What is Cathodic Arc?

Cathodic arc is a type of physical vapor deposition that offers advantages in terms of coating adhesion, uniformity, utility on parts with 3-dimensional structure and scalability.


Cathodic arc uses low voltage combined with high currents to create electrical arc discharges inside a vacuum chamber. Unlike sputtering which uses high voltages to force ionized, inert gas to ablate a target, the gas in cathodic arc serves primarily as a carrier for electricity. Those arcs result in local superheating of the cathode (made from the material to be deposited) resulting in simultaneous evaporation and ionization. It is this combination which provides cathodic arc with its unique advantages.


Cathodic arc is compatible with a wide variety of materials, allowing us to select exactly the right material for your application. Unlike other types of physical vapor deposition, cathodic arc does not suffer from selective elemental deposition. This means the cathode and the resulting coating have the same composition. This allows for the manufacturing of coatings made from desirable alloys such as Stainless Steel 304 or 316L (surgical grade stainless steel), or Titanium 6-4 (also known as Grade 5 titanium).


Cathodic arc can also be performed reactively, widening the range of available materials further. Coatings with excellent wear and lubrication properties can be manufactured by flowing reactive gasses such as oxygen, nitrogen or acetylene. This also provides control over color of the resulting coating.

Some of the most common coatings applied include:

Common Applications of Cathodic Arc

Cathodic arc is the perfect solution whether you’re trying to increase shots of an injection mold from 100,000 shots to over 1,000,000 shots, or you’re working to improve the corrosion and wear properties of surgical instruments.

Several common areas of use for PVD coating include: