With physical vapour deposition (PVD) the film material is present inside the vacuum chamber in liquid or solid form. The material vaporizes on an atomic basis as molecule or cluster, reaches the surface of the substrate by kinetic (physical) movement and deposits itself there (condenses).
A distinction is drawn between evaporative deposition and sputtering. In evaporative deposition the coating material is melted. The resulting vapour then deposits itself on the substrate surface. With sputtering the coating material is in solid form. It is atomized by being impacted by accelerated gas particles. The particles thus ejected reach the substrate surface where they form the coating.
At the Fraunhofer IST different PVD processes are available: