In this work, a method for the rapid synthesis of metallic microtracks on polyetherimide is presented. The method relies on the photosynthesis of silver nanoparticles on the surface of the polymer substrates from photosensitive silver chloride (AgCl), which is synthesized directly on the polyetherimide surface. The study reveals that the use of AgCl as a photosensitive intermediate accelerates the reactions leading to the formation of silver nanoparticles by up to two orders of magnitude faster than other photodecomposition schemes. The patterning can be conducted under blue light, with notable advantages over UV exposure. Polymers of significant interest to the microelectronics and 3D printing industries can be directly patterned by light using this photography-inspired technique at throughputs high enough to be commercially advantageous. Light exposures as short as a few seconds are sufficient to allow the direct metallization of the illuminated polyetherimide surface. The results show that the silver required for the seed layer is minimal, and the later copper electroless plating results in the selective growth of conductive tracks for circuitry on the light-patterned areas, both on flexible films and 3D printed surfaces.
- 3D printing
- photopatterning methods