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How does a DPC Ceramic PCB Manufactured?
Saturday, July 6th, 2024

Direct Plating Copper (DPC) is a ceramic circuit board developed on the basis of ceramic film processing. Aluminum nitride/alumina ceramic is used as the substrate of the circuit, and the composite metal layer on the surface of the substrate is sputtered, and the circuit is formed by electroplating and lithography. Its basic processes are:

  • Incoming Quality Control (IQC)

The process begins with the inspection of raw materials to ensure they meet strict quality standards. This step involves checking ceramic substrates for physical defects such as cracks, chips, or surface irregularities, and verifying material properties like thermal conductivity and dielectric strength. Advanced equipment such as microscopes and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers are used for thorough inspection, ensuring only the best materials proceed to the next stage.

  • Laser Drilling

Before laser drilling, a water-soluble, food-grade substrate pigment is brushed onto the ceramic substrate to reduce reflectivity and enhance laser drilling effectiveness. After drying in an oven, a laser drilling machine is used to drill through the substrate, creating pathways for connections between the upper and lower surfaces. Depending on the ceramic material, different laser wavelengths such as infrared, green light, ultraviolet, or CO2 are used to burn away the material with each laser pulse.

How does a DPC Ceramic PCB Manufactured?
  • Laser Marking

Laser marking involves using a laser marking machine to engrave product QR codes onto the ceramic substrate. This step ensures precise and permanent identification marks on the PCB.

  • Ultrasonic Cleaning

After laser drilling and marking, the substrates are cleaned to remove any attached particles or residues. This involves coarse and fine debris removal using ultrasonic cleaning, followed by water washing to eliminate any remaining particles. The cleaned substrates undergo micro-etching to roughen the surface, enhancing the effectiveness of subsequent magnetron sputtering, and are then dried to remove surface moisture.

  • Magnetron Sputtering

In the magnetron sputtering process, a high-vacuum chamber is used to ionize argon gas, producing an ion stream that bombards a target cathode. This causes atoms of the target material to be ejected and deposited as a thin film on the ceramic substrate. Pre-sputtering treatments such as dust removal, degreasing, and slow pulling are conducted to ensure optimal results.

  • Chemical Copper Plating

Chemical copper plating thickens the copper layer, improving the conductivity of the vias and ensuring better adhesion with the sputtered copper layer. This catalytic redox reaction involves pre-treatment steps like degreasing, micro-etching, pre-immersion, activation, and acceleration to ensure proper copper deposition.

  • Full-Panel Electroplating

Full-panel electroplating increases the thickness of the copper layer. This involves processes such as degreasing, micro-etching, acid washing, copper plating, and stripping excess copper from the fixtures. The copper plating uses copper balls as anodes and an electrolyte solution of CuSO4 and H2SO4, with the primary reaction being Cu2+ + 2e- → Cu.

  • Grinding, Laminating, Exposure, and Developing

Post electroplating, the copper layer is prepared for patterning. This includes acid washing to remove oxides, grinding to roughen and clean the surface, laminating with a photoresist dry film, UV exposure through a photomask to create the desired pattern, and developing to dissolve unexposed areas, leaving behind the patterned photoresist.

How does a DPC Ceramic PCB Manufactured?

  • Pattern Plating (Electroplating Copper)

The exposed and developed areas of the substrate where the circuit pattern is defined undergo further copper electroplating to thicken the circuit traces.

How does a DPC Ceramic PCB Manufactured?
  • Etching and Stripping

Unwanted copper and dry film are removed through etching, stripping away excess copper deposited in previous steps. This includes rough grinding, film stripping, copper etching, and titanium etching, ensuring only the desired circuit pattern remains.

  • Annealing

The ceramic boards are annealed in a furnace to relieve stresses introduced during electroplating, enhancing the ductility and toughness of the copper layer and ensuring dense copper grain packing.

  • Belt Grinding

Post-annealing, the substrate surface may have an oxide layer and rough texture. Belt grinding is used to remove these oxides and smoothen the surface, ensuring the quality of subsequent gold or silver surface treatments.

  • Flying Probe Testing

High-speed flying probe testers check for continuity and shorts in the vias and circuit traces, ensuring electrical integrity.

  • Sandblasting Before Solder Mask

Prior to solder mask application, the substrate undergoes sandblasting to roughen and clean the surface, removing oxides and contaminants. This includes acid washing, sandblasting, and micro-etching.

  • Solder Mask Printing

Solder mask is printed on areas of the PCB that do not require soldering, protecting the circuits during soldering and assembly. Screen printing applies solder mask ink, which is then UV-cured and developed to remove unexposed areas.

  • Sandblasting After Solder Mask

After solder mask application, exposed areas that need surface treatments undergo sandblasting to roughen the surface and remove oxides, preparing for gold or silver plating.

  • Surface Treatment

Surface treatments like electroless or electrolytic plating of gold, silver, or other metals are applied to the solder pads, enhancing solderability and preventing oxidation.

  • Laser Cutting

Laser cutting equipment precisely cuts the finished PCBs from the manufacturing panel, ensuring accurate dimensions and clean edges.

  • Testing

Various testing equipment, including thickness gauges, Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) machines, and ultrasonic scanning microscopes, are used to inspect the PCBs’ performance and appearance, ensuring they meet quality standards.

  • Packaging and Shipping

Finally, the PCBs are vacuum-packed using packaging machines to protect them during transport. They are then stored and shipped to customers, ensuring they arrive in perfect condition.

Above is the all the processes of DPC muanufacturing. If you are interested in process of other PCBs, welcome to contact us.

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What are the advantages of ceramic PCB?
Saturday, July 6th, 2024

Ceramic PCB is a type of emerging PCB in the recent years, they are known for their high thermal conductivity and low expansion coefficient. Except this, it has numerous advantages that normal FR4 PCB can not achieved. And even for metal core PCB (MCPCB). Today, we are going to introduce their characteristics in detail.

