The omnipresent spread of electronic systems in our every day life (computers, smart phones, fl at screens, intelligent automobiles etc.) and the constant competition for more effi cient and at the same time smaller systems challenges the whole electronic sector more and more.
A central component is the circuit board which presents the decisive “nervous system” of electronic devices. The circuit board ensures with its complex and three-dimensional “nerve cords” the electronic connection of all individual components and at the same time the removal of waste heat.
The production of these circuit boards requires a thin, but homogenous copper-plating on the fl at surface. In this process only least tolerances in thickness and evenness are permitted. At the same time the thin and homogenous coating of even larger circuit boards for the increase in efficiency is demanded.
The extremely high energy density for the fast galvanic deposition of copper layer seals the electrodes in the production plants. This happens through the so-called electroerosion which is the destruction of material through electricity or arcs. Arcs are a special form of electrical discharge and can be found in nature, i. e. lightning.
Scientists of the Steinbeis Research Center Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS) based in Saarbrucken have addressed this issue together with the world-wide operating company Atotech Deutschland GmbH.
The aim of the joint project was to find material components and geometries which are able to withstand the extreme stress in the production plants fastly and thus lead to longer maintenance cycles and and low maintenance. During the project an innovative solution was found. The solution is based on a controlled self-healing of the existing material system and an application for patent has also been filed.
The transfer solution is an excellent example for “out of the box“ thinking. This was only possible through the interdisciplinary cooperation partnership between Atotech and MECS.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Mücklich
Steinbeis Research Center Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS) (Saarbrücken)