SMTA International Conference Proceedings

Plasma Polymerization: A Versatile and Attractive Process For Conformal Coating

Authors: Andy Brooks, Siobhan Woollard, Gareth Hennighan, and Tim von Werne, Ph.D.
Company: Semblant Limited
Date Published: 10/14/2012   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: Conformal coatings are designed to protect electronic assemblies and products from damage caused by exposure to the environment and to extend the working life and reliability of the device. These coatings are specially formulated lacquers and are applied by brushing, spraying, dipping or selective coating in a time consuming and expensive process that often requires deposition of multiple materials and masking of areas where coating is not allowed. The lack of a simple, inexpensive and effective method of conformally coating electronics has prevented many manufacturers from implementing any protection for their products.

A new class of conformal coat has been developed using a low power plasma chamber and depositing an ultra-thin polymer coating. The types of materials that can be deposited using this method range from acrylics to silicones and fluoropolymers. Plasma deposition is a simple, one step process that can be used to apply a thin, uniform film as a true conformal coating which requires no curing or the use of any solvents. In some cases this can also remove the requirement for masking contacts and connectors, eliminating a labour and time intensive step from the conformal coating process.

This paper will discuss the plasma coating process and the equipment used. The application of this type of coating to electronic assemblies and high frequency RF applications and the results of tests to demonstrate the protection offered by these coatings will also be presented.

Key Words: 

Conformal coating, plasma coating

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