MRS Proceedings


The Nanoporous Metallisation of Insulating Substrates through Photocatalytically Initiated Electroless Deposition (PIED)

2011 MRS Fall Meeting.

Michael A. Bromleya1 and Colin Boxalla1

a1 Lancaster University, Engineering Department, Lancaster LA1 4YR, United Kingdom. E-mail addresses:,


We report the novel use of semiconductor photocatalysis for the deposition of metal onto insulating surfaces and the in-process formation of nano-structured porosity within this metal. In the process of Photocatalytically Initiated Electroless Deposition (PIED) we have developed a controllable, spatially selective and versatile metallisation technique with several advantages over traditional, non-photocatalytic techniques such as enhanced controllability and purity of the deposit as well as reduced operational costs and environmental impact. With the addition of a self-assembled, hexagonally close-packed microparticle template to the substrate prior to metal deposition, PIED can be used to fabricate thin metal films with highly ordered porosity on the nano-scale. Nanoporous metallisation in this way is able to produce substrates with potentially wide applications such as membrane and separation technology, energy storage and sensors – especially surface enhanced resonance Raman spectroscopy (SERRS).

(Online publication March 01 2012)

Key Words:

  • photochemical;
  • plating;
  • nanostructure