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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2019 of leadership that they think they deserve. If you're another board house, and you're do- ing the same thing that 20 other board hous- es are doing, it probably isn't going to work out. Now, if you've taken the process that you use to communicate with customers, get your boards produced, and help build the industry and take it to new levels, that's also an ideal customer; I talked to a company at PCB West that does that. Johnson: How long has your team been doing this? Peterson: I'm actually a physicist by train- ing. I've been a researcher for over 10 years, and I have a number of publication credits. I started out in optics and optoelectronics, so I have a broad research background that originally spanned into sensors and then op- toelectronic devices, semiconductors, and nano-particle lasers. I left the academic side and moved to the corporate side two years ago and haven't looked back. It has been ful- filling to work with companies and to be able to provide real solutions that I know people are looking for. One of the things that hap- pens in academia is you do a lot of research and writing, and maybe 10 people or 20 peo- ple will cite your work, and you're lucky to solve one problem for every 10 people. With producing content for electronics companies and small startups, it's gratifying to see them grow and see a larger engagement from their target audience. Johnson: Looking at the industry, what are some of your key observations? Peterson: Opening up into higher frequencies is huge. I think the highest, broadest commer- cially available product that runs at 10s of GHz that I've seen is car and UAV radar. Now, we're hitting close to 100 GHz in these systems, and that's not to say that there are things that run at much higher frequencies because there are. But we're talking about something you would buy as a regular purchase. And I think we're going to see the boundaries being pushed far- ther into the higher frequencies. Obviously, I have to be able to do mixed-signal and digi- tal, but I'm more of an analog guy. I love ana- log design; that's why I have an RF designer around when I need one. A lot of the stuff I've been writing about recently has been on ana- log design. The other thing that you're going to see from the manufacturing side is a move to greater connectivity within the factory. You're also going to see a greater move toward 3D print- ing and additive. I don't normally like to shout out specific companies, but Nano Dimension is an innovative company in the 3D-printing space. Others also do 3D printing for PCBs, but I find Nano Dimension's process interesting. In the future, you'll see more than just additive manufacturing for PCBs; you'll also see addi- tive manufacturing for components, including semiconductor devices. Currently, you can do conductive compo- nents, like you can do an electromagnetic coil; you can do an inductor or a capacitor by using the substrate as the dielectric. As the range of materials expands with any 3D printing system and starts to encroach on the organic semiconductor range of materials, which is a giant class of materials, you'll start to see low-temperature processes that are use- ful for 3D printing the actual semiconductor components. Eventually, we'll see a lithogra- phy process that's used to get down to small gate sizes. Now, you can 3D print transistors without having to use silicon, and you can do the board, transistors, and conductors all in one shot. Johnson: Which starts to look a lot like true 3D printing. It has been fulfilling to work with companies and to be able to provide real solutions that I know people are looking for.

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