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Electroless copper plating as replacement for palladium/EN system


Q. Any one tell me the formulation of electroless copper plating?

Best regards,

- Izmir, Turkey


A. Hi, Murat. If possible, could you please preface your question with who you are and why you want to know, so that people will be in a better position to understand and hopefully answer the question. To my knowledge all electroless copper used in the U.S.A. is proprietary (trade secret or covered by patent) rather than made to a publicly available formula. If I'm wrong, I hope another reader will correct me.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey

Q. Sorry! I'm working about chrome plating on the ABS plastics in Turkey. I'm using palladium/electroless nickel system. But its very expensive. My EN solution contains nickel chloride, trisodium citrate, ammonium chloride, sodium hypophosphite and lead acetate. Can I work silver nitrate/borane system with this formulation.

Best Regards...

MURAT CETIN, returning
- Izmir, Turkey


A. I am familiar with the use of two-part silvering solutions to metallize things like the masters for vinyl record stampers where outstanding adhesion to the substrate is not required. But I am not personally familiar with using this process as the first step of a plating-on-plastics process in lieu of the palladium chloride approach. It looks like letter number 10887 discusses that prospect though.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey


A. I am a Lab Technician and deal with electroless copper quite often, The formulation of the bath consists of Sodium Hydroxide, Formaldehyde, EDTA, SR, and electroless copper of course ... The levels of these chemicals are maintained using an "s" controller, which performs constant titrations of the components, and is verified by lab analysis every 4 hrs to ensure accuracy; except the electroless copper is measured in millivolts, which are determined by how much light can pass through the solution, when a sample is passed through a UV vis spectrometer. It is replenished by adding a 3-part chemistry "a, r and c".

Jason A. Brown
- Athens, Pennsylvania


Q. Hi Jason,
I am a student and I'm currently working on a senior design project on electroless copper coating. I am unfamiliar on what you mean by an "s" controller. Could you please elaborate, or maybe provide a link to where I could find more information?

Thank you.

Abby McKain
- Columbus, Ohio

April 12, 2009appended

Q. Any one tell me the formulation of electroless copper plating?

Best regards,

mojtaba esmailzadeh
student - tabriz, Iran

January 22, 2010

Q. Hi everyone,

I'm trying to do copper electroless. I already know the formulation of the bath (but I don't know what "SR" means in Jason's comment).

Could anybody tell me how to prepare this bath? I can't obtain it, I'm suffering stability problems.

Thanks in advance

Noelia Díaz
- Las Palmas, Spain

Ed. note: Noellia, when you know the answer to a previously posted question but don't take the time to answer it, instead just bulling on forward to ask your own question, please don't expect the next reader to do differently :-)

April 28, 2012

Q. Hi
I am a lab analyst working with Electroless copper plating for Printed Circuit Board. I know the composition of the electroless copper solution except "SR". Please explain it.

Also I am interested in finding out the exact amount of EDTA in the plating solution. How I can do this? Anyone have amethod to analyze the EDTA in Copper electroless copper solution?

Muhammad Rizwan
- Islamabad Pakistan

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