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Posted: March 5, 2010
Auburn University Lauds POSS Short-Stop As Impressive Way To Suppress Tin Whiskers In Lead Free Solders
(Nanowerk News) The Space Research Institute’s Surface Science Laboratory at Auburn University has
released their exciting test results of Hybrid Plastics’ Short-Stop, a novel sprayable, cost effective
conformal coating for the suppression of tin whiskers in lead-free solder and electronic circuits.
Henry W. Brandhorst, Jr., Director of the Institute, lauded the material saying, “The results have been
impressive and conclusive! Short-Stop absolutely prevented the growth of tin whiskers in electronic
applications. It's also important that it does this at a highly affordable, very low cost because it is applied by spraying and only a very thin layer is required. Thus the overall cost and ease of application seems to be much lower than other types of conformal coatings. The other great thing about Short-Stop is that it can be applied either at the OEM stage of production or as an after-market application. My thanks to
Hybrid Plastics for developing such an innovative, successful product that eliminates a problem that has
vexed the electronics industry for a long time.”
Tin Whisker Suppression with Short-Stop (20 µm).
The POSS® Short-Stop is optically transparent, colorless and available in either aerosol or bulk for airless
sprayers. The new materials were developed under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
contract between Hybrid Plastics Inc., subcontractor Michigan State University and collaborator Vista
The effort was focused on solving a well-recognized problem of lead-free solders - the
growth of conductive tin-whiskers. Depending on the spacing of interconnects and environmental stress,
conductive tin whiskers may grow long enough to create short circuits that cause electronic systems to
malfunction or become permanently damaged. The solution was enabled through incorporation of
mercapto functionalized Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane (POSS®) nanocages into polyimide
coatings. The mercapto groups bind to the metal surface, protonate through the metal oxide layer and
bind to the underlying tin atoms thereby mitigating compressive stress and nucleation of whisker growth.
In the event that tin whiskers do grow, a tough high modulus polyimide surface coating is also utilized to
force collapse of the whisker and thereby physically isolate whiskers against short-circuiting or
Hybrid has developed a platform technology called POSS® (Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane). It is
a revolutionary new Nanotechnology based on silicon-derived building blocks that provide nanometerscale
control to dramatically improve the thermal and mechanical properties of traditional polymers while
offering easy incorporation into existing manufacturing protocols. They release no VOCs and, thereby,
produce no odor or air pollution. They are biocompatible, recyclable, non-flammable, and competitively
priced with traditional polymer feedstocks. POSS® nanoscopic chemical technology provides unique
opportunities to create revolutionary material combinations through a melding of the desirable properties
of ceramics and polymers at the 1 nm length scale. These new combinations enable the circumvention of
classic material performance trade-offs by exploiting the synergy and properties that only occur between
materials at the nanoscale.
Last year the company received a Frost and Sullivan Best Practices Award. Frost & Sullivan stated
“Hybrid Plastics’ customer service is unparalleled in the high performance fillers market.” Hybrid Plastics
was one of five finalists in Small Times Magazine’s 2002 Best of Small Tech Award. In December 2005,
a Presidential Determination deemed POSS® Nanotechnology to be in the strategic national interest of
the United States. The company has received two R&D 100 Awards, most recently in 2009 for the use of
its compounds as flow aids.