Anthony Muscat, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, has developed a process of electrostatic plating metal nanoparticles onto insulator surfaces, without using corrosive and toxic chemical baths.
Muscat starts with a "glue layer," where the glue on one side sticks to the surface, while the other side bonds with the particular metal of interest. Once the glue layer is deposited, metal nanoparticles are created and deposited onto the surface, resulting in a very thin, uniform coating.
"The small size is an advantage because we can cover materials very efficiently," Muscat said in an interview with Invented Arizona. "Even small corners can be covered well because the particles are small."
Muscat noted that while this technology is well suited for use in the semiconductor industry, it is also applicable in industries such as satellites and sensing, and is even suitable for the medical industry.