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United States Patent Application 20160255721
Kind Code A1
CHIU; CHIEN-HWA ;   et al. September 1, 2016

PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD PRECURSOR

Abstract

A printed circuit board precursor includes a substrate, a catalytic layer, a conductive layer, and a metal layer. The substrate has a top surface, a bottom surface, and a wall defining a channel, and the channel completely penetrates through the substrate from the top surface to the bottom surface. The catalytic layer is formed on the top surface, the bottom surface, and the wall of the substrate. The conductive layer is attached to and covers the catalytic layer. The metal layer is disposed on the conductive layers and filled in the channel.


Inventors: CHIU; CHIEN-HWA; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW) ; CHAO; CHIH-MIN; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW) ; KUO; PEIR-RONG; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW) ; CHIANG; CHIA-HUA; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW) ; HSIAO; CHIH-CHENG; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW) ; KUAN; FENG-PING; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW) ; LEE; YING-WEI; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW) ; LEE; WEI-CHENG; (TAOYUAN COUNTY, TW)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

ICHIA TECHNOLOGIES,INC.

TAOYUAN COUNTY

TW
Family ID: 1000001920426
Appl. No.: 15/149768
Filed: May 9, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14058504Oct 21, 20139386709
15149768

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: H05K 1/115 20130101; H05K 1/0346 20130101; H05K 1/09 20130101; H05K 3/188 20130101; H05K 1/0326 20130101; H05K 1/118 20130101; H05K 2201/05 20130101; H05K 3/381 20130101; H05K 3/426 20130101; H05K 1/111 20130101; C23C 18/16 20130101; H05K 2201/0154 20130101; H05K 2201/0338 20130101; H05K 3/06 20130101
International Class: H05K 1/11 20060101 H05K001/11; H05K 1/09 20060101 H05K001/09; C23C 18/16 20060101 C23C018/16; H05K 3/06 20060101 H05K003/06; H05K 3/38 20060101 H05K003/38; H05K 3/42 20060101 H05K003/42; H05K 1/03 20060101 H05K001/03; H05K 3/18 20060101 H05K003/18

Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Jul 17, 2013TW102125524

Claims



1. A printed circuit board precursor, comprising: a substrate having a top surface and a bottom surface, wherein the substrate is formed of polyimide, and the top and bottom surfaces are conducted under 45 to 55 Celsius degrees with pH 11 to 12 strong base for a duration of 1.about.3 minutes and are catalytically treated to respectively form a first palladium catalytic layer and a second palladium catalytic layer; a first nickel conductive layer and a second nickel conductive layer, wherein the first and second nickel conductive layers are respectively attached to and cover the first and second palladium catalytic layers; and a first metal layer and a second metal layer, wherein the first and second metal layers are respectively disposed on the first and second nickel conductive layers.

2. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 1, wherein the substrate has a wall defining a channel, the channel completely penetrating through the substrate from the top surface to the bottom surface, wherein the wall is conducted under 45 to 55 Celsius degrees with pH 11 to 12 strong base for a duration of 1.about.3 minutes and is catalytically treated to form a third palladium catalytic layer, and two opposite ends of the third palladium catalytic layer are respectively connected to the first and second palladium catalytic layers.

3. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 2, further comprising a third nickel conductive layer and a third metal layer, wherein third nickel conductive layer is attached to and covers the third palladium catalytic layer, and two opposite ends of the third nickel conductive layer are respectively connected to the first and second nickel conductive layers, wherein the third metal layer is connected to the third nickel conductive layer and is filled in the channel, and the two opposite ends of the third metal layer are respectively connected to the first and second metal layers.

4. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 1, wherein each one of the first and second metal layers is an electroplated layer without electrolysis, has a thickness ranging between 50 to 200 nanometers, and each one of the first and second metal layers is made of a material selected from a group consisting of copper, nickel, chromium, cobalt, nickel alloy, cobalt alloy or the combination thereof.

5. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 1, wherein each one of the first and second metal layer is made of a material selected from a group consisting of copper, nickel, chromium, cobalt, nickel alloy, cobalt alloy or the combination thereof.

6. A printed circuit board precursor, comprising: a substrate having a top surface and a bottom surface, wherein the substrate has a wall defining a channel, the channel completely penetrating through the substrate from the top surface to the bottom surface; a catalytic layer formed on the top surface, the bottom surface, and the wall of the substrate; a conductive layer attached to and covering the catalytic layer; and a metal layer disposed on the conductive layer and filled in the channel.

7. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 6, wherein the substrate is formed of polyimide, wherein the top surface, the bottom surface, and the wall of the substrate each includes a chemical group O.dbd.C--N--C.dbd.O and a carbon-nitrogen bond of the chemical group is cleaved, forming a carboxyl group O.dbd.C--O.sup.- in the substrate, wherein the catalytic layer is chemically bonded with the carboxyl group O.dbd.C--O.sup.-.

8. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 6, wherein the metal layer is an electroplated layer without electrolysis, has a thickness ranging between 50 to 200 nanometers, and the metal layer is made of a material selected from a group consisting of copper, nickel, chromium, cobalt, nickel alloy, cobalt alloy or the combination thereof.

9. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 6, wherein the metal layer is made of a material selected from a group consisting of copper, nickel, chromium, cobalt, nickel alloy, cobalt alloy or the combination thereof.

10. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 6, wherein the catalytic layer is a palladium catalytic layer.

11. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 6, wherein the conductive layer is a nickel conductive layer.

12. A printed circuit board precursor, comprising: a substrate having a surface, wherein the substrate is formed of polyimide, and the surface is catalytically treated to form a palladium catalytic layer; a nickel conductive layer attached to and covering the palladium catalytic layer; and a metal layer disposed on the nickel conductive layer.

13. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 12, wherein the metal layer is an electroplated layer without electrolysis, has a thickness ranging between 50 to 200 nanometers, and the metal layer is made of a material selected from a group consisting of copper, nickel, chromium, cobalt, nickel alloy, cobalt alloy or the combination thereof.

14. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 12, wherein the metal layer is made of a material selected from a group consisting of copper, nickel, chromium, cobalt, nickel alloy, cobalt alloy or the combination thereof.

15. The printed circuit board precursor according to claim 12, wherein the surface of the substrate includes a chemical group O.dbd.C--N--C.dbd.O and a carbon-nitrogen bond of the chemical group is cleaved, forming a carboxyl group O.dbd.C--O.sup.- in the substrate, wherein the palladium catalytic layer is chemically bonded with the carboxyl group O.dbd.C--O.sup.-.
Description



[0001] The present application is a divisional application of co-pending application Ser. No. 14/058,504, filed on Oct. 21, 2013 and entitled "METHOD OF MANUFACTURING PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD", now allowed. Moreover, this divisional application rejoins claims based on Invention II, according to the Restriction Requirement dated Mar. 13, 2015, augmented with new claims supported by original specification.

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The instant disclosure relates to a printed circuit board precursor and a method of manufacturing the same and a flexible printed circuit board; in particular, to a method utilizing electroplating without electrolysis to form an electroplated layer and then electroplating a metal layer as a printed circuit board precursor.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Conventional flexible printed circuit board is produced by fabricating on a half-finished precursor. A metallic conductive layer is required to cover the precursor for facilitating subsequent fabrication. In general, it is difficult to apply metal on the surface of the precursor because the precursor is made of polyimide which shows less affinity to metal. Conventional treatment to the precursor includes metal spray, sputter, CVD, vapor deposition and dry spreading. However, the abovementioned methods result in a layer which is too thick or too thin, or the process of the methods is time consuming. If the precursor is too thick, it might not fit in a compact module. The yield rate is restrained by the long processing time, and the process has high tendency of failure. Therefore the production cost remains high. In addition, because the thickness of the metallic conductive layer cannot be easily controlled, a customized metallic conductive layer for a specific purpose cannot be satisfied.

[0006] Furthermore, the quality of commercially available half-finished precursors is not stable, and the options of materials are limited. Hence, there is an urgent need to provide an easier method of manufacturing the precursor, such that the overall quality can be better controlled.

[0007] To address the above issues, the inventor strives via associated experience and research to present the instant disclosure, which can effectively improve the limitation described above.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The instant disclosure provides a method of manufacturing a printed circuit board precursor and a flexible printed circuit board to overcome the abovementioned problems. According to one embodiment of the instant disclosure, the method of manufacturing a printed circuit board precursor includes the steps of providing a substrate. Then the surface of the substrate is catalyzed to form a catalytic layer by a catalyst. Subsequently, a conductive layer is formed and attached to the surface of the catalytic layer. Finally, a metal layer is electroplated on the conductive layer.

[0009] According to another embodiment of the instant disclosure, the method of manufacturing a flexible printed circuit board includes the steps of providing a substrate. Then, the surface of the substrate is catalyzed to form a catalytic layer by a catalyst. Subsequently, a conductive layer is formed and attached to the surface of the catalytic layer. A metal layer is electroplated on the conductive layer. Following that, an anti-plating photoresistor is disposed on the metal layer. The photoresistor is then exposed and visualized according to a printed circuit board trace pattern. Specifically, a portion of the photoresistor is removed to expose a portion of the metal layer. After that, the exposed portion of the metal layer is etched through to the conductive layer and the catalytic layer. Finally, the remaining photoresistor is removed.

