Novel microwave plasma sputter deposition process providing enhanced optical coatings NMPLAS

Lead Participant: Helia Photonics Limited


The NMPAS project is focused on an innovation in the Materials & Advanced Manufacturing high growth sector, applying a cutting edge & innovative coating process - Microwave Plasma Assisted Sputtering (MPAS). This offers a room temperature process with up to 6-fold increase in optical coating production throughput compared to current predominantly used high temperature electron-beam deposition production processes. Moreover, MPAS enables use of an expanded range of thermally sensitive/strategic substrates, providing cost and optical coating peformance benefits. Optical coatings are predominant among high value manufacturing sectors & this project opens up new sustainable business for the partners by increasing both the UK’s & China’s competitiveness in lucrative current & emerging high margin global markets. MPAS technology transfer from Univerity of the West of Scotland (UWS) to the project’s industrial partners will enable a step-change in capability for the SMEs. With circa 90% of the worlds optical coatings produced in China, exciting new opportunities for future growth in both capital equipment and coated component sales into the Chinese market. This business-led project brings together three industrial partners from the optical coating sector, UK SMEs Helia Photonics Limited (HPL) & Orion Photonics Ltd (OPL) & Shanghai-based Jason Vacuum Co.,Ltd (SJV), with UK academic partner UWS, pioneer of the MPAS process. The project advances the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of MPAS to a late stage pre-commercial level, i.e. >TRL6.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Helia Photonics Limited, Livingston £219,901 £ 153,931


University of the West of Scotland, United Kingdom £145,732 £ 145,732
Orion Photonics Ltd, Beaworthy £124,808 £ 87,366


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