What is a Shadow Mask?

A shadow mask is a precision, micromachined sheet that is used to deposit material onto a substrate. Shadow masks, also known as stencils or deposition masks, are used in a wide range of different vacuum-chamber evaporation and sputtering processes to fabricate both simple and complex semiconductor, micro-engineered electronic components and variety of products in the consumer and life science world.

One of the common areas that shadow masks are increasingly being used is the flat panel LED market to deposit inks and other organic materials onto substrates during the manufacturing process of flat panel LED and OLED displays.

Commonly Used Materials for Shadow Masks

Traditionally shadow masks are made out of thin stainless steel. You can also find shadow masks being made from other metal alloys such as nickel. A potential drawback to many of these types of shadow masks, or stencils, is that the material can be difficult to machine, their surfaces are difficult to clean and often result in being used only once.

At Citrogrene, we specialize in glass micromachiningOur shadow masks and stencils can be made from from glass. Our proprietary laser machining process allows us to produce high precision shadow masks and stencils that can be used multiple times before requiring cleaning, which Citrogene also provides as a service. The Citrogene process of making shadow masks is a very cost-effective solutions to traditional metal masks.

shadow mask

Shadow Mask Applications

Shadow masks can be found in a wide range of applications. Here’s a list of the most common application of shadow masks:

OTFTs (Electrodes)

Photovoltaics (Solar Energy Cells)

User Defined Masks

MEMS Devices

Alignment Targets

Encoder Disks

Biomedical Devices

Optical Devices

What is a Shadow Mask Used For?

A shadow mask is used for defining the areas of a device and creating microstructures on it with precision by masking or covering part of the target surface. When a design is desired on a surface of interest, such as a silicon wafer or other substrate, a deposition process is performed using a photolithographic mask or UV photolithography and a lift-off process is performed directly.

Citrogene: Custom Shadow Masks Manufacturer

Citrogene is proud to offer a proprietary process for manufacturing custom shadow masks. Unlike other manufacturers, Citrogene can produce shadow masks using glass, as opposed to metal. This allows our shadow masks to be used multiple times and are easily cleaned. Connect with us today or submit your shadow mask design directly to get started.