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Publication Date: 2004-Aug-05

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Current methods to convert wide web flexible circuits to narrow web typically involve chemically etching the plastic substrate material to create a channel or traditional slitting techniques. This invention is a method for converting wide web plastic films having metal features to multiple narrow web films. This method will work on any type of metal-patterned plastic film materials in which the plastic allows tear propagation and the metal provides enough resistance to confine the tearing to the tear zip feature. An example of a suitable film is a polymer film, such as a thin polyimide, patterned with copper features, as is typically used to form flexible circuits. The invention provides a method of photolithographically defining a boundary that allows for tearing the film in a precise location. By utilizing the tear propagation properties of the plastic, a metal-patterned film can be converted from wide web to narrow web by simply tearing the web along the defined boundaries. A single tear zip feature may be used to separate adjacent areas of patterned material or to remove an edge "weed" portion. Alternatively, two tear zip features may be used in an interior portion of a web to remove a weed strip from between two areas of patterned material, as is illustrated in Fig. 1 (in which the weed portion has not been separated) and Fig. 2 (in which the weed portion has been separated).