100% dry finishing. No water, solvents, softeners, surfactants, or other additives.

Unlike solution-based finishing and coating, Sigma DryFab™ Technology uses just the active material - nothing else. 100% dry processing means reduce energy costs, no water/solvent recovery, smaller plant footprint, and no hazardous waste streams. 

High-speed. Cost effective.

Sigma's DryFab™ technology is capable of depositing C6 fluorocarbon molecules onto films, fabrics and other substrates at speeds measured in hundreds of feet per minute compared to tens of feet per minute for competing plasma and wet processes.

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Superior performance without compromise.

DryFab™ can be monomolecular in scale. This means little to no impact on breathability, moisture permeability, or other bulk substrate properties. Also, because the deposited material is covalently bonded to the substrate, DryFab™ coatings are highly durable and long-lasting.

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Ideal for most inorganic and synthetic substrates

Glass, metals, polymer films, microporous membranes, wovens, nonwovens, and knits - Sigma's DryFab™ process is highly flexible and capable of functionalizing a wide array of base materials.

Controlled passivation of vacuum deposited aluminum.

SigmAlOx™ fortified aluminum layers show excellent stability against corrosion. Table shows electrical resistance of 1.4 optical density aluminum after full immersion in 92˚c water for 90 seconds. Note little increase in resistance with the SigmAlOx™ treated sample.

SigmAlOx™ fortified aluminum layers show excellent stability against corrosion. Table shows electrical resistance of 1.4 optical density aluminum after full immersion in 92˚c water for 90 seconds. Note little increase in resistance with the SigmAlOx™ treated sample.

The SigmAlOx™ process is a dry,  inline, process for building a pure aluminum oxide barrier layer onto thin film aluminum to create a more resilient, stable, and higher performing "fortified," aluminum layer for applications that include barrier films for flexible packaging, window films and metallized capacitor films. In addition to improved barrier and corrosion resistance, the SigmAlOx™ process completely eliminates blocking, or metal "pick-off," which is common in metallized aluminum films.

How it works.

SigmAlOx™ layers are created using a pure oxygen plasma immediately after metal deposition - before the fresh, highly reactive aluminum, layer is able to react with anything else (moisture, contaminated process rollers, the backside of the substrate, etc.). The result is a thin, highly uniform and pure, aluminum oxide barrier layer.

Why it works.

Aluminum is extremely reactive. Because deposition happens in a vacuum it has little to react with until it is exposed to ambient conditions, at which point the aluminum is "passivated." Unfortunately, if passivation occurs in a moisture-containing environment (and it always does) aluminum hydroxides form, which can be porous compared to a pure aluminum oxide formed in the absence of moisture. SigmAlOx™ aluminum oxide layers are less porous, more dense, and offer greater protection compared to passivating layers that form in natural ambient conditions.

High aspect ratio Nanoflakes

Sigma's proprietary nanoflake synthesis technology comprises a unique method for producing, in large quantities, "flakes," that are nano-scale in thickness and micron-scale in diameter (high aspect ratio). Nanoflake materials can range in size and can be composed of virtually any inorganic material - as well as some organic materials.

Beyond the lab to industrial-scale production.

Sigma's nanoflake synthesis process involves sequential deposition of the intended nanoflake material (metal, ceramic, or organic), and a sacrificial "release," layer, onto a rotating drum to create a nano-composite comprised of thousands of alternating layers of nanoflake material and release. The nano-composite is reduced to a fine powder and submerged in a dissolving agent to dissolve the sacrificial release layer - leaving behind the nanoflake material, which is further processed for sizing. Productivity is measured in 10's of pounds per hour depending on the material(s) used.

In-situ nanoflake surface modification.

Unlike conventional nano-particle/flake synthesis, which generally require solution-based methods for surface modification, Sigma's nanoflake process allows for dry, in-situ, functionalization of nanoflakes by reacting them with the release layer prior to separation/dissolution.

Substrate planarization for defect-free surfaces. 

Micro-roughness and the presence of defects on substrate surfaces will hinder the performance of any barrier structure. Using Sigma's PML technology substrate surfaces are planarized with a PML-deposited acrylate (inline with deposition of inorganic barrier layer) coating and other defects are either concealed or removed. PML layers are formulated for high temperature resistance and adhesion of subsequent layers.

Organic top-coatings for improved barrier performance.

Application of PML layers, immediately after barrier deposition (e.g. aluminum or aluminum oxide), improves barrier performance by reducing micro-cracking caused by elongation scuffing caused by downstream processes (e.g. printing and laminating). Topcoats can be formulated for improved bonding of printing inks, adhesives, and coated layers.

Multi-Layer structures for super-high barrier applications.

Sequential deposition of polymer/inorganic layer stacks to create a torturous path for moisture and gas; also, provides redundancy to minimize impact of surface defects. Compatible with clear and opaque barrier applications. Capable of achieving 10-6 grams/meter2/24hrs barrier.

Dry finishing of natural and synthetic fiber-based textiles.

Like Sigma's DryFab™ technology, DiElectric Phoretic (or "DEP") deposition uses 100% solids chemistry; meaning, no water and no solvents. Unlike DryFab™, DEP finishing does not take place in a vacuum chamber and can be integrated into an existing textile finishing line/tenter.

Uniform coatings throughout the fabric bulk.

Conventional solution-based finishing relies on water (or solvents) to transport finishing chemicals throughout the fabric in order to coat the entire surface area. This is a luxury not available to dry finishing processes. Sigma's DEP Technology solves this problem by using a plasma to trigger a phenomenon known as dielectrophoresis - where the electric field of the plasma exerts a force onto the finishing chemical, causing the chemical to disperse throughout the entire surface area of the fabric.

Compatible with conventional textile finishing lines.

Once deposited throughout the fabric, curing of the active chemicals is initiated by either heat, UV radiation, plasma, or a combination thereof. Polymerization propagates while the fabric proceeds through the tenter oven and terminates once all of the active material has been polymerized. The result is a high performance, durable and long-lasting, finish (hydrophobic, oleophobic, or hydro/oleophobic) without achieved without the use of a single drop of water.