovoltaic panels. In this paper we discuss the characteristics of the on-line production, the performance characteristics of the coatings, the end use requirements, and the massive infrastructure in place worldwide to support the volume requirements. We compare the properties of SnO2:F to other emerging TCO materials such as zinc oxide.



Edited by:

J. A. Sekhar and J. P. Dismukes




P. Gerhardinger and D. Strickler, "Fluorine Doped Tin Oxide Coatings - Over 50 Years and Going Strong", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 380, pp. 169-178, 2008

Online since:

March 2008




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[3] ASTM C 1048 Standard Specification for Heat Strengthened and Fully Tempered Flat Glass,. See also Glass Tempering Association Engineering Standards Manual.

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[5] Market data from Pilkington North America shows the dollar value of low iron float glass increasing from $30M in 1993 to $55M in 2003, projected to be $100M in (2013).

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DOI: 10.1787/836170884881

[8] Market data provided by Pilkington North America / Building Products. www. us. pilkington. com.

[9] U.S. Patent 7, 241, 964 Heating Head and Mask Apparatus, granted July 10, 2007, Gerhardinger et al., describes the technology to deposit molten copper bus bars onto coated glass articles.

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DOI: 10.1557/proc-607-345

[13] Freeman, A.J.; Poeppelmeier, K.R.; Mason, T.O.; Chang, R.P.H.; Marks, T.J. Chemical and Thin Film Strategies for new Transparent Conducting Oxides, Mats. Res. Soc. Bull., 2000, 25, 45-51.

DOI: 10.1557/mrs2000.150

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