Surface technology and corrosion protection

Protective coatings for electronic assemblies - for absolute operational reliability

An ever-increasing number of electronic assemblies must function with long-term stability, even under extreme operating conditions. In the automotive and aerospace industries, for example, it is essential that safety-relevant electronic components reliably maintain their function - even under difficult conditions such as rapidly changing temperatures, increased humidity, and in some cases chemically aggressive media. Fraunhofer IFAM has a wide range of experience in the field of corrosion protection of electronic assemblies and is therefore the ideal contact for questions concerning the pretreatment and protective coating of these components.


Take into account the operating conditions of the electronic module

Even under difficult environmental conditions, the operational reliability of electronic components must be guaranteed. This sometimes requires complex processes, including, for example, multi-stage cleaning processes, activation and protective coatings, or even potting of the entire assembly with a polymer protective coating.

To select a suitable protective coating, our experts take into account the material combination of the assembly as well as the operating conditions under which it is to function reliably. Thus, we find the ideal coating for the respective application and can derive the optimal application process for the protective coating.


Cleaning: Surface of the assembly must be free of residues

An essential precondition for the reliable effect of the protective coating is good adhesion of the protective coating or potting compound to the surface of the assembly, which will also withstand subsequent conditions of use. To achieve the goal of sufficient adhesion here, the substrate surface must be free of residues that could prevent chemical bonding of the protective coating (such as flux residues from the soldering process or other impurities from assembly production).

Depending on the condition of the electronic assembly after the manufacturing process, a multi-stage wet-chemical cleaning process consisting of active baths and subsequent rinsing baths may be necessary to ensure the corresponding component cleanliness.


Remedial measures in the case of damage

Even if damage has already occurred to electronic components, our employees are happy to help clarify the cause of the damage with the aid of analyses. This allows remedial measures to be developed and future damage to be prevented.

The Surface and Nanostructure Analysis group, headed by Dr. Thorsten Fladung, is concerned with the chemical and topographical characterization of interfaces. With the help of surface-sensitive analysis techniques, interface-based phenomena such as adhesion and corrosion can be investigated in detail and the corresponding material properties can be specifically optimized on this basis.