What are the advantages of ceramic PCB?

1.  High thermal conductivity

The core metal content of ceramic circuit boards is as high as 96-98%, which makes them have extremely high thermal conductivity. Compared with ordinary FR4 circuit boards, the thermal conductivity of ceramic circuit boards can reach 170-230 W/mK, while the thermal conductivity of FR4 boards is usually only 0.3-0.4 W/mK. Higher thermal conductivity allows for more efficient heat dissipation, avoiding the problem of damage to electronic components due to overheating. This is particularly important in high-power applications, such as LEDs and power semiconductors.

2.  Low thermal expansion coefficient

Ceramic materials have a very low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), usually between 6-8 ppm/°C. In contrast, FR4 material has around 14-16 ppm/°C CTE. This means that ceramic materials hardly expand or contract when temperature changes. The low thermal expansion coefficient improves the reliability of the circuit board, reduces the influence of the thermal cycle on the circuit board structure and the connection of electronic components. Especially suitable for use in the environment with frequent temperature changes.

What are the advantages of ceramic PCB?

3.  High surface hardness

The surface hardness of ceramic materials is up to 9 Mohs, which is harder than aluminum oxide and silicon. It means ceramic PCB has more wear-resistant, scratch resistant, and not easy to damage. It enables to run stably for a long time even in harsh physical environments, extending the service life of the board. That is why ceramic PCB is always recommended to use in military.

4.  High compressive strength

The compressive strength of the ceramic circuit board can reach 450-500 MPa, which can withstand large mechanical pressure without deformation or rupture. This characteristic makes them excellent in applications that require them to withstand mechanical stress, such as industrial automation and aerospace.

5.  High dielectric strength

Ceramic PCB has very high dielectric strength, usually between 15-25 kV/mm. And it can withstand higher electric fields without electrical breakdown.

6.  Ability to withstand higher temperatures

Ceramic circuit boards can operate at temperatures up to 1000°C without degradation or damage. While FR4 circuit boards typically operate at an upper limit of 140-170°C. Ceramic circuit boards are suitable for electronic devices in high temperature environments, such as electric vehicles and high-power lasers.

What are the advantages of ceramic PCB?

7. High breakdown voltage

The high breakdown voltage of the ceramic circuit board can reach 20-35 kV, ensuring reliable operation under high voltage conditions. It is well suitable for use in high-voltage power supplies and power electronic equipment, providing higher safety.

8.  Does not absorb water

The water absorption of ceramic materials is usually less than 0.1%, while the water absorption of FR4 materials is 0.1-0.2%. The non-water absorbing feature prevents performance degradation and damage caused by water absorption in a humid environment. It is ideal for Marine, medical, and other applications that require moisture resistance.

9. Low loss at high frequency

In high-frequency applications, the dielectric loss Angle tangent (Df) of ceramic circuit boards is usually between 0.0001-0.001, while the loss Angle tangent of FR4 materials is 0.02-0.03. Low loss ensures signal integrity and transmission efficiency, which is suitable for communication equipment and high-frequency electronic equipment.

10.  Resistance to cosmic rays

Ceramic materials can resist the impact of cosmic rays, will not be degraded or damaged by rays. They are suitable for satellite electronic equipment, ensuring the stability and reliability of the circuit board in a high radiation environment.

11.  No organic ingredients

Ceramic circuit boards do not contain organic components, so they have high chemical stability, are not susceptible to chemical corrosion and decomposition. They are good choice to use in harsh chemical environments.

12.  High-density assembly

Ceramic circuit boards support high-density assembly with line/pitch resolution of 20 microns. This allows them to be adapted to more complex and refined circuit designs, suitable for microelectronics and high-precision applications.

Best Technology provides professional one-stop ceramic PCB design and manufacturing service all around the world. We welcome all the friends and partners from domestic and abroad to visit our ceramic circuit board workshop.

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What Are the Different Types of Ceramic PCBs?
Saturday, July 6th, 2024

Ceramic PCBs are a special breed of printed circuit boards known for their exceptional thermal resistance and durability. These PCBs are used in industries where high performance is critical, such as aerospace, automotive, medical devices, and power electronics. Nowadays, the most common types of ceramic PCB are thick film, DCB, DPC, AMB, HTCC, LTCC and thin film. In this article, we will introduce each of them in details.

What are the different types of ceramic pcbs?

Thick Film Ceramic PCB

Thick film technology is a process by using screen printing conductor paste and directly deposit slurry (conductor) on the ceramic substrate. Then sintering it under high temperature to form conductive circuit traces and electrodes, which is suitable for most ceramic substrates.

After the material is sintered at high temperature, a strong adhesion film will be formed on the ceramic circuit board, repeat this step for many times, a multi-layer circuit is generated.

You can print resistor or capacitor on the surface to get a interconnected structure. At Best Technology, we can make all the resistors with the same value, or different value for different resistor on the same board.

What are the different types of ceramic pcbs?

Thick film ceramic PCB has advantages on the simple manufacturing process, but it has some drawbacks that can’t be ignored:

  • Limited by the conductive paste and screen size
  • Line width less than 100um is difficult to achieved
  • Three-dimensional patterns are not available
  • Not suitable for fine-trace project

DBC / DCB Ceramic PCB

Direct Bonded Copper (DBC) or Direct Copper Bonded (DCB) ceramic PCBs are known for their excellent thermal conductivity. They are made by bonding a layer of copper directly onto a ceramic substrate, typically aluminum oxide or aluminum nitride. Due to the DBC technology is directly bond copper on the ceramic substrate, it can achieve thicker copper thickness to 300um. So, it is very suitable for high power applications.

