Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop an optimised sonochemical surface modification process which could be operated at low temperature and which uses non‐hazardous chemistry with short treatment times. A range of sonochemical parameters such as ultrasonic intensity/power and process temperature were investigated. Design/methodology/approach – A 20 kHz ultrasonic probe was used as the ultrasonic source. Ultrasound was applied through deionised water (DI) to sonochemically surface modify a high Tg epoxy laminate material (Isola 370 HR). The efficiency of the sonochemical surface modification process was determined by weight loss, roughness, adhesion and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Findings – This study has confirmed that ultrasound has the ability to surface modify a high Tg epoxy substrate material (Isola 370 HR). Weight loss and roughness values were increased by using an optimised ultrasonic process compared to control samples which were processed under “silent” conditions. Adhesion testing showed an improvement in the adhesion level between the surface and the subsequently electroless plated copper. Originality/value – Surface modification of high Tg materials generally utilizes wet chemical methods. These processes involve using hazardous chemicals, high temperatures, require high volumes of water for rinsing and need relatively long immersion times. This research has shown that by optimising ultrasonic parameters, surface modification can be brought about in deionised water (DI) at low temperature.
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- Surface treatment
- Electroless copper plating
- Surface modification
- PCB desmear