Emma Palin


Emma PalinMy name is Emma Palin and I am in the second year of my PhD working in the Materials and Interfaces research group as part of the Department of Chemistry. My research involves looking at layered metals that are present in Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs.) The metals used in a PCB can vary wildly, however, in general terms they are made up of copper (the conducting material which connects to wired components) and protection layers to prevent the exposed copper surface from becoming damaged or degraded.  The interfaces between these metal layers are often subject to metal-metal mixing and corrosion which compromises the integrity of the PCB and ultimately the electronic device that it is a component of. If we can understand more about how this mixing occurs, we can provide scope for improving the way that electronic devices are made in the future.

During my time in this research group we have used a novel technique, known as ‘STEP’, which can be used to distinguish between different metal layers and identify mixing between them. Thus far, the technique has been tested with success using varying combinations of silver, copper, nickel, tin and gold.

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