Ethanol-Based Solution and the Formation of Nano-structured Silver Coating on Copper

Orthodox techniques used to deposit nano-scale silver particles on copper with immersion plating has involved cyanide-based baths. In a study combining work at the Institute for Materials Research in Fuzhou University, China and the Materials Research Center at University of Missouri-Rolla, non-toxic ethanol was used as the plating solution with positive results.

Zheliang Wei, Dian Tang, and Thomas O’Keefe employed a field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscope (EDS), and an atomic force microscope (AFM) to characterize the silver deposits. They found increasing surface coverage over time: after 3 seconds, 40% coverage, and after 10 seconds the copper surface was completely coated, having increased the diameter to 10-15nm. Once entirely covered, a dense and smooth silver coating was achieved, all while omitting cyanide from the process.

The original article can be found online at ScienceDirect.