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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2018 support engineering and application develop- ment. Benchmark is launching full production with the RF High-Speed Design Center of Inno- vation, circuit fab, micro-electronics assembly, SMT assembly and test—all within the same pr o- cess flow, all focused on next generation high- speed and RF technology needs . We are very proud to be part of this effort, which has nev - er been done this way in the EMS industry. We work directly with the Lark RF Technology sub- sidiary of Benchmark, and Daniel Everitt, Bench- mark's VP and GM of Lark, will be presenting at the upcoming EDICon confer ence in October. Beaulieu: Why did you choose to go in this di- rection? Rathburn: The original development plan was to create a circuit-plus-socket technology fam- ily with tuned performance for the semicon- ductor test customer. Historically, the chip pro- ducer tests the device to make sure it will func- tion properly in the final system. Typically, the signal integrity requirements for test have been much more stringent than actual system use to make sure everything in the system works to- gether. As system performance and complex- ity has evolved, in many cases it is no longer good enough to test outside of the actual usage model. This development has evolved further to the point where many end systems need to have the performance previously needed only at test. Our technology can provide the best performance in both test and commercial mar- kets. In the end, the purpose of the technology is to provide a new way of designing and fab- ricating high-performance printed circuits with high-density. Beaulieu: What markets are interested in using this technology? Rathburn: One of the most exciting aspects of the technology is the various markets it can apply to. In the past, the mil/aero/defense/sat- ellite/space/test industries were the main driv- ers of RF and MW technologies. In the world we have today and in the pending future, high- speed digital, mobile/wireless, automotive, low-power mixed signal, and analog technol- ogies all kind of need the same precision cir- cuitry fabrication techniques. From aerospace and defense, to consumer electronics, to med- ical markets, the principles of size reduction with performance improvement available from a company like Benchmark that can design, produce and test volume is very compelling. The best part from a design perspective is the technology is basically the same regardless of the market. Additionally, there is a broad range and mix of industries we are working with. The milaero/ defense industry is probably the area that has lacked this type of capability to date and there is a large focus in the community towards het- erogeneous integration and advanced pack- aging. These types of engagements typically start with an incumbent technology with eval- uations as to how to make the existing better near term then explore longer term qualifica- tion with a more integrated approach. High- speed data, processing, memory, wireless/RF applications all have interests that are much shorter life cycles and driven by systems and silicon development. With the onset of 5G deployments, smart ve- hicle and automotive communications, flexi- ble displays, high-speed data/optical process- ing and storage along with the mil/aero needs, Figure 1: 12-layer LCP PCB with hybrid rigid core and LCP high-speed signal layers.

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