Contact Electroplating Technology (CET)

I. Kadija
ECSI Fibrotools, United States

Keywords: electroplating, surface finishing, PWB, flexible electronics, circuit design

CET is a disruptive technology. It turns upside down old technology, like electroplating. Conventional electroplating dictates that power supply’s contacts to the electroplated parts must be made directly between the power supply and the parts. CET eliminates such need and liberates the substrate for an advanced design. CET is a sandwich structure composed of two electrodes separated by an electrolyte-soaked sponge. The CET electroplating electrode is fitted with highly conductive thin woven cloth. It can be pressed against any substrate with isolated conductive patterns such as PWBs and flexible electronics. Having millions of metallic contacts per square inch of the cloth it forms metal-to-metal contact with conductive patterns. On the other side, a counter electrode and a sponge soaked with electrolyte create an electric field between the two electrodes, resulting in electrodeposition of the metal from the solution. Being in intimate contact with the substrate the working electrode will cause the conductive pattern of the substrate to be electroplated too. To maintain the continuity of operation the CET sandwich reciprocates over the substrate, synchronized with reverse current pulsing. That results in good mixing as well as efficient anodic dissolution of deposit from the working electrode when detached from the substrate.