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Ultrasonically Enabled Low Temperature Immersion and Electroless Metallisation (ULTIEMet)


Funder

EPSRC/IeMRC

Value

£310k

Collaborators

Solar Capture Technologies Ltd, Graphic Circuits Ltd, Chestech Ltd, LSA Ltd, The SP Technical Institute (Sweden), Universite de Franche Compte (France), The Institute of Materials Finishing, The Institute of Circuit Technology


Project Objectives

  • Reduce the temperatures and process times of electroless and immersion plating processes using ultrasound.
  • Study the effect of pulsed ultrasound on electroless and immersion plating.
  • Evaluate alternatives to formaldehyde and/or use ultrasound to reduce the concentrations of formaldehyde employed in electroless copper.
  • Investigate the effect of ultrasound on the grain structure, porosity, coverage, throwing power and composition of the electroless and immersion deposits
  • Determine feasibility of scale-up with pilot-scale production tests.
  • Dissemination of results and findings through publication of quality papers in journals and presentations at prestigious international conferences

Research Impact

Environmental benefits – this project has shown how ultrasound can be used to lower electroless plating temperatures saving energy and water usage. In addition the reduction in formaldehyde concentrations has benefits in terms of health and safety.

Economic benefits – reduced energy and water consumption leads to lower manufacturing costs. Increasing the plating speed by up to 35% represents potential for increased production capacity.

Societal benefits – The electronics sector is competing against the low cost economies of the World. The potential cost reductions that have been demonstrated will help protect jobs in the UK

The results from this project have led to 2 follow on projects namely:

KTP with The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) –using Coventry’s knowledge of electroless and immersion deposition for selective metallisation of fabrics.

KTP with Stevenage Circuits Ltd - the use of ultrasound to enable enhanced coverage and planarization in electrochemical deposition processes.

A number of other funding proposals based on this project are planned to be submitted to H2020 calls whilst an EPSRC platform bid on Electroless Plating of Injection Moulded Waveguides has been submitted.

Dissemination – presentations have been given at 22 conferences and seminars including major international conferences such as;

•          May 2014, 13th Electronic Circuits World Convention, Nuremburg, Germany

•          October 2013, IMAPS 2013, Orlando, USA (Invited)

•          November 2012, XIII World Interfinish Congress and Exhibition, Milan, Italy

•          September 2011, Eurocorr 2011, Stockholm, Sweden 

Journal publications – 1 journal paper and 2 conference papers have been published whilst 4 more are either in preparation or at peer review.