The basic chemistry principle is to introduce an appropriate amount of oxygen between copper and ceramics before or during the application process. Copper and oxygen will form Cu-O eutectic liquid under 1065℃~1083℃. This is an important element in the manufacturing. DBC ceramic circuit board uses this eutectic solution to chemically react with the ceramic substrate to form CuAlO2 or CuAl2O4, achieving the combination between substrate and copper foil.

What are the different types of ceramic pcbs?

However, it is easy to generate micro-porosity between Al2O3 and Copper during the copper bonded process, and it doesn’t have a good solution by far. That is why the yield of DBC ceramic PCB is not good than DPC.

DPC (Direct Plated Copper Ceramic PCB)

DPC ceramic PCB utilizes direct copper plating technology, deposit copper foil on the alumina oxide (Al2O3) substrate. It is the most commonly used ceramic PCB in recent years. The circuit generated process is: pre-treatment – sputtering – exposure – develop – etch – strip – electroplating.

AMB (Active Metal Brazed Ceramic PCB)

AMB ceramic copper clad plate adopts the active brazing process, and the copper layer bonding force is higher than that of DPC, which is around 18n/mm – 21n/mm. AMB ceramic copper clad plate usually has a high binding force, usually makes thicker copper, between 100um and 800um. The AMB ceramic PCB generally rarely design traces or holes, even if there is a trace is very simple, the spacing is relatively wide.

HTCC (High Temperature Co-fired Ceramic PCB)

HTCC is a relatively early development technology, but due to the high sintering temperature (1300~1600℃), the choice of electrode materials is limited. Meanwhile, its cost is more expensive, these promotes the development of HTCC is relatively slow.

What are the different types of ceramic pcbs?

LTCC (Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic PCB)

Although LTCC reduces the co-firing temperature to about 850 ° C, the disadvantage is that the dimensional accuracy and product strength are not easy to control.

Thin Film Ceramic Circuit Board

The thin film ceramic PCB is to deposit a metal layer directly on the surface of substrate by sputtering process. Through lithography, development, etching and other processes, the metal layer can also be graphed into a circuit pattern. Due to the low deposition speed of sputtering coating (generally less than 1μm/h), thin film substrate surface metal layer thickness is small and can prepare high pattern accuracy (line width/line space less than 10μm).

What are the different types of ceramic pcbs?

Common Ceramic Substrates

What are the different types of ceramic pcbs?

Best Technology is a leading ceramic PCB manufacturer in Asia, our core members has over 20 years manufacturing experience in ceramic PCB fabricating. “High mixed, low volume, high quality, fast delivery” is our advantages and we always try our best to do that, make ourselves better and better. If you are interested in it, feel free to contact us, we are always online.

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Leading Ceramic PCB Board Manufacturer – Best Technology
Friday, July 5th, 2024

With the gradual deepening of electronic technology in various application fields, the highly integrated circuit board has become an inevitable trend. Under this situation, the disadvantage of traditional circuit board FR-4 and CIM-3 in TC (thermal conductivity) has become a drawback to delay the development of electronic technology. Though the metal core PCBs are known for their good thermal management, they hard to meet the fast heat dissipation and miniaturization of the devices at the same time. This is why ceramic PCB stands out.

What is Ceramic PCB?

A ceramic PCB is a type of PCB made from ceramic materials, such as alumina (Al2O3), ALN (aluminum nitride), or Beryllium Oxide (BeO). These materials are prepared by using thermal conductive ceramic powder and organic adhesive under the condition of below 250℃. Ceramic powders are not easy to made, especially for aluminum nitride powder, this is one of reasons that why ALN ceramic PCB is more expensive.

There are some different methods to make ceramic PCBs, commonly in the market are thick film, DBC, DPC and thin film technology. Different types of ceramic circuit boards have its unique characteristics. May you heard about HTCC, LTCC and AMB, they are also the ways to make ceramic PCBs, but there just a few manufacturers can make. Here is a HTCC ceramic PCB that we made.

HTCC ceramic PCB

Why Ceramic PCBs are popular used?

Different from the traditional FR-4 PCB (wave fiber), ceramic PCBs have good high-frequency properties, electrical properties that organic materials can’t achieved. It is a new generation of large-scale integrated circuits and power electronics module ideal packaging materials. The main advantages of ceramic circuit board including:

  • Higher thermal conductivity
  • More matched thermal expansion coefficient (CTE)
  • Lower resistance
  • Good weldability and can be used in high temperature
  • Good insulation
  • Lower high-frequency loss
  • High density assembly available
  • No organic ingredients, resistance to cosmic rays, high reliability in aerospace
  • No oxide layer in copper layer, so it can be used for a long time in a reducing atmosphere

Who is the Best Ceramic PCB Manufacturer?

There are so many PCB manufacturers in the domestic and aboard, but reliable ceramic PCB vendors with good quality and reasonable price are very few. If you are looking for an experienced one, then keep the change. We’re the best option! Best Technology offers ceramic PCBs for our customers more than 100k every year, and we are high mixed from thick film ceramic PCB, DPC ceramic PCB, DBC/DCB ceramic PCB to AMB. Your PCBs need to use in automotives? Don’t worry, we gained IATF16949 and ISO13485 certifications, and all the manufacturing processes are strictly followed by ISO9001 quality control system. We welcome all the questions and inquiries from everyone.

Here is our ceramic PCB manufacturing capability for your reference.

