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64 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2022 Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Nolan Johnson meets with Isola's Ed Kelley at DesignCon and takes a tour of the dynamics in play in the materials market. As Isola pre- pares to roll out an extremely low-loss, halo- gen-free product, Kelley says the company continues to work on how to make the prod- uct reproducible and available to customers around the world. Nolan Johnson: What's front of mind for you and Isola in the materials market? Ed Kelley: ere are so many areas I could cover, but I'll start with 5G as something criti- cal. It's been talked about for a long time, and even with the 5G rollout, there's still more to do. If you break 5G down into low-, mid-, and high-band, most of the rollout has been low- and mid-band. But the high-band applica- tions get interesting for base material suppliers and others in the supply chain because, where there are very high operating frequencies, peo- ple are looking for extremely low loss materi- als. Every piece of the base material is criti- cal—the resin system, reinforcement, and the copper foil. ere's a lot to consider. We do a lot of work developing extremely low loss resin systems because a lot goes into them, not just polymers, but fillers and flame retardants as well. Low Dk fiberglass cloth has become common as a reinforcement. e next-generation low-Dk glasses are more avail- able now than a year ago, though still not at full commercial scale, and we're looking at alterna- tive types of reinforcements to achieve certain characteristics. Much of the loss at higher fre- quencies is due to conductor loss, creating a need for copper foils with lower and lower sur- face profiles. How do you ensure those low-profile cop- pers stick to your dielectric material and give you a reliable printed circuit board? It's one Breaking Down the Current Materials Market Ed Kelley

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