[0010] According to still another embodiment of the instant disclosure, the printed circuit board precursor includes a substrate having a surface. Specifically, the surface is catalytically treated to form a catalytic layer. The precursor also includes a conductive layer which is attached to and covers the catalytic layer and a metal layer which is disposed on the conductive layer.

[0011] In summary, the catalytic layer formed on the substrate acts as an attachment intermediate between the conductive layer and the substrate. The manufacturing process requires a non-electrolysis electroplating which provides tighter bonding between the conductive layer and the substrate. Comparing to the conventional technique, the thickness of the conductive layer and the time required to form the conductive layer are both greatly reduced. Therefore the cost decreases and the material options are broader. The metal layer formed on the conductive layer can be customized made to meet a desirable thickness for the flexible printed circuit board. The printed circuit board precursor can be easily implemented on different types of modules.

[0012] In order to further understand the instant disclosure, the following embodiments are provided along with illustrations to facilitate the appreciation of the instant disclosure; however, the appended drawings are merely provided for reference and illustration, without any intention to be used for limiting the scope of the instant disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1A is a flow chart of a method of manufacturing flexible printed circuit board in accordance with an embodiment of the instant disclosure;

[0014] FIG. 1B is a schematic diagram illustrating a chemical mechanism in a roughening step;

[0015] FIG. 1C is a flow chart of a roughening process; and

[0016] FIG. 2A to 2I are schematic diagrams showing a method of manufacturing flexible printed circuit board in accordance with an embodiment of the instant disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0017] The aforementioned illustrations and following detailed descriptions are exemplary for the purpose of further explaining the scope of the instant disclosure. Other objectives and advantages related to the instant disclosure will be illustrated in the subsequent descriptions and appended drawings.

First Embodiment

[0018] Please refer to FIG. 1A which shows a flow chart of a method of manufacturing flexible printed circuit board. The method includes the following steps. Please refer to FIG. 2A. First of all, a substrate 10 is provided (step S101). The substrate 10 has a surface 11 which is further defined as a top surface 111 and a bottom surface 112. The substrate 10 is a raw material selected from polyimide, polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene naphthalate, polytetrafluorethylene, thermotropic liquid crystal polymer, epoxy, aramid or the like. Please refer to FIG. 2B. The substrate 10 is cut by laser beams to form a channel 12 which completely goes through the substrate 10. The formation of the channel 12 allows the connection between the top surface 111 and the bottom surface 112 via a continuous wall 113. The substrate 10 is then plasma cleaned to remove the residues produced by laser cutting.

[0019] Please refer to FIGS. 2C and 2D. The surface 11 of the substrate 10 is catalyzed by a catalyst to form a catalytic layer 20 (step S103). Specifically, the catalytic layer 20 covers the top surface 111, bottom surface 112 and continuous wall 113. Furthermore, the catalytic layer 20 may be partially mixed or doped into the top surface 11, bottom surface 112 and continuous wall 113. Preferably, the catalyst contains palladium. Subsequently, a conductive layer 30 is formed and attached on the catalytic layer 20. In the presence of the catalytic layer 20, the conductive layer 30 is attached to the surface 11 of the substrate 10 (step 105). The channel 12 may be omitted for different designing purposes. Preferably, the thickness of the conductive layer 30 ranges from 50 to 200 nanometers. The material of the conductive layer 30 is selected from the group consisting of copper, nickel, chromium, cobalt, nickel alloy and cobalt alloy. Moreover, the conductive layer 30 undergoes non-electrolysis electroplating to attach onto the substrate 10, and therefore the conductive layer 30 itself is a non-electrolysis electroplating layer.

[0020] Please refer to 2E. A metal layer 40 is electroplated on the surface of the conductive layer 30 to form a printed circuit board precursor P (step S107). The thickness of the metal layer 40 may vary according to different designs. Preferably, the metal layer 40 should have a thickness ranges from 1 .mu.m to 18 .mu.m. Specifically, the metal layer 40 coats the substrate 10 where the conductive layer 30 covers.