Ceramic PCB Manufacturing Capability
No. ItemGeneral ParameterSpecial Process
1SubstrateHigh insulation, chemical corrosion resistance, high-temperature resistanceAl2O3Glass, quartz, sapphire, 99% , 92% Al2O3 (black)
2Excellent thermal conductivity, low thermal expansion coefficient, and high-temperature resistanceAIN
3Insulation performance and high-temperature stabilityZTA
4High strength, high hardness, high thermal conductivity, and low dielectric lossSi3N4
5ConductorTungsten(LTCC/HTCC)、Au、Au&Pd、Au&Pb、Ag、Ag&Pd、Ag&Pb
6Layer CountDPCSingle – Double sided 
7DBCSingle – Double sided 
8AMBSingle – Double sided 
9Thick filmSingle – Double sided, 4L 
10LTCCSingle – Double sided, 4L, 6L6L – 14L
11HTCCSingle – Double sided, 4L, 6L 
12Copper ThicknessInner layer/ 
13Outer layerHoz-3oz (DPC), 3oz-12oz(DBC/AMB) 
14DimensionMax. dimension130*180Larger dimension available (pass evaluation)
15Min. dimension2*2Shipped in panel
16Substrate thicknessAl2O3/AIN 0.38. 0.635, 1.0mm, Si3N4 0.25、0.32mm>1.5
17Surface Treatment
(thickness)
OSP0.2-0.5um/
18ENIG1-3u”(Au)120-320u”(Ni)/
19Immersion silver6-12u”/
20Immersion tin≥1um/
21ENEPIGAu 2u”, Pd 1U”, Ni 100u”/
22Hard gold5-30u”(Au)、120-200u”(Ni)/
23DrillMin. PTH0.05MM/
24Min. NPTH0.05MM/
25Max. aspect ratio (PTH PCB)5:1/
26NTPH tolerance±0.05/
27PTH tolerance±0.05/
28Line width/ Line spacingInner layerLine width≥0.1mm; Line space≥0.1mm0.076/0.076mm
29Outer layer1OZ; Line width≥0.12mm; Line space≥0.12mm0.1/0.1mm
302OZ;Line width≥0.2mm; Line space≥0.2mm0.15/0.15mm
313OZ;Line width≥0.25mm; Line space≥0.25mm0.2/0.2mm
324OZ;Line width≥0.35mm; Line space≥0.35mm0.3/0.3mm
335OZ;Line width≥0.45mm; Line space≥0.45mm0.4/0.4mm
346OZ;Line width≥0.55mm; Line space≥0.55mm0.5/0.5mm
35Thick film; Line width≥0.1mm; Line space≥0.1mm0.076/0.076mm
36Line width tolerance±20%/
37Solder Mask (SM) /SilkscreenConductorGlass glaze, medium, solder mask ink/
38SM colorWhite, black, greenMixed color
39Silkscreen colorWhite, blackMixed color
40Silkscreen height, widthLine width≥0.13mm; Height≥0.8mm/
41SM thickness≥20um/

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2024 Newest Guide to High Thermal Conductivity PCBs
Monday, March 18th, 2024

Currently, with the rapid development of the digital era, the demands and requirements for electronics have increased significantly. Many double-sided and multi-layer boards have high density and power, making it difficult to dissipate heat efficiently. Conventional printed circuit board substrates such as FR4 and CEM3 are poor thermal conductors with interlayer insulation, the heat can’t transfer out, which leading to high-temperature failure of electronic components and devices. So, engineers and researchers are aiming to find high thermal conductivity PCBs to solve such problems, and metal core PCB and ceramic PCB stand out at this time.

Metal core PCB is a type of PCB that made by metal alloy material as the base core, commonly are aluminum core or copper core, rarely is iron PCB. They are popular because of its good heat dissipation properties and good mechanical strength.

What is Aluminum PCB and Why Use It?

Aluminum substrate is a low-alloyed Al-Mg-Si series high-ductility alloy sheet. It exhibits excellent thermal conductivity, electrical insulation properties, and mechanical machinability. Compared to traditional FR-4, with the same thickness and line width, aluminum substrate can carry higher currents, withstanding voltages up to 4500V. Its thermal conductivity coefficient exceeds 2.0.

A normal single side (1L) aluminum core PCB consists of three layers, aluminum base, dielectric layer and copper trace layer. Generally speaking, 1L aluminum PCB is always used for LED lighting, high current LED, spotlight, etc. So it also called LED PCB. For high-end applications, there are also designs for double-sided boards, structured as circuit layer, insulation layer, aluminum base, insulation layer, and circuit layer. In rare cases, multi-layer boards are used, which can be composed of multi-layer FR4 boards laminated to insulation layers and aluminum base.

Aluminum_PCB

The thermal conductivity of aluminum core is range from 1-3W/m.k, the higher conductivity, the better heat dissipation. However, not all the projects is suitable for higher conductivity, it should depend on the specific requirements, such as mechanical strengthen, corrosivity. Nowadays, Best Technology used 6061, 5052, 1060 aluminum alloy as the metal core, others also available if customers have requirements.

How Does Copper Core PCB Works?

Copper substrate is the most expensive type among metal substrates, offering significantly better thermal conductivity compared to aluminum and iron substrates. It is suitable for high-frequency circuits, regions with large temperature variations, and precision communication equipment for heat dissipation purposes, as well as in the construction and decoration industries.

The copper PCB’s circuit layer requires a significant current-carrying capacity, thus necessitating the use of thicker copper foils, typically ranging from 35μm to 280μm in thickness. The thermal insulation layer is the core technology of the copper substrate, composed of aluminum oxide and silicon powder as the main thermal conductive components, filled with a polymer of epoxy resin. It exhibits low thermal resistance (0.15), excellent viscoelastic properties, and possesses the ability to resist thermal aging, withstanding mechanical and thermal stresses.

The metal base layer of the copper substrate serves as its supporting component, requiring high thermal conductivity. It is typically made of copper foil, though copper plate can also be used (with copper PCB offering better thermal conductivity, around 1-400W/m.k). These substrates are suitable for conventional mechanical processing methods such as drilling, punching, and cutting.

