Leading smear removal, electroless copper


and direct plating process solutions

Our product portfolio

Desmear and metallization

Integrated wet chemical process and equipment solutions for package substrates and printed circuit boards (HDI/MLB and Flex/Flex-Rigid)

Quick facts

  • Global market leader for horizontal high end HDI manufacturing
  • Worldwide market reference for desmear processes in all market segments
  • Over 100 vertical and 230 horizontal lines are running in mass production with our electroless copper processes


  • Horizontal electroless copper
  • Vertical electroless copper
  • Pre-treatment & Activation
  • Desmear
  • Direct plating
  • Metallization of transparent substrates

Product portfolio

Horizontal electroless copper

Very good coverage and throwing power despite challenging geometry of the BMV

  • Printoganth® U Plus is ideally suited for the production of high layer count PCBs utilizing multiple inner layers and advanced HDI any-layer, or ELIC technologies. As the market leading high reliability electroless Copper process Printoganth® U Plus produces excellent copper to copper interconnections resulting in the best reliability performance even under severe thermal shock conditions. With over 80 installations, and an installed capacity in excess of 25 million m²/year Printoganth® U Plus has an unrivalled customer base within leading global HDI PCB manufacturers.
  • Printoganth® T1 meets the needs of advanced HDI applications using amSAP production technologies. Offering exceptional throwing power and coverage of challenging blind microvias, in combination with optimized Copper thickness uniformity, Printoganth® T1 enables sub 30µm features when used with pattern plating electrolytes. Compatible with a wide range of dielectric materials, including BT and PI, and with an optimized internal stress level, Printoganth® T1 exhibits best in class Copper adhesion making it the ideal electroless Copper process for next generation mobile device PCBs.
  • Printoganth® P Plus: Printoganth® P Plus offers very good adhesion and no blistering even on the smoothest substrates due to its controlled internal stress characteristics. It is therefore the best choice for Flex / Flex-Rigid production and MLB / HDI manufacturing on demanding base materials such as PTFE or BT.
  • Printoganth® P2 is the latest update to the Printoganth P series and improves over the current Printoganth P Plus process with an increased throwing power and a wider compatibility to via fill electrolytes.

Vertical electroless copper
Printoganth MV TP1

Printoganth MV TP1

  • Printoganth® MV TP2 has been optimized to give high throwing power into blind micro vias, including the wedge, while its low deposition thickness enables fine lines and spaces of 10 μm and less. With a low bath initiation and dummy requirement, in combination with a viable stable analysis method for enhanced process control, makes Printoganth MV TP2 the only solution for high volume SAP applications, or manufacturers where the ability to switch between amSAP and full SAP is desirable.
  • Printoganth® MV TP1 is designed to provide the highest throwing power into blind micro vias and their wedges, enabling ultra-fine lines and spaces of 10/10 μm and below. Moreover, it enables excellent dry film adhesion and fast etching of the copper deposit. It is therefore perfectly suited to fulfill future IC substrate manufacturer’s demands utilizing the SAP technology. Additional auxiliary systems for automatic process control ensure constant, reliable performance with maximum production safety.
  • Printoganth® PV: is a low to medium build process and enables blister-free copper deposition on a wide range of the most challenging base materials due to its unique internal stress characteristics. Combined with its outstanding reliability performance, Printoganth® PV is a highly versatile, mass production proven electroless copper process for advanced MLB, HDI as well as flex / flex-rigid applications.
  • Noviganth® LS Plus: is a mass production proven vertical electroless copper process that has been optimized as a robust and cost effective solution for low to medium technology vertical MLB / HDI customers. Combined with our dedicated vertical desmear processes, Noviganth® LS Plus offers maximum performance at minimized cost.
  • Noviganth® AF 76: is the latest edition of the Noviganth series and combines a low Pd bearing activator system in combination with a high build, “self-accelerated” electroless Copper bath. Its production is proven in the USA on rigid, flex and flex-rigid PCBs.
  • Pallaganth® and Noviganth® BV: Pallaganth® BV is a Pd/Sn based activation system meeting the demands of todays high volume PCB production.When used in combination with the Noviganth® BV electroless Copper bath, they offer a stable and robust low build vertical electroless Copper process solution for high reliability applications


