Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Influence of Diffusion Barriers on Thermal Ageing Behaviour of Solar Absorber Coatings on Copper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSurface Modification Technologies XXVIII
Subtitle of host publicationTampere University of Technology Tampere, Finland June 16-18, 2014
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Surface Modification Technologies - , Finland
Duration: 1 Jan 2000 → …


ConferenceInternational Conference on Surface Modification Technologies
Period1/01/00 → …


The thermal stability of magnetron sputtered and electroplated solar absorber coatings were investigated at elevated temperatures of 200-500°C. Diffusion barriers of aluminium and nickel were studied towards thermal diffusion of copper substrate atoms.

The diffusion barriers studied were experimental magnetron sputtered Al layers and an industrial electroplated Ni layer between a Cu substrate and an absorber coating. The thicknesses of Al barriers were 0.1 µm and 0.5 µm, and a Ni barrier was 3 µm thick. As absorber coatings, magnetron sputtered chromium-based coatings and industrially electroplated black chromium coatings, were studied. The sputtered absorbers were a 3-layer stack of CrOx/Cr/CrOx with layer thicknesses of 0.05/0.03/0.05 µm, respectively. The electroplated black chromium coating had a thickness of 0.2 µm. Copper was used as a substrate for all of the absorbers studied.

The degradation of the absorber surfaces and influence of diffusion barriers were analysed by optical measurements (solar absorptance with a UV/Vis/NIR spectrophotometer and thermal emittance with a FTIR spectrophotometer), microstructural analyses were performed using a field-emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM). The absorbers were aged by means of heat treatments in a circulating air furnace at 200, 300, 400 and 500°C for two hours. The experimental analyses were performed before and after the ageing studies.

The results showed that without a barrier coating copper substrate atoms can diffuse into the absorber coating and through the coating to the surface of the coating and form CuO islands on the surface. These phenomena degraded optical selectivity of the absorber surface. The diffusion can be prevented or retarded with a diffusion barrier layer between the Cu substrate and the absorber coating. The 3-µm-thick Ni barrier prevented Cu diffusion and retained optical selectivity up to 500°C for two hours and the 0.5-µm-thick Al layer up to 400°C.


  • Thermal ageing, Thin films, Absorber coating, Aluminium barrier, Copper substrate, Diffusion barrier, Magnetron sputtering, Stability

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland