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The knowledge bank of ESA’s R&D programmes

Development of a new electroless plating technique

Programme
TDE
Programme Reference
T524-501QT
Prime Contractor
TESAT-SPACECOM GMBH & CO.KG
Start Date
End Date
Status
Closed
Country
Germany
Development of a new electroless plating technique
Objectives

To develop and test an innovative electroless plating technique for advanced telecommunication waveguides applications

Description

Electroless plating technique has been extensively used for many decades not only in the space domain, but also in other high end industrial sectors. The existing electroless techniques works very well in case of regular and flat geometries but in case of complex shapes the thickness uniformity of the deposition layer can be an issue. The current research activities related to this topic are mainly focused on the optimization of the electronic bath using ionic liquid. These liquids have starting to receive increasing attention in the literature as alternative solvents and electrolytes for different electrochemical processes. They can be used for the deposition of different coatings including Sn, Cu, Ag, Au in different metallic substrate. Furthermore, in some cases the use of ionic liquid overcomes the needs of strong inorganic acid and highly toxic salt, making the process more user and environmentally friendly. Considering that performance requirements are becoming more and more demanding the main aim of this activity will be the development of reliable and innovative electroless metal deposition techniques based on ionic liquid. In this regard a valid target application could be identified in optical waveguides. The activity consists of the following tasks: 1) State of the art review of the innovative electroless plating technique based on ionic liquid 2) Identification of the most promising substrate/layer combination 3) Test campaign at sample level in order to optimise the electroless plating process on complex geometry 4) Test results evaluation and identification of the preferred substrate/layer combination 5) Prototype manufacturing (a waveguide could be a suitable candidate)

Application Domain
Telecommunications
Technology Domain
24 - Materials and Manufacturing Processes
Competence Domain
2-Structures, Mechanisms, Materials, Thermal
Keywords
3-Space Segment - Payload
Initial TRL
TRL 2
Target TRL
TRL 3