Posted by Jeff Smith | Apr 15, 2014 4:25:24 PM 0 Comments

A wide range of devices with numerous applications use precious metal plating. This process, however, can often be expensive and the precious metal is subjected to wear and tear that can eventually cause failures. Electro-Spec’s innovative methods for plating include a technological advancement known as SAM’s.  The SAM’S process allows, for example a gold plated component to have a much thinner deposit without a reduction in functionality.

What is SAM’s?

SAM is an acronym for Self-Assembled Molecules. The SAM’S process employs bi-Functional or multi-functional molecules that offer two or more termination groups with different functionality. Essentially, the SAM’S proces s uses molecules that offer two levels of protection. The molecules used in the SAM'S method can be attached to metal alloys as well as ceramic, glass, plastics, and more. Right now, SAM’S technology is only being used as a post-plate surface treatment for gold, silver and tri-alloy (Tri-M3)


How Does the SAM’s Process Work?


SAM’s is an immersion process that does not build layers or thickness as with the plating process.  It can only be measured on a Nano level.  To start, you need an item with precious metal plating like gold for example. After the component you want plated in the precious metal is finished, it goes through the SAM’s process. The plated component is submerged into a proprietary bath.  After this, the bath is heated to a specific temperature so the molecules in the solution are extracted.  They seek out the material they were developed for and align themselves.  For example, the SAM’S process developed for gold plating will only be attracted to the gold and not any other finish.

What makes SAM’s technology so unique is that the head of the molecule attaches to the plated item. The tails of the molecule align with each other, to impart the desired properties and characteristics (hydrophobic or hydrophilic).  This is where the name Self Assembled Molecules originates.

Why Does SAM’S Make a Difference?

SAM’S allows component manufacturers to use less precious metal when plating their items. This allows these companies to realize significant cost savings. Along with the reduced thickness of the precious metal coating, the self-assembled molecules also add extra protection around the plated item making it withstand wear and tear for a longer period. This means you save money by using a smaller amount of precious metal and not re-plating or replacing your item as often when it has the protective molecule shield. 


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Topics: Plating Technology, Self Assembled Molecules, Tri-M3, SAM'S Process