Andy Brooks, Siobhan Woollard, Gareth Hennighan, Elizabeth Duncan, PhD, Tim von Werne, PhD.
Semblant Limited, Melbourn, Royston, United Kingdom
The use of plasma processing in the manufacture of electronics is growing as we discover more and more applications for this technology. It is now common for plasma etching and cleaning to be used in multiple stages of the electronics manufacturing process. The introduction of new plasma polymerization methods and equipment has added new possibilities and applications for plasma.
Plasma polymerization is a unique and exciting new tool for our industry. Plasma polymerization is a simple, one step process that can be used to apply a thin, uniform film as a protective coating which requires no curing or the use of any solvents. The chemical structure and properties of the coating can easily be tailored to the requirements of the application by selection of the appropriate precursors and processing conditions. The protective coatings that can be deposited using plasma polymerization represent an opportunity for the industry to deliver new, more reliable products to the market.
This paper will discuss the plasma coating process and the equipment used. The application of this type of coating process to printed circuit boards and electronic assemblies and the results of tests to demonstrate the protection offered by these coatings will also be presented.
Plasma deposition has been shown to be a very attractive coating method for the protection of electronic products. The
deposition process itself is very simple, and can be accomplished with minimal handling or sample preparation, in some cases even eliminating the requirement for masking contacts and connectors prior to coating.
Plasma polymerization offers access to an incredible range of coating materials, as virtually any material which can exist in the gas phase can be polymerized in the plasma. We expect that use of plasma polymerization for the conformal coating of electronics will enable a new generation of improved reliability electronics as the ease of use and low cost allow more and more products to be conformally coated.
Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings