Technology Drivers For Printed Circuits-REVISITED
        BY: Happy Holden, MIPBG-Foxconn, DaYuan, Taiwan happy.holden@fox...
FIGURE 1. The Waves of increasing interconnect density shows the effect of 2D to 3D
stacking technologies. System-in-Packa...
Direct Material That Make Up The Boards
   “Laminates increasingly are paramount to high-performance PCBs. Not just low lo...
manufacturing today is one of managing the innovations of global corporation’s materials and
processes.”
While this is bas...
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Technology Drivers

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Update on a 2005 article on PCB Technology Drivers

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Technology Drivers

  1. 1. Technology Drivers For Printed Circuits-REVISITED BY: Happy Holden, MIPBG-Foxconn, DaYuan, Taiwan happy.holden@foxconn.com In May of 2005 I wrote my column about the five (5) technology drivers I believe are important for printed circuits. Five years later, it is a good time to revisit and see how those Technology Drivers are doing and “what has changed” in five years. The five (original) drivers I believe are important for printed circuits are: 1. Active components and IC technology 2. Signal integrity and higher speed signaling 3. Direct Material that make up the boards 4. Design of printed circuits that capture the IP intent of electronics 5. Process improvements for PCB manufacturing Why Is This Important? I have to admit that I can’t think of a better list of Drivers after five years. BUT…..the explanation of those drivers has changed in the last five years and that may be of interest to readers. You can retrieve the old column from www.CircuiTree.com if you want to see what I said in 2005, as I will not use valuable space here to ‘revisit’ that column. Active Components and IC Technology “The semiconductor industry is STILL the primary driver for electronics. Smaller gate geometries and greater total gates allow more functions to be performed – and faster. With larger wafers, the prices continue to tumble. This allows and inspires more products that grow the entire industry.” We (the West) are still the drivers of advanced semiconductor technology design but share fabrication technologies with the Asians. Much of the foreign construction of wafer fabs that focused on commodity memory and glue chips, has now expanded to be the world’s “Foundries”. IBM, Intel, Freescale, AD, Thompson, Samsung and Texas Instr. to name just a few are continuing to lead the IC industry worldwide.
  2. 2. FIGURE 1. The Waves of increasing interconnect density shows the effect of 2D to 3D stacking technologies. System-in-Package (SiP), Package-on-Package (PoP), Through-Si-Vias (TSV), Reverse Thru Via (RTV) and High Density Chip Carriers (IMBtm are leading to true 3D package integration. This growing development continues to increase the interconnect density as seen in FIGURE 1. But now we are moving to true 3D packaging with stacking and embedded ICs like the Imbera “Integrated Module Board” Technology. [1] Signal Integrity and Higher Speed Signaling “Related to IC technology and smaller gate geometries is the increasing speed of signals. This manifests itself not just in higher-frequency applications but also in shrinking signal rise-times. Another resultant is higher heat dissipation and a resultant reduction in power supply voltage. All of this conspires to increase the sensitivity of circuits to various forms of noise and loss of signal strength.” While this is still true, what we also face NOW is “the return path for that signal” or POWER INTEGRITY. The power distribution network (PDN) is increasingly important in high performance and high-speed signaling. Since the PDN is now of such importance, there needs to be “Innovations” about PDNs on PCBs. One way is to eliminate the conventional Power Plane and replace it with a newer-better-creature. That is to use two, orthogonal layers to distribute PWR as a ‘Mesh Structure’ and to place signals between the different voltages. This can be seen in FIGURE 2 and the structure is called a ‘Dual Offset Coplanar Stripline w/Separate GND Reference’. Line widths and dielectric distances are given for the various impedances that are commonly used. This structure has the advantage of lower crosstalk but more importantly, it provides voltage to all the components from ‘LAYER_2’ and LAYER_N-1’ using only a low-inductance, non-reflective blind-via. [2]. FIGURE 2, The Offset Coplanar Stripline offers a high-speed impedance model to distribute power and signal on two-orthogonal layers to not only improve density but improve the signal and power integrity while reducing crosstalk noise. [2]
  3. 3. Direct Material That Make Up The Boards “Laminates increasingly are paramount to high-performance PCBs. Not just low loss laminates but also low dielectric constants (or consistent dielectric constants), as well as higher heat resistance that is needed for lead-free assembly processes. With faster rise-time devices and lower power supply voltages, comes the need for lower power distribution networks impedances. At high frequencies, this can only be achieved by reducing the distance between PWR and GND. We have called this ‘buried capacitance’ (BC) but ‘distributed capacitance’ might be a better name.” [3] While there has not been any new distributed capacitance materials created in the last 5 years new lower Dk and lower Dj FR-4s and non-FR4s have been developed, along with the growing trend of halogen-free laminates. Design of Printed Circuits That Capture The IP Intent of Electronics “For to long it [PCB design] has been undervalued in its contribution to the electronics industry. Now especially, when signal frequency and signal integrity are needed more and more, companies continue to undercapitalize their CAD tools, decline sending their PCB Designers to much needed training and conferences and undervalue Productivity Tools and Software to improve both the quality and speed at which printed circuits are designed.” N.A. EDA vendor Mentor Graphics continues to invest in its PCB Design Tools PADS and EXPEDITION by not only increasing features and functionality, but adding more ‘seamless’ integration of signal/power integrity, FPGA optimization, BGA breakout and Design for Test and Assembly, as shown in FIGURE 3. FIGURE 3, This PCB design and engineering flow from Mentor Graphics Expedition shows the current stage of integrated tools for modern high-speed printed circuit simulation and layout. Process Improvements For PCB Manufacturing “With IC, circuit and material innovations comes the need for process improvements. We excel in this material/process area. Companies like DuPont, 3M, Kodak and others have let the world in process and chemical innovations. Where once it was basic chemical and plastics, today it is pharmaceuticals and nano-technologies. But the legacy is still there in companies like MacDermid, Rohm and Haas, OMG, Enthone, Atotech and many more. The Japanese have done well here as well, but in a much more limited scope to support their consumer products. The majority of processes that the Chinese are using to manufacture printed circuits is either North American direct, or licensed from N. Americans or possibly even duplicated from N.A. processes. When these processes are in the laboratory phase, it is the myriad of smaller North American PCB facilities that do the pilot work on them and feedback valuable information. Typically, it is the higher volume N.A. PCB facilities that first put them into volume production. But being a global market, these process corporations have an obligation to their stockholders to also distribute their new processes to their customers in Asia. Thus, printed circuit
  4. 4. manufacturing today is one of managing the innovations of global corporation’s materials and processes.” While this is basically still true, the role of “Pilot Line” has shifted to the Asians. That’s because the growth has been most dramatic in mobile/consumer, IC packaging and automotive electronic products where Asia dominates PCB production. To support this, most major Process/Specialty chemical companies have moved their “Application Engineering and Development” to Asia. Finally, I said “These five (5) Technologies, as well as many others not mentioned here, are the MEASURES OF EXCELLENCE that WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE TO ASIA!”, but alas, we have lost them! O’well, maybe I will be around in 5 years and in 2015 I will update this list again. References: 1. “Integrated Module Board”, Imbera Website, www.imbera.biz 2. Holden, H.T. & Carrier, P., “Power Integrity Effects of High Density Interconnect (HDI)”, DesignCon-2009, Feb. 2009 3. Holden, Happy, Chapter 5-HDI Materials, “HDI HANDBOOK”, Version 1.0, pcb007-2009, free PDF download at http://hdihandbook.com

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