Think & Tinker, Ltd.
P.O. Box 1606, Palmer Lake, CO 80133
Tel: (719) 488-9640, Fax: (866) 453-8473
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Acid-Copper Electroplating Module Model 1000 Manual
Operation - Basic Principles


Cross-section of
plated through-hole
Figure 11
In the Think & Tinker process, a thin layer of conductive ink extends the conductivity of the surface foil layers into the through holes. This ink forms a highly reliable surface for efficient electrolytic copper deposition. The figure at right shows a photomicrograph of the mechanically active surface that results when the ink is cured and the uniform layer of smooth, bright copper that has been deposited inside the through-hole.

At the anode (in a properly maintained bath), sufficient copper erodes into the electrolyte, to exactly make up for the deposited material, maintaining a constant concentration of dissolved copper. This all sounds quite nice, except for the annoying tendency of electrical charges to build up on the nearest high spot, thereby creating a higher electrical potential. This area of increased potential attracts more copper than the surrounding areas which in turn makes the high spot even higher. If this process were allowed to continue unchecked, the resulting plated surface would resemble a random jumble of copper spears instead of the smooth, bright surface needed for reliable electrical circuit formation. Inhibiting and controlling this nonlinear behavior is where the organic additives come in to play. This situation is especially critical at the rims of the through-holes. Here the field concentration is sufficiently high, that, in the absence of some mediating mechanism, electro-deposition would completely close off many of the smaller diameter holes.

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Established 1990

On the web since 1994

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