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98 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2020 designs that I've seen where I have recom- mended only using VeCS. You can use VeCS where you need the dense signal routing in a Faraday cage-type shielding, and then you leave these large channels open because of how it routes. Every other row, there are no vias so that you have very large channels. In those channels, you take advantage of high power, put through-holes that are only power, and allow yourself the channel escape there. People say, "The GPU technology and the FP- GA accelerator technology both need 0.7-mil- limeter chips now, and they need 0.6 in two years." I'd ask, "Okay, what are the PCB solu- tions for buildup?" Their response might be, "But they don't give me the SI advantages I need." VeCS can do 0.5 millimeters—not just 0.6 with much thicker dielectric cores than HDI. You could run a trace that's 0.125 millimeters in width, smooth copper, and your loss values could be much lower. That technology is there. The previous revisions of SI high-performance materials that came out seven years ago were re- leased before their time, before they were ready in terms of reliability. We became experts in reliability failures. It was amazing how little reliability data there was around that. It was, "Grab the material, stick it in a board, and run." This is going to be a similar scenario when they need it, but by the time that comes, we'll have a better understanding of how reliable it is and where the window of reliability is. Johnson: The opportunity, though—the point in time when the decision is made to use VeCS—is in the design phase. This is some- thing that designers can choose when building boards. Dickson: We're spending a lot of time on ap- plications with chip manufacturers. We have key OEMs that are visionaries, but we want to have the chip manufacturers coming along in line because their cost points are pressure, too. If you're going to have an autonomous driving board running quickly, you will run a high-speed 5G application and need some- thing high reliability. You're going to need the potential to have high-reliability, high-density routing. Johnson: Excellent. I'm going to ask you to look forward a little bit. Where do you see VeCS in the future? Dickson: It will be a great technology to move us past the thick PCB and 0.5-millimeter pitch that limits HDI buildup has today. I think you will see boards that are currently 60 lay- ers with one-millimeter pitch BGAs right now running at a 0.7-millimeter pitch in 32 layers. The simplicity of the process moves most of the PCB manufacturing back almost 10 years. People who have built boards for a long time tell us that we're moving all the technologies back. Johnson: That's a good thing. Dickson: I say, "Yes, that's pretty much what's happening. The equipment manufacturers get a chance to catch up." Now, the drilling and routing technology is evolving at light speed. Two years ago, we had our first CCD alignment routing machine and multiple CCD drilling. It's a routing machine and another level of quality for what we can do now with the VeCS technology because you can route to a depth we need to, as well as positional accuracy. Johnson: Fantastic. Thanks for taking the time. This was a great update. Dickson: You're welcome. PCB007 Joan Tourné is brilliant. He's a designer, an engineer, and has two brains.

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