What is Electro Deposition

By Bester PCBA

Last Updated: 2023-12-04

Table of Contents

What is Electro Deposition

Electro deposition, also known as electroplating, is an electrochemical process to apply a conductive material onto a substrate. It involves the use of an electric current to deposit a thin layer of metal from a plating source onto the surface of the substrate. It is commonly utilized for plating the hole walls and adding plating to the copper pattern on the PCB.

The electro deposition process begins with the preparation of the substrate, which is typically a nonconductive material such as fiberglass or ceramic. The substrate is thoroughly cleaned and prepared to ensure proper adhesion of the metal coating. Next, the substrate is immersed in an electrolyte bath containing metal ions in a solution. The choice of metal ions depends on the desired properties of the final coating, with copper, nickel, and gold being commonly used in PCB manufacturing.

Once the substrate is immersed, an electric current is applied through the electrolyte bath. This current causes metal ions to be attracted to the surface of the substrate, where they undergo an electrochemical reaction and are reduced, forming a thin and uniform layer of metal. The thickness of the deposited metal can be controlled by adjusting the duration and intensity of the electroplating process.

Electro deposition enables the creation of conductive pathways necessary for the proper functioning of the circuit. The quality of the electroplated metal layer is essential for ensuring good electrical conductivity, adhesion, and resistance to corrosion.

Variations of electro deposition, such as strike plating, pulse electroplating, and brush electroplating, exist for specific purposes or situations. Strike plating involves the initial deposition of a very thin layer of high-quality plating to serve as a foundation for subsequent plating processes. Pulse electroplating allows for control over the composition and thickness of the deposited film through the rapid alternation of electrical potential or current. Brush electroplating, on the other hand, is a localized plating process using a brush saturated with plating solution, offering portability and the ability to plate specific areas or items.

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