Electrochemical deposition is an attractive alternative to physical vapor deposition and micromachining to produce metal capsules for inertial confinement fusion (ICF). Electrochemical deposition (also referred to as electrodeposition or plating) is expected to produce full-density metal capsules without seams or inclusions of unwanted atomic constituents, the current shortcomings of micromachine and physical vapor deposition, respectively.

Here, we discuss new cathode designs that allow for the rapid electrodeposition of gold and copper alloys on spherical mandrels by making transient contact with the constantly moving spheres. Electrodeposition of pure gold, copper, platinum, and alloys of gold-copper and gold-silver are demonstrated, with nonporous coatings of >40 µm achieved in only a few hours of plating. The surface roughness of the spheres after electrodeposition is comparable to the starting mandrel, and the coatings appear to be fully dense with no inclusions.

A detailed understanding of the electrodeposition conditions that result in different alloy compositions and plating rates will allow for the electrodeposition of graded alloys on spheres in the near future. This report on the electrodeposition of metals on spherical mandrels is an important first step toward the fabrication of graded-density metal capsules for ICF experiments at the National Ignition Facility.