Photo Etched Electrical Contacts

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Photo etched electrical contacts are integral parts of a wide range of electronic devices, like laptops and smartphones. Because these parts are often microscopic, photo etching is the only manufacturing process capable of producing them with accuracy and precision.


Notice how small these parts are — many no bigger than a penny and some as small as pencil points. (Photo: Courtesy of Orbel)

Engineers choose photo etching for a number of reasons:

1. Etching produces burr-free parts.

2. Punching, stamping and laser cutting can cause deformation, while photo etching does not.

3. Photo etching is extremely versatile and makes it possible to replicate even the most complex designs easily. (For proof, see the image above!)

4. Photo etching works with a wide range of metals, including brass and copper.

5. Photo etching can be done with metal sheets as small as 10 microns thick, all the way up to sheets that are 2 millimeters thick.

How does Photo Etching Work?

In the photo etching process, a polymer laminate is applied to a sheet of metal. Then, the metal is exposed to UV light, which burns a design onto the laminate. Acid is used to cut around the design, creating the part. For a better understanding of this process, check out this informative video:

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