Optimization of Laser Direct Structuring Process Parameters for Material Extrusion of Polycarbonate

Akagündüz C. G., Söylemez E.

Advanced Engineering Materials, vol.25, no.23, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 23
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/adem.202300907
  • Journal Name: Advanced Engineering Materials
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: laser direct structuring, laser parameter optimization, material extrusion, molded interconnect devices, selective metallization
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Laser direct structuring (LDS) is critical in the integration of circuits onto 3D-shaped plastic parts, such as antennas and radio frequency components. The LDS process encompasses three stages: deposition of 3D parts, laser structuring, and metallization. While laser-direct structurable parts have been manufactured through plastic injection molding, material extrusion (MEX) is a favored additive manufacturing process for economic low-volume production and fast prototyping advantages. Although injection-molded LDS literature is available, 3D-printed laser-direct structured components merit further investigation. This study focuses on the MEX of catalyst-loaded polycarbonate (PC) parts and its LDS process. The parameters from the nanosecond fiber laser, including scan speed, power, and frequency, are thoroughly analyzed to understand the surface property changes and metallization performance of the printed PC parts. The single scan track width, which corresponds to the accuracy of conductive path width and metallization thickness, is employed to elucidate the findings. A process map is built to keep the track width constant aimed at enhancing the uniform metallization of intricate components. Thresholds are established, identifying a minimum track width of 22.1 μm and metallization thickness of 2.5 μm. These delineate clusters of process parameters that yield conductivity levels suitable for various applications.