An effective method to improve thickness uniformity in nickel electroforming for the LIGA process to produce metallic microstructures is described. The deposited metal distribution is naturally a concave shape over the whole area of the plating base proved by experiments. The edge thickness of the plating area is usually twice or higher than the center of the plating area. A secondary cathode (guard ring) was applied to improve the electroform uniformity. The experimental result of a Joule–Thomson micro-cooler proved its feasibility. The thickness ratio of edge to center of a 500 μm sample decreased from 2.5 to 1.4. The thickness uniformity improvement is achieved without a loss in plating rate in the center of the features.
international journal of machine tools and manufacture 40(7), pp.1065-1072