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University: Heriot Watt University
Sector(s): Electronics, Sensors & Photonics, Chemical, Electronics, Sensors & Photonics, Information & Communications Technologies, Materials, Nanotechnology, Textiles
Additive manufacturing of printed circuits offers many benefits over traditional approaches to circuit manufacture such as less waste, environmental etc.
Using visible light and low cost natural photocatalyst materials (Chlorophyll & related natural photosensitisers), Heriot-Watt University researchers have developed a method of producing a conductive seed layer prior to metallising polymer films such as flexible polyimide.
The produced seed layer has shown excellent adhesion to Polyimide films with very fine track widths possible depending on exposure process (direct laser writing /exposure masking).
Photo reduction or photo deposition is known within the electronics & circuit industry using high powered UV light sources, organic catalysts and metal salt complexes containing silver, gold, palladium etc.
This is the first demonstration of such a process using visible light and a "nature inspired" catalyst system i.e. Chlorophyll to produce either a conductive film or a seed layer suitable for electroplating.
Published White paper is available on early work in this area - search on "Hhoyd-Gigg Ng, Heriot-Watt".
IP Status: We are seeking commercial partners in the PCB/ Flex circuit industry - Companies with a UK/ Scottish base may be eligible for UK government R&D support to develop the technology in partnership with Heriot-Watt University.
PCT Application (PCT/GB/2012/000116) with a priority date of Feb 2011. Know-How & Process knowledge is being held as trade secret. Process has been demonstrated at "bench level" showing excellent adhesion & conductivity on flexible Polyimide films (sourced from DuPont).
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