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An Overview of Ceramic Substrate PCB
Ceramic substrate PCB is an organic ceramic circuit board made of thermally conductive ceramic powder and an organic binder to produce a substrate with thermal conductivity of 9-20W/m.k at 250°C.
The highly integrated PCB has become an unstoppable trend with the gradual advancement of electronics in various applications. The highly integrated package module will require an excellent thermal load-bearing system. However, the TC (thermal conductivity) of traditional FR-4 and CEM-3 PCBs need to be better to satisfy the needs of electronic technology. Over the years, the LED industry has been developing rapidly, and for better product performance, the thermal conductivity index of LED PCBs needs to meet higher requirements.
In the field of high-power LED, they will use excellent heat dissipation performance materials like metal and ceramic etc., for their PCB production, the thermal conductive of high heat conduction aluminium substrate PCB usually are 1 – 4 W/m.k. Still, the thermal conductive of ceramic substrate PCB can reach around 200 W/m.k according to the difference in production methods and material formula.
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Viasion offers efficient ceramic substrate PCB production and ensures that PCBs are produced with the highest levels of accuracy and precision.
Viasion strives to create ceramic substrate PCBs that meet exacting standards for accuracy and quality.
Viasion can provide a full range of ceramic PCB solutions, including PCB design, fabrication, assembly, testing, inspection, etc. Our complete ceramic substrate PCB services will significantly satisfy your needs.
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Some Categories of Ceramic Substrate:
The ceramic PCB substrate is divided into crystalline glass and glass and filler, mainly using Al2O3. The surface conductive pattern materials are copper, silver, palladium, platinum, etc., and they also use suitable stability materials like tungsten and molybdenum. Now let’s glimpse at the four types of the traditional ceramic substrate preparation method ( composite made from raw materials ). Viasion is good at all of the ceramic PCBs manufacturing.
Classification of Ceramic substrate:
1. Classification by materials of ceramic PCB substrates:
2. Classification by circuit production method of ceramic substrates:
Some Important Production Technologies of Ceramic Substrate PCB
Ceramic substrate PCB typically uses laser drilling for the drilling process. DPC gradually replaces traditional LTCC and DBC technology, but laser technology is more suitable for high-density interconnection and fine development of PCB. The multilayer ceramic PCB drilling by laser drilling technology, the binding force between ceramic and metal will be high.
Therefore, it will not have a fall-off, blistering etc. phenomenon and then achieve the effect of growing together. It also has high surface flatness and low roughness in 0.1 um – 0.3 um; the hole size for laser drilling is 0.15 mm – 0.5 mm, and it even can reach 0.06 mm.
China’s laser drilling technology has gained some experience and technical progress. Laser drilling has high accuracy, speed, and efficiency compared to traditional drilling technology. It is suitable for large-scale batch quantitative drilling, is proper to use in most rigid or soft materials, has no loss for drilling tools, has fewer waste materials, is environmentally friendly and pollution-free, etc.
A Canadian company developed CO2 laser technology. Compared with standard laser technology, its output rate is higher, about one hundred to one thousand times, and accessible to production simultaneously.
In the electromagnetic spectrum, radio frequency in the frequency range of 105-109 Hz, RF CO2 is developed with the development of military aerospace technology, medium and small power RF CO2 laser devices have characteristics like excellent modulation performance, power stability, high operation reliability, long service life etc.
Although the process of CO2 laser drilling is complicated, but also has advantages, such as efficiency and high speed, so CO2 laser drilling can account for 80% of the PCB laser microporous processing market.
Copper-clad means covering copper in an area that does not have circuits in PCB. The copper will connect with the ground wire to increase the ground wire area, reduce the ring circuit area, lower pressure drop, and improve power efficiency and anti-interference capability.
Copper-clad can reduce the impedance of ground wire and the sectional area of the loop and increase the signal mirror loop. So, copper-clad technology is critical in ceramic substrate PCB technology because not completing or truncating the mirror loop or incorrectly placing the copper layer will cause new interference and harm PCB use.
We you get your ceramic PCB designed, you can rely on us for your ceramic PCB fabrication.
Production technology of ceramic substrate PCB: Etching
1. Etching method for ceramic substrate PCB:
Ceramic substrates also require etching, where a lead-tin coating is first pre-plated on the circuit diagram and then chemically etched with unprotected copper at non-conductor locations to form the circuit layer. Depending on the process method, etching is divided into inner-layer etching and outer-layer etching. Inner layer etching uses acid etching and will use wet or dry film as resist; outer layer etching uses alkaline etching and tin-lead. So we need to pay attention to etching method when produce ceramic printed circuit boards.
1. Prepare ceramic substrate PCB material. Pre-treat the ceramic substrate with an oxidizing solution to remove any surface contamination. Immerse ceramic in an alkaline etching solution for a specific period. Rinse ceramic substrate in water or other neutralizing agents.
2. Activate ceramic substrate PCB material by subjecting it to an acid etch solution for a specific time. Then, remove surface contamination with a clean ceramic brush or other abrasive cleaning material.
3. Apply ceramic substrate PCB masking material such as ceramic coating or ceramic film. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the application of ceramic masking material.
4. Place ceramic substrate PCB in the etching bath and follow appropriate etching parameters to achieve the desired pattern on the ceramic substrate. Rinse ceramic substrate in water or neutralizing agent and dry ceramic substrate before further processing.
