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10 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 Alun Morgan on the Future of PCB Materials Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team The I-Connect007 editorial team asked Alun Morgan, technology ambassador for Ventec International Group, to discuss materials at a high level. Our conversation delivered a de- tailed overview of the current state of the elec- tronics industry. Put industry experts like Alun Morgan, Happy Holden, Patty Goldman, Barry Matties, Andy Shaughnessy, and Nolan John- son together on the topic of materials, and the results are enlightening, to say the least. Barry Matties: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Alun. We always appreciate the conversation. Nolan Johnson: Today's topic is materials, and as you know, there's a great deal of demand from automotive, IoT, and other new technolo- gies. These sectors are pushing the limits for designers and materials. We want to investi- gate what's going on with the development of materials in the marketplace. Matties: Also, there are so many choices out there. How do people navigate the options and make the proper choice? Alun Morgan: That's always a challenge. People publish lots of data sheets on new products, so it is difficult sometimes. Right now, there are a few drivers. The last driver was reliability, and the last transition for the past 15–20 years has been to improve reliability. Also, 5G is very hot and an enabler to help us move on with IoT, autonomous driving, etc. Now, we're seeing a huge demand for products that will help en- able the 5G rollout and revolution, which is coming towards the end of this year. Further, 5G brings a lot of issues because of the data rates. An entire infrastructure will have to be built. It's probably the next big roll- out of infrastructure since the technology boom around the late '90s with the huge amount of infrastructure built into the network that we're still using today. There are two parts that con- cern PCB materials—the dielectric and con- ductor—and both have challenges with high speed. Normally, in the digital space, people run 10– 20 Gbps fairly routinely, and that can be man- aged. But once you reach higher speeds and data rates—as we've seen with radar products, for example—then the substrate itself becomes a bit of an issue because the substrate is a di - electric. It can be polarized by high-frequency signals, so if you think back to when they Alun Morgan

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