There is an increasing demand today for
low-cost surface-mount electronic components. Indeed, surface mounting,
with its size and cost advantages, is becoming the main method of
circuit manufacture. But one important component, the electrolytic
capacitor, has proved difficult to produce in a surface-mount version.
The conventional production method requires a thick dielectric layer
and the use of manganese dioxide which is dangerous to the environment.
The main objective of this project was
the development of improved manufacturing techniques for the production
of organic surface-mount conductors. The new method requires only
a thin dielectric layer and with PEDT organic material there are
no metallic elements. New applications include a through-hole plating
process for printed circuit boards and an antistatic coating for
photographic films and plastics.
The largest obstacle to exploitation is
very strong market competition, say partners. Today, most capacitors
are produced in Asia and only a very small number of manufactures
exist in Europe. Asian manufactures set standards and prices and
Europe has to follow. That may now be set to change. Several partners
have already started commercialising project results and partner
ALCATEL is using the new capacitors in their mobile phone network.