[0021] Please refer to FIG. 2F. An anti-electroplating photoresistor 50 is applied on the metal layer 40 (step S109). The types of the photoresistor 50 may vary according to design requirement. For example, the photoresistor 50 may be a positive photoresistor or a negative photoresistor. Specifically, the photoresistor 50 may be secured on the metal layer 40 by adhesive. Followed by FIG. 2G, the photoresistor 50 is exposed and visualized according to a printed circuit board pattern. Then, portions of the photoresistor 50 are removed while some (50', 50'') remain and the metal layer 40 is revealed (step S111). As shown in FIG. 2G, the area which is topped by the remaining photoresistor 50', 50'' is defined as a shielded area A. The area in between the shielded areas A which is not covered by any of the photoresistor 50', 50'' is defined as an unshielded area B. The catalytic layer 20 located in the unshielded area B is designated as catalytic layer 20' for clarity in description. The conductive layer 30 located in the unshielded area B is designated as conductive layer 30'. The metal layer 40 which is exposed is designated as metal layer 40'. The elements underneath the photoresistor 50, 50'' are catalytic layer 20, conductive layer 30 and metal layer 40 as previously described.

[0022] Please refer to FIGS. 2G and 2H. The exposed metal layer 40', conductive layer 30' and catalytic layer 20' are removed by etching (step S113). The metal layer 40, conductive layer 30 and the catalytic layer 20 underneath the photoresistor 50', 50'' remain. Subsequently, the remaining photoresistor 50', 50'' are removed (step S115). Following that, the final product of the flexible printed circuit board is complete as shown in FIG. 2I. The catalytic layer 20 and the conductive layer 30 are thinner compared to the conventional thickness thereof. The method also allows an easier process in electroplating the metal layer 40, and the thickness of the metal layer 40 can be easily controlled. Therefore, the flexible printed circuit board produced according to the abovementioned process may be customized for specific needs and its field of implementation is broadened.

[0023] In another embodiment, polyimide (PI), palladium (Pd) and nickel (Ni) are respectively used for substrate 10, catalytic layer 20 and conductive layer 30. Please refer to FIGS. 1B and 1C. Step S103 further includes a roughening step which is used to increase the surface 11 affinity to palladium. Furthermore, the combination of palladium and nickel forms the conductive layer 30. Palladium acts as a foundation for nickel attachment on the substrate 10. That is to say the nickel of conductive layer 30 and the palladium of the catalytic layer 20 may form a palladium and nickel alloy.

[0024] Please refer to FIGS. 1B, 1C and 2C. The palladium affinity is increased by further processing over the substrate 10 and it includes the following steps. The substrate 10 is firstly degreased (step S201), pH altered (step S203), roughened (step S205), and catalyzed (step S207). The catalyst are then activated (step 209). In the step of roughening the substrate 10, it includes chemical or physical approach. Chemical roughening employs chemical agents to attack the surface 11 of the substrate 10 or cleave molecular rings. Physical roughening employs mechanical forces to make the surface 11 of the substrate 10 rough. Once the substrate 10 undergoes the roughening step, its capability of retaining palladium catalyst. When molecular rings are nicked, the molecular structure of the substrate 10 is no longer even which facilitates the accommodation of palladium catalysts. Specifically, in the instant embodiment, polyimide rings are cleaved to accept palladium catalyst. In other words, after the treatment with chemical agents, palladium catalysts are more easily attached to the substrate 10 to form the catalytic layer 20.

[0025] More specifically, chemical roughening which includes molecular ring cleavage is shown in FIG. 1B. In more detail, basic agent breaks any single-bond C--N of diacetylimide to cause a nick in the ring. In addition, palladium catalysts are used to bridge the connection between nickel and polyimide. It is worth noted that it is a non-electrolysis electroplating.

[0026] Please refer to FIG. 1C in conjunction with FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C. A preferable roughening step is elaborated herein.

[0027] In step S201 the substrate 10 is washed for 1 to 3 minutes to remove any grease. The degreasing step is conducted under 45 to 55 Celsius degrees, pH 10 to 11 by amino alcohol agent (H2NCH2CH2CH2OH, agent code: ES-100).

[0028] In step S203, the substrate 10 is washed for 1 to 3 minutes to recover its normal pH value and remove any remaining ES-100. The pH altering process is conducted under 35 to 45 Celsius degrees, pH 7.5 to 8.5 in weak base, for example, sodium carbonate (agent code: ES-FE). However, this step may be omitted according to actual pH condition.

[0029] In step S205, the substrate 10 undergoes property changing to basic for 1 to 3 minutes. One of the C--N single bond of polyimide (O.dbd.C--N--C.dbd.O) is cleaved to cause a nick on the ring. The chemical roughening is conducted under 45 to 55 Celsius degrees, pH 11 to 12 in inorganic strong base, for example, potassium hydroxide (agent code: ES-200).

