Laser Plasma Patterning: new thick-film process for 3D molded interconnect devices

  • LPP (Laser Plasma Patterning) to overcome disadvantages of conventional 3D MID processes
  • Cooperation with Plasma Innovations
  • LPKF at #Fakuma

More than half of all smartphones today contain at least one 3D LDS (Laser Direct Structuring) part. Together with Plasma Innovations, the company LPKF is developing a new technology to supplement this application area. Laser Plasma Patterning (LPP) is the name of the process that LPKF Laser & Electronics will take to the series production stage as a turnkey solution.

LPP to overcome disadvantages of conventional 3D MID processes

With the industrial 3D MID (Molded Interconnect Devices) processes previously used, the coating thickness was economically-wise limited to approx. 15 microns due to the electroless metallization step. Thicker conductive traces can currently only be achieved through galvanic reinforcement.

Laser Plasma Patterning (LPP) takes a different approach. A 3D part is coated with an anti-adhesive paint to serve as a substrate for the conductive network. In the areas where metal coating is desired, an LPKF laser cuts out the paint layer, with high precision and leaving no residue. In the subsequent plasma coating step, metal adheres to the areas exposed by the laser but not where the anti-adhesive paint has been applied. The metal is deposited in several passes to enable to be built up coatings up to hundred microns.

Presentation at Fakuma

At the #Fakuma trade show, LPKF and Plasma Innovations present preliminary results together with PolyOne on its booth. After the painting step has been completed, proven 3D laser systems in the Fusion line perform the selective coating removal. In the next step, plasma metallization results in coating of the areas exposed by the laser with a metal. Different metals can be applied with precisely defined coating thicknesses. A typical application in the electronics industry is a copper layer of 35 to 70 microns, followed by a thin noble metal coating to provide reliable protection against corrosion.

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