Copper_core_PCB

What Are Differences Between Copper and Aluminum PCB?

Though both copper and aluminum are metal core PCB, they still have some differences in characteristic and manufacturing. Knowing their differentiation can help you to understanding and making correct decision in material selection.

  • Material

Copper has excellent electrical conductivity and mechanical strength, so copper PCB is well-suit for high frequency circuits and high-power electronic equipment. While aluminum is slightly inferior to the copper base, so it is a good choice of low-power devices.

  • Cost

Compared with copper, aluminum PCB has much advantages in cost, so if you have limited budget and require to use for low-power equipment such as LED lights, aluminum is the better one.

  • Manufacturing

Due to copper has great hardness and good strengthen, it requires for special technical and complex processes, for example: chemical etching, electro-plating. However, the lightweight of aluminum makes it easy in manufacturing. In addition, PTH (plated through holes) can be created on copper PCBs, but not on aluminum ones.

  • Physical Property

The difference in elastic modulus between copper and aluminum is significant, resulting in less warping and expansion/contraction in copper substrates compared to aluminum substrates.

  • Application

Aluminum PCB is lighter than copper substrate, the material cost is lower, often used in daily LED lights or electronic equipment. Because of its strong thermal conductivity and better electrical conductivity, copper substrate is usually used in high-speed circuits and high energy circuits. In addition, copper substrates are also widely used in areas requiring high heat transfer and heat dissipation performance, such as power amplifiers, power supplies, power tools, automotive engine controllers and solar inverters.

Sink_Pad_PCB

What is Ceramic PCB? And Its Thermal Conductivity?

Ceramic PCB is one of the high thermal conductivity PCBs in this industry. They have good high-frequency properties and electrical properties, and have high thermal conductivity, chemical stability and excellent thermal stability of organic substrates without. It is a new generation of large-scale integrated circuits and power electronics module ideal packaging materials. The thermal conductivity of the ceramic substrate can reach about 220W/ M.K according to the preparation method and the material formula. Theoretically speaking, the thermal conductivity of ceramic circuit made by alumina is 24-28W/m.k, AlN is 150-240W/m.k and for BeO is 22-250W/m.k.

Ceramic PCB can be divided into various types of PCB according to its different PCB manufacturing process, they are thick film, thin film PCB, DPC, DBC, HTCC and LTCC ceramic circuit board. Different types of PCB made in different temperature and uses different materials, this means they have different chemistry and physical properties. So you should take them into consideration when designing a ceramic PCB for your device.

Ceramic_PCB

A Reliable PCB Supplier in China – Best Technology

Whatever you choose metal core PCB or ceramic PCB, a reliable supplier is necessary and needed. Best Technology has extensive manufacturing experience in PCB and we are very confident that we can serve you the best service and high-quality product. With rich experience and strong R&D team, we know how to provide you the best solution and evaluate the design files for you. We have professional DFM (Design For Manufacturing) process to identify the mistakes or inappropriate layout in design. Welcome to contact with us to discuss your PCB projects.

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What Factors Affect the PCB Board Price? How to Keep the Best Price? – Series 1
Saturday, October 28th, 2023

For each development engineer or purchaser, how to keep the cost within the budget is a most irksome and irritating assignment while the PCB has the good quality and enable to perform desired function. They need to understand the computation rule and calculate the developing cost. So, it is worth to knowing the factors that affect the printed circuit board price, and it is a must learn course for every engineers. Herein, Best Technology is going to dissect the factors affect the cost of PCB, let’s move on!

What affects the cost of a PCB?

Drives the cost of PCBs are numerous, we can see from the PCB itself, for example, circuit board substrate materials, the external factors such as the manufacturing difficulties, the whole order quantities and some other special requirements that from designers.

Here, we listing some basic parameter factors which drives the whole cost of a PCB.

  • PCB substrate material

The substrate of PCB board refers to the material used in the non-conductor part of the circuit board, mainly FR4, glass fiber, epoxy resin, polyimide, copper, aluminum and so on. In the PCB manufacturing, glass fiber is widely used in the manufacture of double-sided circuit board and multi-layer board, while epoxy resin and polyimide are used in the manufacture of high-density multi-layer board. Among them, copper substrate is most expensive material. No matter what kind of materials, all of them shall be calculated according to the real-time international price.

  • PCB size (panel and single pcs)

PCB size will determine the price of PCBs, this is for sure. Generally speaking, with a same number of PCB layers, the smaller the PCB size, the cheaper the cost. Because during calculating cost, vendors will consider the utilization rate of raw materials. Make sure the highest utilization, the cost for both purchaser and vender will be best. The raw material of PCBs is commonly 1200mm*1200mm, or 1220mm for special specifications, when the utilization achieves 90% or above, this is the best.

So, how to improve the utilization of raw materials? Normally, manufacturers will optimize the working files (WF) from single size to panel size, and then material will be cut according to the panel files. But if the panel size is not suitable, then there will be a lot of waste edges of raw material in the cutting process, and generally this will be added into your PCB price. So that the unit PCB price will be more expensive. In another word, if you PCB size is well-suited, then it is good for PCB manufacturer and yourself. And at this time, the utilization will be the highest and your PCB cost is the cheapest as well.

  • Line width/spacing

To a certain extent, as long as you are following the PCB design rules, the PCB price will not too high. However, if your design is complex and the line width is extreme thin, then the price will increase since it is difficult to control during manufacturing.

  • PCB layers

According to the IPC standard, PCBs can be classified to single-layer PCB, double sided PCB and multilayer PCB. For layer count over than 2 layers, we called it as Multilayer PCBs, such as 4 layers PCB, 6 layers PCB. For FR4 PCB, we can make up to 32layers.

