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High-res metalization of 2D and 3D object made from glass, ceramic, PET or thermosets?

The traditional LDS (laser direct structuring) process is fantastic but only works on special plastic substrates containing an sub-surface activation particles. This limits the choice and functionality of materials. Firstly, it typically does not work with glass, ceramics, PET or thermosets. Furthermore, the addition of activation particles can render a transparent material opaque or eliminate bio-compatibility. Furthermore, the linewidth resolution is typically around 80-100um (but can be pushed further down) with surface roughness of 20-30um

Nouhad Bachnak , 3D-MID from Sunway Communication unveils a new process below, which promises to overcome these limitations. Here, the process first involves a special laser structuring process followed by a so-called chemical activation step. After this step, the structured and activated part undergoes typical plating (Cu-NiP-Au)

The details of the chemical activation step - possibly the most important step- were not disclosed. Nonetheless, the disclosed examples and results indeed suggest that it can work on glass, ceramics, thermosets, etc.

This is an important development and advancement of the technology, because it greatly lessens the limits on the choice of materials which can be 3D metallized with bulk-like properties and solderable surfaces

Furthermore, it is argued that this process- presumably when optimized- will achieve 5um linewidths with a surface roughness of just 2-3um (great for antennas, for example). It can also plate within vias with 40um diameter.

This is still not the full production level for all substrates. The most advanced development is for thermoset, which is production ready. The other substrates like glass, PET, and ceramics are still in development. Nonetheless, it is a good space to watch

Hear more about this technology at TechBlick's inaugural onsite event on 12-13 OCT 2022 in the Netherlands


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