5. Remove ceramic masking material and inspect the ceramic substrate surface for defects.
6. Clean the ceramic substrate to remove any residue from the etching process.
7. Prepare ceramic substrate PCB material for final packaging.
1. Prepare ceramic substrate PCB boards with a copper surface. Next, immerse the ceramic circuit board into a Cupric chloride solution. Next, agitate the ceramic PCB in the solution for desired etching time. Finally, rinse off any excess acid from ceramic PCBs with water.
2. To etch ceramic PCBs with Cupric chloride:
Prepare ceramic substrate boards with a copper surface to accomplish desired design specifications.
Submerge the ceramic PCB into a Cupric chloride solution and agitate the ceramic circuit board in the solution for the required etching time.
Rinse any excess acid from ceramic PCBs with water to inhibit any damage.
3. Carefully inspect etched ceramic printed circuits and clean and dry them with a soft cloth or clean air blower for best results.
2. The common problems and improvement for etching technology
Because the concentration of liquid medicine is a little low, the speed is too fast, and nozzle clogging will cause film removal, not cleaning problems. So need to check the concentration of liquid medicine before film removal, adjust the concentration of liquid mixture to the appropriate range, and adjust the speed parameter and dredging nozzle on time.
Set the appropriate etching transport speed
Check the composition of the chemical solution before etching
Pay attention to avoid copper contamination during the operation
Clean the nozzle in time to avoid nozzle clogging
Adjust the temperature to a suitable range
Ceramic Substrate PCB vs PCBs Made of Other Substrates
1. Ceramic substrate PCB vs Metal substrate PCB
Ceramic substrate materials are very suitable for making PCBs in the electronics field because of their high thermal conductivity (heat transfer can remove 170W), good chemical stability, good thermal strength, high-temperature resistance, corrosion resistance and sound insulation, and high melting point.
And they can adapt to many fields like high temperature, corrosive environment, high vibration frequency environment etc. Also, the ceramic circuit board insulating layer has high frequency and low dielectric constant, and its manufacturing process in lighter, thinner, and miniaturized are easier to achieve.
The disadvantages of ceramic printed circuit boards are also very obvious. For example, ceramic materials are very fragile, can not make lamination like other multi-layer PCB, and are expensive. And because the high hardness and density make its production relatively tricky. Ceramic material has low toughness, fragile, so the scrap rate is relatively high in each process. The final surface metallization is also a high equipment cost in the early stage.
So for raw materials, ceramic materials are much more expensive than traditional materials, some even more expensive, 3-10 times more than conventional materials.
The metal substrate is a metal PCB material that belongs to general electronic components and is formed by a thermal insulation layer, metal substrate and metal foil. It has particular magnetic conductivity, excellent heat dissipation, high mechanical strength, good processing performance etc. Application in various high-performance floppy disk drives, brushless DC motors for computers, complete automatic camera motors and some military cutting-edge technology products. Currently, most metal substrates on the market are copper and aluminum substrates.
The good thermal conductivity and heat dissipation of ceramic PCB are outstanding advantages compared to metal substrate PCB. But, of course, if your PCB is used in some small power supply products, it does not require much heat dissipation. Therefore, copper and aluminum substrates are suitable, and the cost is much lower.
The differences between ceramic PCB and high-frequency PCB
B. Different performance & applications
|Ceramic PCB||High-frequency PCB|
The differences between ceramic PCB and FR-4 PCB:
A. Different materials
B. Different applications
|Ceramic PCB||FR-4 PCB|
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Frequently Asked Questions
There are several types of circuits which can be used with ceramic PCBs. The following are some examples.
Heat dissipation circuits
Power supply circuits
Temperature compensation circuits
The following is a simplified manufacturing process for ceramic PCBs.
Prepare the raw material → inner layer copper trace etching → laminating → drilling → out layer copper trace → solder mask printing → surface treatment → silkscreen printing → open/short testing → final quality inspection → packaging.
Yes, we have very rich experience in production of ceramic multilayer PCB. Please get in touch with our sales team to get a free quote for your ceramic PCB fabrication.
1. The substrates are different;
2. The usages are different;
3. Costs are different: the copper-clad ceramic substrate is much more expensive;
4, Different in production: the ceramic PCB manufacturing process is more difficult.
When designing ceramic PCBs, we must not take the design lightly and should keep several considerations in mind.
When designing a ceramic PCB, we should carefully select the dielectric material for the desired application.
Controlled impedance are always needed in ceramic PCBs, so designers should calculate the impedance value according to the material parameters (Er), copper thickness, copper width/space, dielectric thickness, etc.
Since ceramic material is much more expensive than FR4 material, a ceramic circuit board design should consider the PCB cost and the overall application price.
If we identify potential problems early in the design process, we can ensure success in later stages. With careful planning, ceramic PCBs can provide excellent solutions for various applications. Please get in touch with us freely if you have any questions regarding ceramic PCBs.
Our standard lead time for PCB production is around 1-3 weeks. But sometimes, we may need a few weeks to buy special ceramic material. So, conditions like material type and technology used on the PCB will determine the exact lead time for ceramic PCB manufacturing.
The following factors determine the ceramic PCB cost.
Substrate material (most critical part);
Quantity per batch;
Process Technology, such as blind/buried vias;
Difficulty in manufacturing, such as very tight impedance tolerance, tight copper width tolerance;
Other special requirements.
The materials are different:
Teflon is a kind of polyimide material, which is a special kind of high-performance plastic. But ceramic is a kind of compound made of boron nitride, beryllium oxide and silicon carbide.
Usages are different:
Teflon PCBs are always used for microwave and RF applications. But ceramic materials are usually reinforced with a combination of other materials, so ceramic substrates are more widely used.
PCB production process and techniques are different:
This is because the characteristics of the two kinds of materials are totally different.