Electroforming is a process for building up metallic precision and micro components

Electroforming is playing an increasingly important role in the manufacture of microstructured metal foils and components as well as stamping tools for plastic molding. When it comes to the production of precise hole geometries in foils for filtration, atomization or separation; optical apertures with precise aperture geometry; stencils for screen printing; or molding tools for the impression of plastic foils and components, electroforming is at the center of the process chain.

The starting point of this process chain is a structured photo-resist template on a metallized glass or silicon substrate, which is produced using photolithographic processes. In the electroplating bath, the metal is then built up atom by atom in the areas not covered by the photoresist. The preferred metal is nickel, due to its advantageous mechanical and physical properties and easily controllable electrodeposition.

Advantages at a glance

  • Additive process with high material purity
  • Variety of shapes and dimensions
  • 2.5D structures possible
  • High precision down to the nanometer range
  • High aspect ratios (height/width)
  • Micro-nano surface structuring
  • Burr-free products

Directional specifications

Size

  • Glass carrier:  up to 500 mm x 600 mm
  • Wafer carrier: up to 200 mm diameter

Trumpet profile

Density (+/-5%):
Standard                              5 – 100 µm
After consultation             200 µm

Width :
Standard                            ≥ 1 µm
After consultation         0,5 µm

Height-to-width ratio:
                                           up to 10

Cylinder

Density(+/-5%):
Standard                                             5 – 100 µm
After consultation                            200 µm

Width : :
Lithography with dry varnish      ≥ 10 µm
Lithography with liquid varnish         ≥  1,5 µm

Standard                                              up to 3 
After consultation                           up to 5

Two-step profile

Density (+/-5%):
Layer 1                                  1 – 10 µm
Layer 2                                  10 – 100 µm
After consultation                 200 µm

Width :
Standard                                  ≥ 1 µm
After consultation                 0,5 µm

Height-to-width ratio :
                                                   up to 50

Materials

Coating

  •  Hard nickel:
        – Hardness of about 680 HV
        – Both sides shiny
  •   Soft nickel:
        – Hardness of approximately 200 HV
        – Shiny front and matte back
  • Gold (also for biocompatibility)
  • Black nickel
  • Black chrome

Applications

  • Molding dies (with structures from 10 nm – 1 mm)
  • Coding disks
  • Contact probes
  • Optical apertures
  • Precision components
  • Stencils
  • Shadow masks
  • Siebe für Sieves for filtration in the cleantech and food industries
  • Atomizer nozzles
  • Pinholes
  • Deposition masks  
  • Filters
  • Micro gears
  • Micro/nano nozzles
  • Optical masks