Anisotropic Chemical Etching of Copper Foil I. Electrochemical Studies in Acidic CuCl2 Solutions

Maria Geargiadau, Richard Alkire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Etching of thick copper foil masked except for a single rectangular opening having an aspect ratio (width:depth) of 5:1 or 1:1 was investigated in the presence of controlled laminar flow across the width of the pattern opening. In a solution of 3.5M CuCl2+ 0.5M HC1 + 0.5M KC1, copper was found to form a surface film spontaneously at the “corrosion potential,” to dissolve at a rate that depended upon convective mass-transfer conditions, and also to exhibit anisotropic wet chemical etching. Based on thermodynamic calculations, it was estimated that the dominant cupric species were Cu+2, CuCl+, CuCl2, and CuCl3-, and that the dominant cuprous species was Cucl3-2. Based on rotating disk measurements it was concluded that anisotropic chemical etching was related to the presence of a sparingly soluble surface film of CuCl. Under operating conditions for which anisotropic etching was observed, current transients were found to exhibit a characteristic “overshoot” response that may represent a useful diagnostic signal for process control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1340-1347
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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