This paper presents a novel, direct, selective, vacuum-free, and low-cost method of electroless copper deposition, allowing additive patterning of nonconductive surfaces. Ag nanoparticles (NPs) synthesized inside a photosensitive polymer are acting as seeds for electroless copper deposition. The resulting copper film surface morphology was studied with scanning electron microscopy. Copper films were shown to display a rough grainlike structure, covering substrate uniformly with good metal-substrate adhesion. Copper thickness was studied as a function of the plating time, temperature, and Ag NPs seed concentration. A maximal copper thickness of 0.44 ± 0.05 μm was achieved when plated at 30 °C with 0.4 M Ag(I). The minimum feature resolution of copper patterns, grown with 0.025- and 0.1-M silver salt, is attained down to 10 μm. The maximum electrical conductivity of the copper film prepared with 0.025-, 0.1-, and 0.4-M Ag(I) approaches (0.8 ± 0.1) × 107 S/m, (1.1 ± 0.1)×107 S/m and (1.6 ± 0.4)×107 S/m, respectively. Electroless copper interconnections and LED circuit on glass substrate were fabricated as a proof of concept demonstrators.
- Ag nanoparticles (NPs) seeds
- electroless copper
- metallization of nonconductive surfaces
- polymer/Ag nanocomposite