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82 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2020 Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Chris Ryder of ESI explains the thought pro- cess behind an OEM's decision to embed a component and the typical pros and cons that must be considered before trying to adopt this rather tricky process. Nolan Johnson: Why don't you start by telling us about your company's experience with em- bedding components. Chris Ryder: From a laser-drilling perspective, we are responsible for creating that intercon- nect. There are different ways to do it, but in general, you begin with a component lodged between two copper layers and drill from the copper layer to the component termination, whether it's an end termination or an I/O grid array. Any challenge here is typically linked to the required positional accuracy, via size, and/ or material stackup. Materials within or surrounding the compo- nent can be more sensitive to thermal loading. They may include secondary materials, such as polyimide, between the component and the adjacent copper layer. The danger is creating a thermal load during drilling that could poten- tially lead to overheating the material, creating a potential for later delamination. Ideally, we would limit such thermal damage to the component or any sub-layers. It comes down to a finite amount of energy that we can manage with our via drilling system's capabili- ties. Being able to define exactly how much energy is displaced over time to create that via is key to the success of the entire construct, and product yield is crucial, considering how expensive boards become when you embed a component. ESI's systems support the power control and accuracy needed to meet these de- mands. I see some great opportunities for ESI in this growing market, especially for our new Geode system. Johnson: For board assemblies with active parts embedded, the assemblies are required to be stable and long-lasting in production. They're going to do this for applications only The Current State of Embedded Active Components Chris Ryder

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