Silica is a common ingredient in everything from ceramics to glass. It is also found in many organisms, and even our own bodies have trace amounts of it.
It is used as an anti-caking agent in granular and powdered foods to prevent the ingredients from clumping together in moist conditions. In addition, it is also used to add texture and a long shelf life to foodstuffs.
Silicon monoxide uses are numerous and include the following:
Optical films, capacitor dielectrics and electrodes in advanced electronics; protective coatings for front surface mirrors and microcircuits; intermediate layers to increase adhesion to glass or other materials; and buffer layers to reduce chemical interactions between other materials.
Amorphous SiO vacuum deposited films are highly desirable for a variety of reasons, including their small grain size, high dielectric strength and good adhesion to glass. They are non-hygroscopic, chemically stable at low oxygen pressures and temperatures below 200degC, and exhibit good abrasion resistance.
Silicon monoxide can be deposited by simple exposed sources, or by vacuum systems capable of producing only modest pressures (e.g., 2×10-6 torr). A single source normally can deposit ten to fifteen depositions before reloading is required. However, a significant amount of care is necessary to obtain a reproducible film on a regular basis. The evaporation rate of the material, type of source used and residual atmosphere in the vacuum chamber all affect film properties. Detailed optical and electrical properties depend strongly on these factors, but with adequate care, excellent results can be obtained.