Plating Services for Microwave and RF
Microwave and radio frequency (RF) technology is showing no signs of slowing down. As everything from smartphones to satellites continues to advance, scientists and engineers keep increasing their demands and expectations of plating for microwave components. Consider that by the end of the next decade, 5G networks will be commonly available to consumers. Plus, with the Internet of Things (IoT) and plans from SpaceX to provide Wi-Fi globally through thousands of advanced satellites, the need for cutting-edge microwave assemblies and subsystems will only increase accordingly.
Of course, these subsystems are filled with microwave and RF components such as filters, mixers, switches, amplifiers and a multitude of other parts — and each piece must be equipped with the appropriate electronic connections and circuitry. To ensure their reliable, longlasting performance, these components require expert manufacturing. This is why plating for microwave components and plating options for radio frequency products are essential to their fabrication. In addition, plating can result in many positive outcomes, including enhanced corrosion resistance, increased electrical conductivity, reduced component friction and even greater visual appeal.
Silver Plating for RF and Microwave Components
From early coins to state-of-the-art aerospace parts, silver and silver plating have proven their use over and over again. As the most affordable precious metal with a low melting point and excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, it’s no wonder that silver is such a popular and cost-effective choice when it comes to plating for RF and microwave components.
Far more affordable than gold, platinum or palladium, silver’s natural attributes of being lightweight and highly conductive make it one of the most useful elements in the manufacturing and plating of microwave components. With their ability to conduct high currents and perform well at frequencies common to microwaves, silver-plated metal components are also highly effective at diminishing distortions resulting from PIM (passive intermodulation).
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Further Silver Plating Benefits and Considerations
Silver plating RF components and microwave parts help improve the transmission of signals by decreasing IMD (intermodulation distortion). Additionally, silver plating helps reduce the loss of RF signals by mitigating what’s known in the industry as the skin effect.
A possible disadvantage to silver plating components is silver's propensity for developing a film of oxide on the substrate’s outer surface when it comes into contact with substances such as ozone, hydrogen sulfide or sulfur. However, this can be resolved through passivation, which is a finishing process that involves the application of a coating of metal oxide that protects the silver, thereby preventing corrosion.
Moreover, electroplating with pure silver instead of an alloy containing partial silver has proven effective in diminishing the rate of oxidization.
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SPC Leads the Industry in Microwave and RF Component Plating
For over 90 years, SPC has been an industry leader in supplying cost-effective plating and metal finishing solutions. Companies from the electronics, aerospace, automotive, medical, military and defense industries all know they can count on SPC to deliver quality. We’re happy to develop customized plating processes that meet both your operational and budgetary requirements.
Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of silver plating microwave and RF components. We’ll quickly supply you with a no-obligation quote, and your information is always confidential.
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"I would like to thank you for the help you have provided us in developing an electroless nickel plating technique on an unusual substrate. The sample platings you provided show that we should be able to reach our goals. I especially appreciate your willingness to take on an unusual job, with the uncertainties that that entails...We are looking forward to working with you in the future on our plating needs."
– Robert K.