Surface Technology for Optical and Electrical Connectors

Abstract: This thesis treats surface engineering with the purpose of improved quality of optical and electricalconnectors with a focus on electroplated and magnetron sputtered materials. In electroforming of tools formanufacturing optical connectors, the influence of ultrasonic agitation on intrinsic stresses and fillingproperties of electroplated Ni has been studied. It is established that the ultrasonic agitation at the substratesurface during deposition impacts the intrinsic stresses making it possible to increase deposition rate viacurrent density, with stress-free or low-stress levels in the Ni layers. Reduced variations of the intrinsicstress over the surface with the current density is a further important result. Filling of grooves byelectroplating of Ni using ultrasonic agitation is demonstrated. This is due to increasing mass transport ofspecies into the grooves compared to conventional pumped agitation. The enhanced filling propertiesmakes it possible to electroplate Ni in the bottom of high-aspect-ratio grooves. In order to industriallyimplement new nanocomposite coatings on electronic connectors, studies have been performed regardingthe thermal diffusion barrier properties against Cu for Ti-Si-C and Ti-Si-C-Ag nanocomposites, depositeddirectly onto Cu substrates or with sputtered Ni, Ti or electroplated Ni as an intermediate coating. Theapplication of an electroplated Ni diffusion barrier coating, hinders Cu from reaching the surface of thenanocomposites. Also, Ti-Si-C-Ag nanocomposite deposited on magnetron sputtered Ni or Ti on Cusubstrates hinder Cu from diffusing to the surface after annealing. The contact resistance of Ag-Pdtopcoated Ti-Si-C-Ag-Pd and Ti-Si-C-Ag nanocomposite coatings in contact with hard gold is shown tocompete with hard gold in contact with itself, as electrical contact coatings at contact forces around 5 N.Ag-Pd topcoated Ti-Si-C-Ag-Pd in contact with hard gold is shown to have approximately the same contactresistance as hard gold in contact with hard gold at contact forces around 0.1 N, which here is in the 10 mΩrange, while Ti-Si-C-Ag nanocomposite coatings in contact with hard gold has a contact resistance that isup to 10 times higher. The overall contribution of this thesis can be summarised as a deeper knowledge andunderstanding of techniques and coatings, that help reduce cost and increase reliability of electronics.