LDS Technical Materials
Laser Direct Structuring Materials Information and Capabilities
Laser Direct Structuring materials are available in a wide range of plastics. For LDS technology to work the plastic material must be Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) grade – meaning there is a small amount of an organo-metallic compound added to the plastic. The organo-metallic material can be activated with laser ablation and acts as the catalyst for electroless plating deposition. The amount of the additive is very low and, when not activated, alters the physical characteristics of the plastic material.
There are 3 main categories of LDS grade materials:
Low Temperature/Low Cost:
A very common LDS material in this category is PC/ABS. Materials in this category have high impact strength, but should only be used in environments where temperatures are very low, such as applications where no soldering is required. A very common application in this category is LDS antennas.
Medium Temperature/Medium Cost:
LDS materials in this category include PA6/6 and PPA. These are nylon-based materials that can withstand a little bit of temperature, such as applications that include low-temperature soldering. A very common application in this category, particularly for PPA, are laser direct structuring automotive applications.
High Temperature/High Cost:
LDS materials in this category include LCP and PEEK. These materials can handle virtually any soldering temperature. These materials are particularly ideal for small parts and micro-packaging sensors.
Other LDS Grade Materials
LPKF has worked with the major plastic material manufacturers and compounders to develop, test, and make available a wide range of Laser Direct Structuring materials with different physical characteristics, including:
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Acrilonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- Nylon (PPA)
- Polyethylene Terpthalate (PET)
- Polybutylene Terpthalate (PBT)
- Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS)
- Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP)
- & Other LDS Grades
This Laser Direct Structuring materials list is regularly updated and published on the LPKF Laser & Electronics website.
LDS Material Selection
Laser Direct Structuring material selection can affect:
- Component Performance
- Circuit Resolution
- Surface Mount Operations
- Mold Flow Characteristics
- Dielectric Constant
- & Other Important Mechanical Properties