Due to the manufacturing process and some unpredictable assembling cycles, the more the layers, the more expensive it is. (The price of single side PCB is the similar to double sided PCBs.)

  • Solder mask ink color

In the past, it is no doubt that you will spend more if you want every color expect green. But now things are changeable. Most colors are available at no or very little extra cost, which usually only occurs for unique requests such as matte tones.

  • PCB copper foil thickness

The weight of copper foil depends on the successful utilization of the material. Thicker copper is more expensive and comes with additional manufacturing difficulties and expenses. You may also have to fill the holes with copper foil to connect layers. In addition, heavier copper means you need to spend more cost in shipping. Let’s take a simple example, for aluminum core PCB and copper core PCB, in the same volume and quantities, copper core PCB stands out for expensive shipping cost since it has thicker copper and heavier weight.

  • PCB surface treatment

Surface treatment is a method that using for protecting the surface from corrosion and improve the solderability. Usually, in consideration of environmental friendliness, vendors can use a couple of gold or silver to achieve further safety for use in some applications.

The commonly used surface treatment methods include OSP, IMMERSION SILVER, ENIG, ENEPIG and HASL (LF). Among them, the price is ENEPIG>ENIG>IMMERSION SILVER>OSP>HASL. You can calculate the PCB board price according to the surface treatment method and gold thickness.

  • Quantity and lead time

When developing a new project, almost of companies would like to make prototypes first and ask for a sample quotation. However, some PCB manufacturers will set the minimum order quantity, the smaller the quantity, the higher cost the PCB board. Please make sure to check the price for different amount before placing an official order.

Meanwhile, the delivery time request also will affect the whole price in a certain. And certainly, the price of quick turn order and expedited service will higher than normal order.

  • Other special requirements (impedance, IPC standard)

To ensure the stable transmission of circuit board signals and improve the quality of signal transmission, designers and engineers will ask for impedance control for the traces. This can be seen as special requirements, so it will add a few extra prices. And the required IPC Criteria is a factor as well. Normally, if customer does not have other request, we will default use IPC class II. III level will more expensive.

Above all are the mainly factors that affect the price composition for a printed circuit board. When evaluating your PCB cost, making them in your consideration is best.

PCB and PCBA supplier that can save cost for you – Best Technology

When you are seeking for a reliable PCB and PCBA supplier, I would like to recommend Best Technology to you. Best Tech offers one-stop service including raw material purchasing, PCB making, components searching, assembly, box building and package out of warehouse. What we can provide is not limited to PCB, but also metal core PCB, ceramic PCB, flexible PCB, rigid flex PCB, special PCB like HDI PCB, heavy copper PCB, extra thin PCB and so on. During the 17 years, the Best Technology company has served include medical industry, consumer electronics, new energy, automotive electronics, aerospace, military and others.

Could it be said that you are searching for a PCB supplier that can provide favorable price that lower than market? If this is true, please go ahead and reach us today, let’s talk about more PCB information right now and start our business trip together. We promise, when you decide to take the first step, and we’ll take the remaining 99 steps.

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What Is Ceramic Metallization Technology? – Series 1
Saturday, October 7th, 2023

Due to the different surface structures of ceramic susbtrates and metal materials, welding/soldering often cannot wet the ceramic surface or form a strong bond with it. Therefore, the joining of ceramics and metals is a special process, which called as metallization.

What Ceramic Metallization Technology Is?

Ceramic metallization refers to the process of firmly attaching a thin layer of metal film to the surface of a ceramic material to achieve a bond between the ceramic and metal. There are various methods for ceramic metallization, commonly including molybdenum-manganese (Mo-Mn) method, directly copper plate (DPC), directly bonded copper (DBC), active metal brazed (AMB) method and more.

Which Ceramics Can Be Used Metallization Technology?

At present, there are four common ceramic substrates that always used for metallization, they are BeO, Al2O3, AlN and Si3O4. But different ceramic has different characteristics, so its metallization method also is different.

  • BeO Ceramic

The most common method for metallizing BeO ceramics is the Mo-Mn method. This involves applying a paste-like mixture of pure metal powders (Mo, Mn) and metal oxides to the ceramic surface, followed by high-temperature heating in a furnace to form a metal layer.

  • Al2O3 Ceramic

The primary metallization methods for Al2O3 ceramics are DBC and DPC. This method involves placing a treated copper foil on the surface of Al2O3 ceramics, introducing an inert gas with a certain oxygen content, and then heating. During heating, the copper surface undergoes oxidation, and when the temperature reaches the eutectic liquid phase region, a eutectic liquid phase is formed, wetting both Al2O3 ceramics and copper, achieving a tight bond. In a chemical sense, the adhesion used by DBC is stronger than DPC since it has thicker copper.

  • AlN Ceramic

Common methods for AlN ceramics include DBC and Active Metal Brazing (AMB). DBC is similar to the method used for Al2O3 ceramics but requires pre-oxidation treatment of AlN ceramics since AlN is a non-oxide ceramic. AMB involves connecting AlN ceramics and copper foils using active metal brazing materials, often Ag-Cu-Ti alloys.

  • Si3N4 Ceramic

Si3N4 ceramics cannot be directly metallized using the direct copper plating method because they do not generate an oxide layer on the surface like AlN ceramics. Si3N4 ceramics are typically connected to metals using the AMB method, where chemical reactions between Si3N4 and active metals (Ti, Cr, V) form continuous nitride layers at the interface.

What is the Metallization Temperature?

During the metallization process, the sinter temperature should be controlled strictly. Normally, it can be divided into four ranges:

  • Ultra-High Temperature (Above 1600°C):

This temperature range is reserved for specific applications where extreme heat resistance is required.

  • High Temperature (1450°C to 1600°C):

High temperatures are essential to ensure that the glass phase spreads and migrates effectively, enabling a strong bond. However, excessively high temperatures can lead to reduced metallization strength.

