Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Scientists develop revolutionary nanotechnology copper solder
Phys.Org ^ | October 25, 2012 | Provided by Lockheed Martin

Posted on 10/25/2012 8:38:34 AM PDT by Red Badger

Scientists in the Advanced Materials and Nanosystems directorate at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto have developed a revolutionary nanotechnology copper-based electrical interconnect material, or solder, that can be processed around 200 °C. Once fully optimized, the CuantumFuse solder material is expected to produce joints with up to 10 times the electrical and thermal conductivity compared to tin-based materials currently in use. Applications in military and commercial systems are currently under consideration.

"We are enormously excited about our CuantumFuse breakthrough, and are very pleased with the progress we're making to bring it to full maturity," said Dr. Kenneth Washington, vice president of the ATC. "We pride ourselves on providing innovations like CuantumFuse for space and defense applications, but in this case we are excited about the enormous potential of CuantumFuse in defense and commercial manufacturing applications." In the past, nearly all solders contained lead, but there is now an urgent need for lead-free solder because of a worldwide effort to phase out hazardous materials in electronics. The European Union implemented lead-free solder in 2006. The State of California did so on January 1, 2007, followed soon thereafter by New Jersey and New York City. The principal lead-free replacement – a combination of tin, silver and copper (Sn/Ag/Cu) – has proven acceptable to the consumer electronics industry that deals mostly with short product life cycles and relatively benign operating environments. However, multiple issues have arisen: high processing temperatures drive higher cost, the high tin content can lead to tin whiskers that can cause short circuits, and fractures are common in challenging environments, making it difficult to quantify reliability. These reliability concerns are particularly acute in systems for the military, aerospace, medical, oil and gas, and automotive industries. In such applications, long service life and robustness of components are critical, where vibration, shock, thermal cycling, humidity, and extreme temperature use can be common. "To address these concerns, we realized a fundamentally new approach was needed to solve the lead-free solder challenge," said Dr. Alfred Zinn, materials scientist at the ATC and inventor of CuantumFuse solder. "Rather than finding another multi-component alloy, our team devised a solution based on the well-known melting point depression of materials in nanoparticle form. Given this nanoscale phenomenon, we've produced a solder paste based on pure copper." A number of requirements were addressed in the development of the CuantumFuse solder paste including, but not limited to: 1) sufficiently small nanoparticle size, 2) a reasonable size distribution, 3) reaction scalability, 4) low cost synthesis, 5) oxidation and growth resistance at ambient conditions, and 6) robust particle fusion when subjected to elevated temperature. Copper was chosen because it is already used throughout the electronics industry as a trace, interconnect, and pad material, minimizing compatibility issues. It is cheap (1/4th the cost of tin; 1/100th the cost of silver, and 1/10,000th that of gold), abundant, and has 10 times the electrical and thermal conductivity compared to commercial tin-based solder. The ATC has demonstrated CuantumFuse with the assembly of a small test camera board. "These accomplishments are extremely exciting and promising, but we still have to solve a number of technical challenges before CuantumFuse will be ready for routine use in military and commercial applications," said Mike Beck, director of the Advanced Materials and Nanosystems group at the ATC. "Solving these challenges, such as improving bond strength, is the focus on the group's ongoing research and development."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Technical; Testing; US: California; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: electricity; electronics; technology

1 posted on 10/25/2012 8:38:34 AM PDT by Red Badger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ShadowAce

Tech Ping!...........


2 posted on 10/25/2012 8:39:44 AM PDT by Red Badger (Why yes, that was crude and uncalled for......That's why I said it..............)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I’d give it a try (I’m an electronic engineer), but I’d be concerned about being able to tell when you have cold solder joints. This is already a problem with existing lead-free solders.


3 posted on 10/25/2012 8:47:48 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (My game is disruption. I will use lethal force --my vote-- in self-defense against Obama.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

If only they would invent paragraph breaks.

Does the solder still use lead and rosin?

How soon can we get a spool of it at Radio Shack? If nothing else, with the lower melting temp, the odds of cooking a semi-conductor you’re soldering goes down even if the soldering iron is set for normal solder.


4 posted on 10/25/2012 8:51:57 AM PDT by Lx (Do you like it, do you like it. Scott? I call it Mr. and Mrs. Tennerman chili.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: backwoods-engineer
"Solving these challenges, such as improving bond strength, is the focus on the group's ongoing research and development."
5 posted on 10/25/2012 8:55:19 AM PDT by Red Badger (Why yes, that was crude and uncalled for......That's why I said it..............)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Lx
"Rather than finding another multi-component alloy, our team devised a solution based on the well-known melting point depression of materials in nanoparticle form. Given this nanoscale phenomenon, we've produced a solder paste based on pure copper."
6 posted on 10/25/2012 8:56:56 AM PDT by Red Badger (Why yes, that was crude and uncalled for......That's why I said it..............)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: backwoods-engineer

Visual and/or x-ray inspection?
(Lead free solder is the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, if you ask me)


7 posted on 10/25/2012 9:00:37 AM PDT by shorty_harris
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I’d be happy just with no more tin whiskers.