Pre-treatment & Activation

Standard Activation

Neoganth® E Activator System

  • The Neoganth® E activator system has been specifically designed to operate at a minimal Pd content with excellent coverage performance. Achieving a high activator bath stability dramatically reduces Pd precipitation and sludge formation, ensuring that Pd loss is kept to a minimum, but more importantly, the Pd remains in solution where it needs to be to ensure excellent dielectric and glass coverage. Suitable for all horizontal applications where cost control is critical, the Neoganth® E Activator system is ideally suited for low and high volume PCB production

Direct plating

Propagation test for Viaking

  • ViaKing® is a cost effective, enhanced graphite metallization process ideally suited for flex, flex rigid and multilayer PCBs using exotic or mixed dielectric materials. Designed to accommodate a low etch rate, in combination with a graphite step that can operate at a higher temperature and pH, ViaKing® provides excellent stability, conductivity and electrical integrity for market leading high yield electrolytic plating.
  • Ecopact® CP is a well-established conductive polymer based direct metallization process that is suitable for both vertical and horizontal application. It is environmental friendly because of low consumption and waste water generation and no use of harmful substances like cyanide or formaldehyde. Thus, Ecopact® CP is often considered as the “green” alternative to electroless copper processes for HDI, MLB and Flex-Rigid production.
  • Neopact®: Neopact® is an organic-stabilized and palladium based technology. It has an unparalleled ability to adhere to almost any type of base material. Even on Teflon, Neopact® achieves excellent plating results. This makes it the ideal choice for HDI, MLB and flex applications with “exotic” laminates. The easy to handle process is based on environmental friendly chemistry making Neopact® a future oriented alternative to the classical electroless copper process. It is applicable in horizontal and vertical mode.

direct plating desmear

Ajinomoto bare laminate: Prior and after desmear (magn. 1000x)

  • Atotech’s advanced desmear process series Securiganth® MV enables outstanding cleaning and roughening performance, and provides the industry standard desmear process for bare laminates utilized in high-end IC Substrates based on Semi-Additive Process (SAP) technologies.
  • Securiganth® E is perfectly suited for horizontal desmear for HDI, MLB and Flex-Rigid production and positions Atotech as the leading supplier of horizontal desmear-systems (chemistry and equipment) for state of the art HDI production.
  • Oxamat: Atotech’s production proven regeneration system Oxamat significantly reduces the sludge of manganate dioxide (MnO2) that is formed during the desmear process. The Oxamat system regenerates manganate to permanganate, thereby preventing the accumulation of sludge and related additional chemical dosing. Additionally, the Oxamat cuts maintenance time in half as less extensive cleaning cycles and make-ups are needed.
Metallization of transparent substrates
TeloTech TS Black

Top: Copper feature as received, bottom: Copper feature blackened by TeloTech® TS Black

  • CupraTech® TS and TeloTech® TS Black – Metallization of Touch Sensors based on Copper Mesh: ITO (Indium-Tin-Oxide) based transparent conductive films are the state of the art technology that is applied in most touch sensors manufactured worldwide. Recently, several competing technologies emerge to enable flexible and large size touch sensors – not possible with the ITO based technology. Atotech is providing chemical solutions for one of the most promising technologies based on copper mesh as conductive layer. CupraTech® TS is enabling electroless copper deposition on seed different seed layer whereas TeloTech TS Black is minimizing the visual perception of conductor tracks on substrates.
  • CupraTech® FPD – Metallization of Flat Panel Displays: The contemporary metallization technique for the thin-film-transistor (TFT) in liquid-crystal-displays (LCD) is classical copper sputtering. Atotech offers solutions to replace copper sputtering by electroless copper deposition and therefore overcome several disadvantages of copper sputtering like the stress transfer of the sputtered copper to the glass substrate resulting in high warpage and the risk of glass breakage. In addition, electroless copper is capable of plating thick copper layers that might become a requirement for the next generations of flat panel displays in order to ensure sufficient conductivity of the copper structures. CupraTech® FPD is a high speed electroless copper process enabling excellent surface distribution and low surface roughness performance – both key requirements for this application. Atotech supplies not only chemistry but also high-tech horizontal conveyorized equipment adapted to the requirements of the flat panel display industry especially to the transportation of thin and large size glass panels. Using our dedicated VisioPlate equipment enables FPD manufacturers to achieve the best possible technical performance while mitigating the environmental impact.
  • CupraTech® GI M – Metallization of Glass: In order to meet the growing interest for the integration of glass cores into advanced PCB designs, and specifically designed for use with Atotechs unique Vitrocoat® GI process, the CupraTech® GI M Electroless Copper process is ideal for deposition of metallization layers directly onto glass substrates. As a wet chemical replacement for costly and limiting vacuum deposited seed layers, the CupraTech® GI M process enables high aspect ratio through holes in glass substrates as well as uniform surface copper deposits which allows for current fine line feature formation.