  • Mid-Temperature (1300°C to 1450°C):

This range is chosen to balance the need for effective metallization with the preservation of material properties.

  • Low Temperature (Below 1300°C):

Lower temperatures are used when the primary concern is avoiding thermal stress on the materials involved.

Proper high sintering temperature is necessary, otherwise, the glass phase will not spread and migrate. But if the temperature is too high, the metallization strength will be poor. So, choose a suitable temperature is important to make sure the metallization effective.

This is all the information about metallization technology, in our next blog, we will delve into what factors will affect the metallization. If you are interested in metallization or other technologies about ceramic circuit boards, please leave your message and keep your eyes in Best Technology website.

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Why do ceramic substrates contribute to the breakthrough of 905nm lidar technology?
Friday, September 1st, 2023

LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging, referred to as “LiDAR”) measurement is a system that integrates three technologies: laser, GPS (Global Positioning System), and IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit, inertial measurement unit), used to obtain data and Generate accurate DEMs (Digital Elevation Models). The combination of these three technologies can highly accurately locate the spot of the laser beam on the object, and the ranging accuracy can reach the centimeter level. The biggest advantage of lidar is accurate, fast, and efficient operation.

Lidar is currently widely used in the field of driverless cars and robots. It is known as the “eye” of a generalized robot. It is an active measurement device that measures the precise distance between an object and a sensor by emitting laser light.

  As an indispensable sensor for L3 and above automatic driving, lidar has significantly improved the reliability of the automatic driving system with its excellent ranging capability, high angular resolution and sensitivity to ambient light, and has become the key to improving reliability. A key element of autonomous driving systems, but its application is constrained by cost and technical challenges.

  In the past, lidar was difficult to apply to mass-produced vehicles due to its high cost. However, recently, with the continuous evolution of technology and market competition, the cost of lidar has gradually decreased, thereby accelerating its application in the field of autonomous driving.

In this evolution process, the emergence of ceramic substrates has played a vital role in the breakthrough of lidar technology – 905nm wavelength lidar has become mainstream. Traditional materials such as FR-4 and FE-3 are difficult to meet the high heat dissipation requirements of lidar, while ceramic substrates rely on their excellent thermal conductivity. For example, the thermal conductivity of aluminum nitride ceramic substrates is as high as 200W/M.K. It effectively solves the heat dissipation problem and provides a guarantee for the stability and life of the lidar.

In lidar, the transmitter is one of the links with the highest value and the highest barriers. On the transmitter side, with the rise of China’s domestic industrial chain and the adjustment of the overall technical route of the industry, among them, 905nm VCSEL laser chips and other products have achieved breakthroughs in the market and become a hot topic in the industry.

The “heart” of the transmitter is the light source. Laser transmitter is the core component of laser technology, and its composition includes laser working medium, excitation source and resonant cavity. In this system, why choose a ceramic substrate as a component? The main reason lies in its unique advantages in heat dissipation. Especially for VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) chips, due to their low power conversion efficiency, the problem of heat dissipation is particularly prominent. The application of ceramic substrates has become the best choice to solve the problem of thermoelectric separation.

The ceramic substrate has excellent heat dissipation performance and can effectively conduct the heat generated inside the laser transmitter. The high thermal conductivity of the ceramic substrate allows it to efficiently conduct heat generated inside the lidar, preventing performance degradation due to overheating. In addition, ceramic materials have the advantages of high strength, hardness, thermal shock resistance, insulation, and chemical stability, which can further extend the service life of products, improve sensitivity, and enhance the response speed of lidar.

Ceramic substrates also enable high-density assembly, supporting miniaturization and integration of devices. Its stability ensures that the sensor signal is not distorted, and the matching with the thermal expansion coefficient of the chip ensures the reliability of the product in harsh environments such as high temperature, high vibration, and corrosion. In addition, the metal crystallization performance of the ceramic substrate is excellent, which ensures the stability of the circuit and further improves the quality control level of the lidar.

As a leading manufacturer of ceramic substrates, Best Technology provides a variety of ceramic substrates of different materials, including 96% alumina, 99% alumina, aluminum nitride, zirconia, silicon nitride, sapphire ceramic bases, etc. The heat dissipation properties of these different materials are different, such as aluminum nitride (AlN): thermal conductivity of 170-230 W/mK, silicon nitride (Si3N4): thermal conductivity of 20-80 W/mK, sapphire (Al2O3): thermal conductivity Coefficient 25-40W/mK.

Therefore, choosing a high-quality ceramic substrate not only helps to solve the problem of thermal and electrical separation of laser emitters, but also provides stable heat dissipation and electrical performance, providing reliable support for efficient operation and performance improvement of laser emitters. In the development of lidar technology, ceramic substrates play an increasingly important role, providing key support for performance breakthroughs and innovations in laser transmitters. We are witnessing a revolution in the auto industry brought about by China’s autonomous driving assistance systems.

If you are designing a ceramic PCB and seeking a reliable manufacturer, welcome to leave you message or contact us directly.

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What is the DBC Ceramic Copper Oxidation Technology
Monday, February 20th, 2023

DBC (Direct Bond Copper) ceramic PCB also known as DCB ceramic, which is widely used in various type of high-power semiconductor, especially in IGBT package material by means of its excellent electricity and thermal conductivity of copper and the advantages of high mechanical strength and low dielectric loss of ceramics. DBC technology uses the oxygen-containing eutectic solution of copper to directly apply it to the ceramic. The key factor in the preparation process is the introduction of oxygen element, so the copper foil needs to be pre-oxidized in advance. Do you want to know what is the copper foil oxidation technology during the DBC ceramics manufacturing? Hereinbelow, we will introduce the oxidation process for you.

