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Fabrication process for electronic tracks on flexible supports
Université de Mons-Hainaut (B)

A photographic type process has been developed which allows metallic tracks to be easily deposited on thin, flexible polymeric substrates. In this article the technique, and its practical advantages in the production of printed circuits on such substrates, is described.

In the first step of the process, a thin polyester substrate is coated with a composite layer containing an organometallic compound. In the second step, a laser beam selectively irradiates the coated substrate. In absorbing the light the organometallic compound decomposes and metallic atoms are formed which agglomerate to form metallic particles distributed on the irradiated surface. In the third and final step of the process the irradiated substrate is immersed in a galvanic bath containing metallic ions. By an auto catalytic process these ions become fixed to the metallic particles on the irradiated surface. Metallisation develops very rapidly which entirely covers the irradiated surface and forms a continuous, dense metallic layer on the polyester substrate.

The key to the metallisation (tracks, surfaces) is the selective irradiation during the second step in which the areas to be metallised are defined and are subsequently revealed in the third step.

Clearly, such a simple method has great adaptability which makes the process potentially very efficient and economic from an industrial point of view.

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