Electroless, or autocatalytic, metal plating is a nonelectrolytic method of deposition from solution that can be plated uniformly over all surfaces, regardless of size and shape. The plating's ability to plate onto nonconductors is an advantage that contributes to the choice of electroless copper in various applications. This article provides information on the bath chemistry and deposit properties of electroless copper and discusses the applications of electroless copper plating, such as printed wiring boards, decorative plating-on-plastic, electromagnetic interference shielding, and hybrid and other advanced applications. It describes two commercial processes, pretreatment and post-treatment. The article reviews the solutions used, controls and control equipment, and performance criteria of electroless copper plating. It concludes with information on the environmental and safety issues associated with electroless copper plating.
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