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XTRONIC®: Enabler of Improved Performance with Reduced Precious Metal Usage in Microelectronics
Keywords: Precious Metals, Nanocyrstalline, Nickel Alloy
XTRONIC®, a tailored nanocrystalline nickel alloy, has been qualified as a new metal barrier layer replacing traditional pure nickel in traditional hard and soft gold applications. XTRONIC is produced using a proprietary combination of electroplating chemistry and a pulse-reverse applied current waveform that enables dynamic control of the deposited material's composition, grain size and grain boundary structure. The resulting deposit has been shown to provide superior performance in a variety of areas that are critical to microelectronics. These performance metrics include resistance to corrosive environments, wear durability, and wire bonding, etc. Interestingly, solder reflow simulations have revealed that the hardness of the deposit actually increases with successive reflows and unlike pure nickel the electrical sheet resistance does not change. This novel behavior provides enhanced wear resistance and longevity which, along with the aforementioned environmental exposure performance increases, enables a reduction of precious metal use in many electronics applications while offering equivalent or improved overall performance. Currently in high volume production on high-speed backplane connectors, XTRONIC BL is saving our customers up to 70% in precious metal costs. Most recently XTRONIC PC, chemistry tailored to printed circuit board applications, has been qualified for use on the tabs of dual in-line memory module (DIMM) and flash memory card (FMC) applications, where similar cost savings are expected.
Donald Baskin, Project Manager
Xtalic Corporation
Marlborough, MA

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