Oxidation technology of copper foil

Copper oxidation is divided into Wet Air Oxidation (including soaking oxidation and spraying oxidation) and Dry Oxidation.  Both oxidation methods can form CuO or Cu2O on the surface of copper foil.

  • Wet Air Oxidation (WAO)

i. Soaking oxidation

First, the copper is pickled with 3% dilute sulfuric acid, and then washed by the spray washing machine after overflow. Next, sent the copper into the mixed solution of potassium permanganate and copper sulfate (the concentration of potassium permanganate is about 31.6mg/L and the copper sulfate is about 95.4mg/L) for soaking and oxidation.  The oxidized copper is then washed with water and three-stage countercurrent washing, and then slowly pulled for dehydration and drying (the temperature is about 100℃) to complete soaking and oxidation.

ii. Spraying oxidation

Spraying oxidation is a kind of WAO, only the oxidation method become spraying. Spray oxidation is to spray copper with mixed solution of manganese nitrate and copper nitrate (concentration of about 3%) after pickling and washing.  The sprayed copper is dried directly in the tunnel kiln (the temperature is about 200℃).  In the drying process of tunnel kiln, the manganese nitrate and copper nitrate sprayed on the copper sheet are decomposed into copper oxide and manganese oxide.  The ratio of soaking oxidation and spraying oxidation treatment of copper sheet is about 5:5.

  • Dry Oxidation

Dry oxidation is very easy to process, put the copper into oxidation oven firstly, then heating up to 600~800oC for oxidizing around 30mins and then subjected to air cooling annealing.

Wet Air Oxidation VS Dry Oxidation

At present, the existing industry is widely used to finish the high-temperature annealing oxidation of copper then sintering with ceramic substrate, that is dry oxidation.  But this high temperature annealing, oxidation in one way has some drawbacks as following:

  1. Uneven oxidation. It will directly cause sintering defects during sintering, and the peeling strength will change greatly.
  2. Leaving conveyor belt marks.  Because the high temperature and oxidation process is transported by the conveyor belt, the existence of the conveyor belt mesh will affect the temperature distribution of the entire copper is not uniform, leaving marks/traces of the conveyor belt.  The result of sintering is to leave the corresponding trace on the bonding surface of CuAl2O3.
  3. High temperature annealing and oxidation will accompany the grain growth of copper. In the subsequent sintering process, the grain will continue to grow, which brings adverse effects on the mechanical properties and surface treatment of copper.  The copper surface grain produced by wet oxidation is fine, which is conducive to improving the mechanical properties of copper and eliminating the traces of conveyor belt. The main difference between wet oxidation and dry oxidation is shown in the bending resistance, heat resistance cycle performance and peeling strength, and these three indicators are significantly better than dry oxidation. Wet oxidation products can better meet the requirements of bending strength and heat resistance cycle performance.

So, this is the end of this post, Best Technology specialized in fabricating ceramic PCB (including DBC, DPC, AMB, HTCC and LTCC technology) for more than 16 years, we have rich engineering team and professional sales team can provide one-stop service for you. Welcome to contact us if you have any inquiries about ceramic PCB.

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Laser drilling and cutting in the production process of ceramic circuit boards
Monday, July 12th, 2021

In the ceramic circuit board processing and production process, laser processing mainly includes laser drilling and laser cutting.

Ceramic materials such as alumina and aluminum nitride have the advantages of high thermal conductivity, high insulation and high temperature resistance, and have a wide range of applications in the fields of electronics and semiconductors. However, ceramic materials have high hardness and brittleness, and its molding and processing are very difficult, especially the processing of micropores. Due to the high power density and good directivity of the laser, lasers are generally used to perforate ceramic plates. Laser ceramic perforation generally uses pulsed lasers or quasi-continuous lasers (fiber lasers). The laser beam is focused on On the workpiece placed perpendicular to the laser axis, a laser beam with high energy density (105-109w/cm2) is emitted to melt and vaporize the material. An air stream coaxial with the beam is ejected by the laser cutting head to remove the melted material from The bottom of the incision is blown out to gradually form a through hole.

Due to the small size and high density of electronic devices and semiconductor components, the precision and speed of laser drilling are required to be high. According to the different requirements of component applications, electronic devices and semiconductor components have small size and high density. Due to its characteristics, the precision and speed of laser drilling are required to be high. According to the different requirements of component applications, the diameter of the micro-hole is in the range of 0.05 to 0.2 mm. For lasers used for ceramic precision processing, generally the focal spot diameter of the laser is less than or equal to 0.05mm. Depending on the thickness and size of the ceramic plate, it is generally possible to control the defocus to achieve through-hole punching of different apertures. For through-holes with a diameter less than 0.15mm, drilling can be achieved by controlling the defocus amount.

There are mainly two types method for cutting ceramic PCB: waterjet cutting and laser cutting. Currently, fiber lasers are mostly used for laser cutting. Fiber laser cutting ceramic circuit boards has the following advantages:

(1) High precision, fast speed, narrow cutting seam, small heat-affected zone, smooth cutting surface without burrs.

(2) The laser cutting head will not touch the surface of the material and will not scratch the workpiece.

(3) The slit is narrow, the heat-affected zone is small, the local deformation of the workpiece is extremely small, and there is no mechanical deformation.

(4) The processing flexibility is good, it can process any graphics, and it can also cut pipes and other special-shaped materials.

Al2O3 PCB with drilling
AlN PCB with drilling

 Under the development trend of light and thin, miniaturization, etc., the traditional cutting processing method has not been able to meet the demand due to the insufficient precision. Laser is a non-contact processing tool, which has obvious advantages over traditional processing methods in cutting process, and plays a very important role in the processing of ceramic substrate PCB.

Please contact sales@bestpcbs.com if you want to know more ceramic PCB.

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