Low-power laser manufacturing of copper tracks on 3D printed geometry using liquid polyimide coating

Mansour Abdulrhman, Adarsh Kaniyoor, Carmen María Fernández-Posada, Pablo Acosta-Mora, Ian McLean, Nick Weston, Marc P. Y. Desmulliez, Jose Marques-Hueso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Silver nanoparticle photoreduction synthesis by direct laser writing is a process that enables copper micro-track production on very specific polymers. However, some important 3D printing polymers, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and acrylates, do not accept this treatment on their surface. This work presents an approach to produce copper microcircuitry on 3D substrates from these materials by using direct laser writing at low power (32 mW CW diode laser). We show that by coating a thin layer of polyimide (PI) on a 3D-printed geometry, followed by a sequence of chemical treatments and low-power laser-induced photoreduction, copper tracks can be produced using silver as catalyst. The surface chemistry of the layer through the different stages of the process is monitored by FTIR and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The copper tracks are selectively grown on the laser-patterned areas by electroless copper deposition, with conductivity (1.2 ± 0.7) x 107 S/m and a width as small as 28 µm. The patterns can be written on 3D structures and even inside cavities. The technique is demonstrated by integrating different circuits, including a LED circuit on 3D printed photopolymer acrylate and a perovskite solar cell on an ABS 3D curved geometry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2280-2287
Number of pages8
JournalNanoscale Advances
Issue number8
Early online date18 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2023


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