Our journey from consultancy firm to disruptive technology

Although Solmates initially started as a consultancy company serving a variety of material science projects, the ambition to bridge novel technology to everyday life has always been very strong. The link with pulsed laser deposition (PLD) has always been there as many of the initial employees at Solmates have used PLD during in their research at the University of Twente.

Upscaling of PLD technology to larger surfaces was initially tested to create coatings on optical elements, but the enthusiasm in doing this directly led to the fabrication of a wafer based PLD system to support semiconductor processes.

After many iterations to the hardware, Solmates is the only company that is able to supply PLD equipment that enables wafer processing matching all industrial standards in terms of defects and reproducibility. In our mission towards industrialization of PLD processes, we have always collaborated intensively with industry to maintain a relevant focus on specific thin film applications. This lead to a portfolio with a wide range of thin film processes that all benefit from the unique features of PLD. Solmates is very proud that these days real devices are fabricated and commercialized using wafer based PLD.

“In our mission towards industrialization of PLD processes, we have always collaborated intensively with industry to maintain a relevant focus on specific thin film applications.”

2020
Solmates secures deal with volume manufacturer of 5G RF-filters
Solmates made great progress on its strategic mission to bring Pulsed Laser Deposition equipment to the volume production market. Based on multiple convincing demo-rounds, depicting clear benefit compared to conventional deposition technology, Solmates secured a deal to deliver its new generation PLD system to a production location for 5G RF-filters. Solmates also successfully extended its Scanramics® process to deposit 40% scandium doped AlN films.
2020
2019
Solmates sells first 300 mm PLD system
As the Solmates team expands further, years of hardware and process development leads to the design of a new state-of-the-art cluster PLD system designed for HVM production. This system features years of experience on high quality PLD thin film technology, enabling our customers to drive their development beyond the next technology node. Solmates secures its first deal for a 300 mm cluster reactor from CEA-LETI, which will be used for development of RF applications in 2020.
2019
2018
Solmates secures series B investment from strategic partner
Solmates secures series B funding from a leading global semiconductor company and its existing investors Twente Technology Fund and Oost NL, enabling Solmates to accelerate their technology towards the high-volume production market. Solmates installs its second tool in China enabling a micro-OLED display company to speed up their development.
2018
2017
Solmates opens the doors of its new headquarters
The release of the SMP 800 line, with the installation of two reactors at EPFL, enables customers of Solmates to perform large area PLD on a new compact platform. Solmates installs its first system outside of Europe, enabling panel production for OLED applications at CSOT. At the end of the year the Solmates headquarters are moved to a new location with brand-new in-house demo cleanroom and production facilities.
2017
2016
Solmates continues to expand its installed base in Europe
Solmates secures a key order for its PLD equipment from leading nanoelectronics research centre imec in Belgium. The HAMLET consortium (H2020) starts development of optical switches using Solmates’ PZT layers for 5G applications.
2016
2015
Integration of PLD processes in applications
Customers of Solmates demonstrate integration of several PLD processes in demo applications, like gas sensors, micromirrors, LED chips and optical switches. Solmates shows that lead-free Piezo-material is a real alternative for the standardly used PZT.
2015
2014
Solmates expands process portfolio
Solmates develops additional processes with unique features. One example is the patented damage free room temperature deposition of ITO on OLED, enabling a full transparent OLED. Other key processes for LED and PowerIC are further developed and tested with launching customers.
2014
2013
Solmates enters the market with tool placement
Solmates sells and successfully installs two fully integrated PLD systems, one to SINTEF and one to Robert Bosch Gerlingen. Both systems have passed final acceptance.
2013
2012
Solmates continues to further improve its hardware and processes
Critical aspects of the technology are further optimized. Solmates enters into high impact MEMS projects with European partners.
2012
2011
Dedicated third-generation turnkey system for PZT thin films
Solmates acquires investments from venture capital companies TTF and PPM Oost to accelerate market launch of the SIP 1200 turnkey deposition equipment. The first Solmates tool was delivered at the end of 2010 to the High Tech Factory. This fully automated system is able to produce PZT thin films on 6" and 8" wafers, and was the first PLD system from Solmates that includes the filtering technology to significantly reduce droplets and particulates from the plasma.
2011
2010
Piezo MEMS wafer services for customers in Europe, Asia and USA
Solmates starts to sell 4" and 6" wafers with PZT to corporate R&D, Research Institutes and University groups. Solmates assists several customers with fabrication and characterization of piezo-MEMS devices. Customers value the high PZT performance stability, while keeping excellent composition control. Wafers with our PZT thin films show world record displacement values and a high uniformity over the wafer area. Solmates initiates the design of the SIP 1200 with authoritative Dutch and German partners in the semiconductor industry.
2010
2009
Second-generation high-temperature prototype system
Solmates maps and explores market needs for piezoelectric PZT, doped transparent conducting oxides and hydroxyapatite thin films (for medical implants). These thin films are typically deposited at elevated temperatures. To deposit these materials on an industrial scale, a second-generation system is designed in 2009.
2009
2008
A new industrial deposition platform is born
Scaling up to a 200mm pulsed laser deposition system is thought to be impossible. In 2008 Solmates successfully demonstrates large scale PLD on polymer lenses on their own in-house R&D system. Solmates has the ability to develop this system due to its roots in the academic groups of Prof. Blank, Prof. Horst Rogalla and Prof. Rijnders at the MESA+ institute for Nanotechnology in Europe.
2008
2007
Anti-Reflective coatings on polymer optics

Soon after the start, Solmates is challenged to apply special anti-reflective coating for a military head-up display system. The company succeeds in coating a polymer lens with laser deposition on a 10x10mm scale and starts to pioneer with a deposition platform based on laser deposition.

In February 2007 Solmates starts offering material-science-related services. The company offered consultancy services and worked for more than 100 Dutch SME's from 2006-2009.


2007