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PCB | February 05, 2010

New opportunities for PCB's

At the Würth workshop, Frank Ebling spoke about embedding components in printed circuit board.
Frank Ebling described the company's technology to manufacture printed circuit boards with embedded components. The process is being used already, but to what extend was not made clear.

In the manufacturing process, a cavity is created with a CO2 laser that burns away the polymer and fiberglass. As the laser beam from the CO2 laser is not able to cut through the copper layer, the depth of the hole is defined by the layer thickness. Currently, Würth offers cavities of 100, 200 and 300 microns, but he says that they can go deeper if necessary.

A common component used in this context are flip-chips, used in three variants: face down, face up and buried with connections at both sides. The process - developed by Panasonic - is using an adhesive with tinballs, which are very small (and relatively few in number). Due to that, the balls that not are between the metal connections cannot cause any damage, e.g. in form of short circuits. The process however requires that the contact surfaces are goldplated.

Würth is also working on developing a process for embedding components (with even higher standards) in printed circuit board, which is part of an EU project. Other participants include Zarlink and Oticon. In the process, an unencapsulated chip is buried in the circuit board with bonding on both sides. The chip used in the application is thinner than 100 microns. The project also tests and uses embedded optical components with an optical polymer layer in the PCB (OPL) for improved signal integrity.

During the workshop, the company also presented various examples of textile electronics, a technology that Würth thinks we will see much of over the next few years. One example was a glove with built-in sensors.

Note to other media. The above information has NOT been provided in any public Press Release. Republishing is strictly forbidden and would lead to prosecution.

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