A method and system for producing a thin film with highly uniform (or highly accurate custom graded) thickness on a flat or graded substrate (such as concave or convex optics), by sweeping the substrate across a vapor deposition source with controlled (and generally, time-varying) velocity. In preferred embodiments, the method includes the steps of measuring the source flux distribution (using a test piece that is held stationary while exposed to the source), calculating a set of predicted film thickness profiles, each film thickness profile assuming the measured flux distribution and a different one of a set of sweep velocity modulation recipes, and determining from the predicted film thickness profiles a sweep velocity modulation recipe which is adequate to achieve a predetermined thickness profile. Aspects of the invention include a practical method of accurately measuring source flux distribution, and a computer-implemented method employing a graphical user interface to facilitate convenient selection of an optimal or nearly optimal sweep velocity modulation recipe to achieve a desired thickness profile on a substrate. Preferably, the computer implements an algorithm in which many sweep velocity function parameters (for example, the speed at which each substrate spins about its center as it sweeps across the source) can be varied or set to zero.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.