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Design007-Oct2021

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98 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 "Additive electronics" is a broad term in our industry. To many, this suggests 3D printing and the processes used to form circuit patterns with these additive methods. To others, this term conjures the image of newer PCB fabri- cation techniques that use semi-additive PCB fabrication processes to realize line width and space below the traditional 75-micron (3-mil) capabilities that are typically seen with sub- tractive etch processing. While both have interesting applications, the latter technology is the focus for this column. Recently, having the opportunity to attend two different ses- sions focused on additive electronics has driven home the fact that this technology is rapidly gaining momentum outside of the traditional high volume smartphone market, and is being adopted by several PCB fabricators offering low volume/high mix. Both events were very well attended, and these fabrication advance- ments are clearly catching the attention of the PCB design community. For those new to these PCB technology advances, let's start with a few definitions: • Subtractive etch process: Traditional process used to fabricate printed circuit boards. is process begins with copper- clad laminate, which is masked and etched (copper is subtracted) to form traces • Additive PCB fabrication: Starting with bare dielectric, this process utilizes addi- tive process steps, rather than subtractive process steps to form traces • mSAP: Modified, semi-additive process, adopted from IC fabrication practices Additive Electronics— Are You One of the Curious? PCB Talk by Tara Dunn, AVERATEK

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