A sacrificial plastic mold having an electroplatable backing is provided. One embodiment consists of the infusion of a softened or molten thermoplastic through a porous metal substrate (sheet, screen, mesh or foam) and into the features of a micro-scale molding tool contacting the porous metal substrate. Upon demolding, the porous metal substrate will be embedded within the thermoplastic and will project a plastic structure with features determined by the mold tool. This plastic structure, in turn, provides a sacrificial plastic mold mechanically bonded to the porous metal substrate which provides a conducting support suitable for electroplating either contiguous or non-contiguous metal replicates. After electroplating and lapping, the sacrificial plastic can be dissolved to leave the desired metal structure bonded to the porous metal substrate. Optionally, the electroplated structures may be debonded from the porous substrate by selective dissolution of the porous substrate or a coating thereon.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between the United States Department of Energy and Sandia Corporation for the operation of Sandia National Laboratories.