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54 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 in the industry. e papers in these sessions describe testing to identify design parame- ters that lead to improved reliability. Fabrica- tors and OEMs in attendance will gain valuable insights about microvia design, test methods, and simulation techniques. Surface Finishes and Coatings is session will focus on new develop- ments in surface finishes with emphasis on meeting next-generation PCB design and performance needs. For example, electroless nickel has provided a reliable barrier layer in ENIG and ENEPIG surface finishes, how- ever, its low conductivity and thickness lim- its its use in high frequency and high routing density applications. ere are two papers addressing alternative surface finishes and their performance and reliability. Another paper will address the use of a thermally con- ductive polymeric coating on the PCB surface to improve thermal management in applica- tions requiring high processing speeds and increased power requirements. Attendees will gain valuable insights into next-generation surface finish considerations from these papers. I-Connect007: What are some of the key trends and challenges that you see in this segment right now? Czaplewski: e push for higher data rates and increased functionality is driving many trends in PCB materials and fabrication. New extreme-low-loss laminate materials are being developed and incorporated with low Dk glasses and smoother copper foils. New, lower roughening core adhesion promotion chemis- tries and surface finishes are also being evalu- ated. In addition, increased global regulations and scrutiny on certain flame retardants is driving more careful monitoring of the com- pounds used in laminate materials as well as selection and development of new halogen- free materials. e use of these new materials and pro- cesses will require testing to validate reli- ability, which may reveal challenges in pre- venting issues such as delamination, among others. Further, fitting more functionality in the same or less space results in smaller conductor spacing and more utilization of multiple layers of microvias. e tighter con- ductor spacing raises potential challenges in mitigating electrochemical migration and conductive anodic filament growth, and the increased use of microvias (especially stacked microvias), increases the challenge of consistently producing reliable connec- tions. ese are just a few of the key trends and challenges in the industry, from my expe- rience. I-Connect007: What are the benefits of attend- ing the Professional Development and Tech- nical Conference at APEX EXPO? Czaplewski: Attendees of the professional development and technical sessions at IPC APEX EXPO will benefit from expanding their technical knowledge and network. e technical sessions will highlight the latest studies in new technologies and materials in the electronics industry. e professional development courses will enable attendees to increase depth of knowledge in a particu- lar area or expand their technical breadth by learning about a new subject. During both technical sessions and professional develop- ment courses, attendees will be able to meet and interact with others in the industry. All of this will help further attendees' effective- ness in their current business and future careers. I-Connect007: ank you, Sarah. We'll see you at the show. Czaplewski: ank you. PCB007

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