Superior graphite based direct metallization product

ViaKing® our superior graphite based direct metallization process that has been designed specifically as a short horizontal process solution for flex, flex-rigid, multilayer and HDI printed circuit board manufacturing.

Uniplate® P/LB

Cutting edge mass production equipment for desmear and electroless copper process in horizontal transportation mode

The Uniplate® P/LB system is the market leading production equipment for high-end HDI as well as IC substrates manufacturing.

  • Uniplate® P – reliable and stable desmear performance of through holes and BMVs with the same process conditions for each treated panel
  • Uniplate® LB – uniform electroless copper deposition and excellent throwing power performance due to the unique flooding device systems for optimized solution exchange

Read more

“Atotech’s core competence is making dielectric surfaces conductive. As the inventor and market leader of horizontal electroless Copper processes, we know best how to develop and fine-tune our products to fulfill the highest requirements of our existing and potential customers.”

Frank Brüning
Global Product Director Desmear and Metallization at Atotech Germany

Recent publications

A Robust Palladium-Free Activation Process for Electroless Copper Plating

A new activation process for electroless copper plating has been developed, which does not require the use of a palladium-based activation bath as typically employed in the plating industry. The activation bath of the new process described herein is entirely free of palladium and is based on colloidal metallic copper particles, which are nanoscopic in size. This bath can also be readily analysed and controlled. The new copper-based activation bath can be operated in such a way that colloid agglomeration and colloid oxidation are efficiently and effectively suppressed, while electroless copper plating quality and electroless copper bath stability is maintained. In addition, the new activation bath can be operated for several weeks without any detectable deterioration in electroless copper plating performance. 
Presented at IMPACT-IAAC 2019.

2019, PDF, 478 KB

Developments in Electroless Copper Processes to Improve Performance in amSAP Mobile Applications

This paper discusses the performance of an electroless Copper plating process that has been developed to satisfy the needs of challenging amSAP applications. Through the use of a radical predip chemistry, the formation, build up and deposition of uncontrolled Pd residues arising from activator contamination has been virtually eradicated. With the adoption of a high throwing power Copper bath, sub 30um features are enabled and microvia coverage is shown to be greatly improved, even in complex via shapes which would otherwise suffer from uneven coverage and risk premature failure in service.
Through a mixture of development and production data, this paper aims to highlight the benefits and robust performance of the new electroless Copper process for amSAP applications.
Presented at IPC APEX 2019.

2019, PDF, 1,000 KB

Investigation of a proactive glass filler removal in IC substrate build up films and its effect on topography and copper adhesion reliability

In order to achieve interconnections at extremely small scale, the latest build up laminates contain increasing amounts of spherical glass fillers, which are needed to compensate the CTE mismatch between the epoxy based resin matrix and the electroplated copper circuits. Desmear of the resin surface during industrial processing exposes these glass fillers and weakens their anchoring in the surrounding resin matrix, which decreases adhesion strength of the plated copper. This paper describes a newly developed cleaner process for the removal of glass fillers in industrially important build-up materials. Its effects on cleanliness and copper to resin adhesion is described in detail and illustrated by SEM imaging. Finally we propose a mechanism, explaining the adhesion increase as compared to standard processing and fluoride etch treatment.
Presented at iMAPS Pasadena 2018.

2018, PDF, 1,000 KB

Novel formaldehyde-free electroless copper for plating on next-generation substrates

This paper describes a new formaldehyde-free electroless copper electrolyte that can be used for a broad set of applications and materials, especially for the processing of next-generation substrates. Process performance is evaluated in detail and benchmarked against existing formaldehyde-based references. A characterization of the obtained metal films is carried out through a number of analytical techniques and, adhesion and non-blister performance is described. Studies concerning chemical bath stability, throwing power and electrical reliability are reviewed and confirm that the proposed solution represent a suitable technology to replace formaldehyde in existing printed circuit board (PCB) production without a loss of process performance and thus provides a sustainable “green” alternative to the industry.
Presented at iMAPS Pasadena 2018.

2018, PDF, 750 KB

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