#1820 / Flexible Metal Laminates Made by Chemical Process

 DKN Research is fielding many inquiries about a semi-additive process for fine line generation on flexible thin substrates including transparent heat resistant plastic films. Most inquiries are from COF manufacturers with RTR (Reel to Reel) process. They are extremely interested because the new chemical process can be a practical solution for the next generation high density substrates with micro via holes.
 A few COF substrate manufacturers are successful in generating traces smaller than 20 microns using a semi-additive process with via holes smaller than 20 microns in prototype production. However, there are a few hurdles to overcome before actual volume production is realized. The most critical issue is creating reliable bond strength between plastic films and metallic seed layers without glue.
 The new chemicals developed for the new semi-additive process has made progress with the bond strength for the thin seed layer on substrate films; however, circuit manufacturers need to manage many critical areas to have the stable bond strength. These include molecular structures of the base films, surface conditions of the substrates, surface cleaning, supplemental surface activation, hole quality during laser processing, plating bath conditioning, post baking and more. Surprisingly, it is our experience that surface conditions from substrates sometimes fluctuate significantly. Unfortunately, film manufacturers chose to ignore the surface qualities of the films. Their thinking is nothing can change since the plastic films are produced using the same compounds and same process conditions, but in reality, the surface qualities on the plastic films will change drastically when stored, transported or almost any other and circumstance. Most film manufacturers are not capable to manage surface quality.
 Circuit manufacturers have two choices to use the semi-additive process for high-density flexible circuits with micro via holes. The first to develop the entire process on their own; however, it is very difficult to create base films. They must purchase films from outside vendors, and then they can move forward and process on their own.
 Manufacturers have to establish the electroless plating to form thin seed layers on base films – a monumental task that requires a huge investment and a team of engineers. Since this will take too much time and money, the second choice for manufacturers to use the semi-additive process for high-density flexible circuits with micro via holes is to purchase metallized laminates from outside vendors. This will eliminate the complicated electroless metallization process and huge investment. Manufacturers can focus on circuit building without the need for a special process other than a standard circuit manufacturing processes.
 There are a limited number of capable laminate suppliers in the industry. DKN Research is one of them. The manufacturing capacity is limited, but the processes are very flexible when selecting base films and conductors. Traditional polyimide films are certainly available, as well as transparent polyimide films with shiny surfaces.   Special films such as PEEK, COP, PEN, LCP, PVDF and PET are also available. DKN Research can help with most specialty films; we not only provide metalized laminates, but also guidance for circuit generation.
 Feel free to contact us for more detailed information from out contact information listed below.

1-(978) 372-2345 in the U.S.
81-(0)90-8258-2896 in Japan

Dominique K. Numakura, dnumakura@dknresearch.com
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com

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Headlines of the week
(Please contact haverhill@dknreseach.com for further information and news.)

  1. Tohoku University (Japan) 7/13
    Has developed a new heat resistant molybdenum alloy as the basic material of pressing dies. It keep the mechanical strength up to 1600 degree C.
  2. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) 7/17
    Has agreed with Sekisui Resin, major plastic device supplier for the new project to develop unti-heat wave systems.
  3. Taiyo Yuden (Major component manufacturer in Japan) 7/17
    Has rolled out new metallic base chip type power inductor series “MCOIL” (2.0 x 1.6 x 1.00 mm)
  4. Miyazaki University (Japan) 7/19
    Is successful with field test of the hydrogen generation plant utilizing the solar power. The test recorded the highest conversion rate of 18.8%
  5. Toshiba (Major electric & electronics company in Japan) 7/20
    Has co-developed the world largest capacity flash memory “BiCS FLASH” (2.66 Tera bits) with Western Digital using 96 layer process.
  6. Ricoh (Major electronics company in Japan) 7/23
    Has co-developed a new stereo camera module that detect surface conditions of the streets for the auto drive system with auto module manufacture Denso.
  7. USHIO (Major lighting equipment manufacturer in Japan) 7/23
    Has commercialized a new UV-LED Dryer module “Unijet A1220” as the dryer of the offset printing lines.
  8. Oki Electric (Major electronics company in Japan) 7/23
    Has commercialized a new optical fiber sensor system “WX-1033A/BJ” that detect temperature and distortion by remote control.
  9. AGC (Major glass material supplier in Japan) 7/26
    Has agreed to acquire the electronic material division of Park Electrochemical by 16 billion yens.
  10. Murata (Major electronic module manufacturer in Japan) 7/31
    Has developed a new detection system of the road surface conditions. Several different types of sensors detect the defects on the streets.

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