A printed circuit board (PCB) is commonly used to connect electronic components, by using a combination of pathways, tracks and signal traces that are laminated onto a non-conductive substance. Recently, however, PCBs are evolving and using high-level substrate material that has improved reliability, accuracy and density. This change in substrate material is mainly due to the requirement of some electronic items needing to be more compact and functional than it was previously.
There are a number of different advantages that ceramic technology has over traditional FR-4 materials used in the PCB manufacturing process, including high thermal conductivity, high reliability, strong compression and dielectric levels, can withstand hot temperatures, high breakdown voltage, prevention of water absorption, lower loss at higher frequencies, cosmic ray resistant and no use of organic constituents.
PCBs are commonly made up of a number of materials. Manufacturers offer many options for the metal base of ceramic PCBs. Materials such as Boron Nitride and Silicon Carbide are some of the main options to choose from. Some other commonly offered materials of manufacturers include Copper, Gold and Silver being the material that is most used in each layer for connectivity throughout the board. The fabricator uses a layer-by-layer screen printing process to place the metal elements or substrates.
There are three common types of ceramic boards:
– Thick Film: with a conductor layer that is 10+ microns in thickness, these boards are made of Silver or Gold Palladium. Thick film ceramic PCBs can include a variety of components on the board including capacitors, resistors, conductors and semiconductors on the board by laser trimming and printing them at a hot temperature.
– Thin Film: with a conductor layer that is less than 10 microns in thickness, these films are understandably smaller than thick films. Thin-film ceramic PCBs are best suited for circuits that require a high degree of accuracy, stability and performance.
– Direct Copper Bonded (DCB): The DCB is a board that uses a special technology to bond copper foil on a single or both sides of the metal core under high temperature and pressure. DCB technology provides effective thermal conductivity, high mechanical strength, excellent electrical isolation, corrosion resistance, strong adhesion and a high reliability and functionality when it comes to thermal cycling capabilities.
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