[0030] In step S207, catalysts are attached to the substrate 10 to form the catalytic layer 20. Specifically, palladium catalyst chemically bonds to O.dbd.C--O.sup.- which is generated after the polyimide is cleaved. (ES-300 and H.sub.2SO.sub.4.Pd.sub.4 are used as agent. The final pH value should range from 5.5 to 6.5. The operation temperature falls between 45 to 55 Celsius degrees, and the duration is approximately 1 to 4 minutes.)

[0031] In the step S209, a metal is attached to the catalytic layer 20 to form the conductive layer 30 on the surface 11 of the substrate 10. ES-400, which consists essentially of boron, activates the palladium catalyst (pH 6 to 8, temperature 30 to 40 Celsius degrees, 1 to 3 minutes). After the activation, palladium catalyst is prone to accept the metal (nickel). Following that, ES-500, which consists essentially of NiSO.sub.4.6H.sub.2O and NaH.sub.2PO.sub.2, is also used to treat the catalyst (pH 8 to 9, temperature 35 to 45, 3 to 5 minutes). Nickel can then be easily attached to the surface 11 of the substrate 10 in the presence of palladium as an intermediate. The thickness of the nickel layer (i.e., conductive layer) ranges from 50 to 200 nanometers (nm) After treated by ES-500, the deposited nickel, which is produced by non-electrolysis electroplating, has low concentration of phosphorus (2.about.3%). Therefore the conductive layer 30 is less strained, and the deposition speed is approximately 100 nm every 5 minutes. The deposition speed is faster than the conventional method, and therefore the method is more time efficient.

[0032] It is also worth noting the catalytic layer 20, conductive layer 30 or top surface 111, bottom surface 112 and continuous wall 113 are clearly layered in the diagrams. However, this representation is only for illustration purpose, and the surface 11, conductive layer 30 and catalytic layer 20 may slightly merge together between the boundaries. That is to say a mixed layer (not show) is in between each layer shown in the diagram, and the attachment therebetween is therefore stronger.

[0033] Please refer to FIG. 2I. Accordingly, a flexible printed circuit board is produced. The flexible printed circuit board includes at least one layered unit (E1, E2). The layered units E1, E2 are disposed on the substrate 10. The layered units (E1, E2) include the catalytic layer 20, the conductive layer 30 and the metal layer 40. The catalytic layer 20 is disposed on the surface 11 of the substrate 10. The catalytic layer 20, conductive layer 30 and metal layer 40 are distributed over the top and bottom surfaces 111, 112 of the substrate 10. In addition, the layered unit E1 can cover the continuous wall 113, and therefore the top and bottom surfaces 111, 112 are electrically connected.

Second Embodiment

[0034] Please refer to FIG. 1A. According to the first embodiment, a printed circuit board precursor can also be produced followed by step S101 to S107. Please also refer to FIGS. 2A to 2E. The instant disclosure provides a method of manufacturing printed circuit board precursor. In the step of catalytic layer formation, roughening process is also carried out. The materials of substrate 10, conductive layer 30 and metal layer 40 are similar to the first embodiment. However, it is worth mentioning the conductive layer 30 is formed by nickel which is relatively prone to oxidization. The material of metal layer 40 is preferably copper or other metal having even lower oxidation potential. In addition to good conductivity, lower oxidation potential protects the conductive layer 30 from oxidation by air or moisture. In other words, the printed circuit board precursor can be better preserved.

[0035] Please refer to FIG. 2E. The instant disclosure also provides a printed circuit board precursor. The precursor includes the substrate 10, the catalytic layer 20 formed on the surface 11, the conductive layer 30 and the metal layer 40. The surface 11 of the substrate 10 is catalyzed to form the catalytic layer 20. The conductive layer 30 is attached to the catalytic layer 20 and covers the catalytic surface. The metal layer 40 completely coats the conductive layer 30. In the presence of the channel 12, the metal layer 40 goes through the continuous wall 113 and fills the channel 12.

[0036] In summary, the instant disclosure differs from the conventional flexible printed circuit board because of the catalytic layer which contains palladium. The method helps to reduce the overall thickness, simplify the manufacturing process, increase yield rate, reduce cost and provide the freedom in material range.

[0037] The descriptions illustrated supra set forth simply the preferred embodiments of the instant disclosure; however, the characteristics of the instant disclosure are by no means restricted thereto. All changes, alternations, or modifications conveniently considered by those skilled in the art are deemed to be encompassed within the scope of the instant disclosure delineated by the following claims.

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