8 posted on 10/25/2012 9:00:50 AM PDT by battlecry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
California banned lead solder for Americans, but has no ban on new products manufactured in China using lead solder.

The whole problem is made up, anyway. Just use lead solder to avoid tin whiskers and electrical joints breaking under use. Everyone outside of California can do this legally.

9 posted on 10/25/2012 9:04:43 AM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
California banned lead solder for Americans, but has no ban on new products manufactured in China using lead solder.

The whole problem is made up, anyway. Just use lead solder to avoid tin whiskers and electrical joints breaking under use. Everyone outside of California can do this legally.

10 posted on 10/25/2012 9:05:10 AM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: battlecry

Me too!.........

11 posted on 10/25/2012 9:05:11 AM PDT by Red Badger (Why yes, that was crude and uncalled for......That's why I said it..............)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: shorty_harris
Lead free solder is the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, if you ask me

You have obviously never seen the results of a youngster chewing on the underside of Heath Kit shortwave Radio or even a Radio Shack P-Box AM Receiver.
12 posted on 10/25/2012 9:05:46 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Southack

I know. We don’t uses ‘lead free’ solder in our products............


13 posted on 10/25/2012 9:06:10 AM PDT by Red Badger (Why yes, that was crude and uncalled for......That's why I said it..............)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; stylin_geek; ...

14 posted on 10/25/2012 9:06:29 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Ms. Latella: "What's this I hear about copper soldiers? In my day we called them Military Policemen. Why do we ..."

Mr. Chase: "Emily ... "

Ms. Latella: "... continue to redefine ..."

Mr. Chase: "Emily ... "

Ms. Latella: "what?"

Mr. Chase: "that is solder, made out of the element copper, the metal. For soldering wires together and such."

Ms. Latella: "Oh! that's different. nevermind"

15 posted on 10/25/2012 9:08:19 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Why not eliminate the middle man and have whoever feeds Obama his lines debate Romney directly?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
I think the whole fight against lead in electronics is a fraud anyway. Circuit boards are routinely clear-coated after manufacture, so lead couldn't realistically go anywhere from simple ground water contact.

It's another case of the environazi's M.O.: Pick a substance, then invent an accompanying worst-case scenario where it might cause a problem, then fight for comprehensive regulation and prohibition without regard to the real world.

The only study I found on electronics and lead leaching into ground water relied on these assumptions : 1) Ground water contacting the electronics, 2) Sufficient water/soil acidity to leach lead from circuit boards, 3) Circuit boards not conformal-coated, which would prevent any leaching, 4) This ground water seeping into aquifers, and 5) Resultant lead levels high enough to be harmful.

Those are each significant assumptions. An actual problem would only result from all five being present, which I think would be very rare. Yet the entire country is regulated as though they are foregone conclusions.

16 posted on 10/25/2012 9:29:02 AM PDT by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lx

Hard for me to believe how the cost of solder has gone up. I just got to the end of a 1 lb. rosin flux core spool from Radio Shack — probably 15 years old. Now I see that a couple of small winds cost as much as that heavy spool did.


17 posted on 10/25/2012 9:40:18 AM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature not nurture TM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

What happens when you leave something soldered with this stuff in a hot car in the summertime?


18 posted on 10/25/2012 9:49:37 AM PDT by jim_trent
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

buy a copper mine, somewhere, anywhere


19 posted on 10/25/2012 9:51:43 AM PDT by Wuli
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Wuli
Paging Francisco D'Anconia....
20 posted on 10/25/2012 10:29:09 AM PDT by Myrddin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: jim_trent

Why would that be a problem?


21 posted on 10/25/2012 11:01:52 AM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature not nurture TM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: jim_trent

If it gets anywhere near 200 C in your car, you’ve got other problems, like an upholstery fire.


22 posted on 10/25/2012 1:07:24 PM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: shorty_harris
(Lead free solder is the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, if you ask me)

Exactly. The entire situation is ludicrous. If there's one thing more ridiculous than letting politicians make rules engineers are expected to cave and obey, it's allowing moronic Eurotrash politicians to dictate to American engineers. [facepalm]

23 posted on 10/28/2012 8:07:59 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson