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32 The PCB Magazine • February 2016 The use of via-in-pad technology is increas- ing rapidly in today's PCB designs. The need for miniaturization, combined with the rapidly de- creasing pitch of component footprints, drives printed circuit board designers here. Via-in-pad requires the vias to be filled, planarized and then over-plated with copper. Once a designer has decided to move forward with this technol- ogy, the next question to be answered is what type of fill material should be specified. Typical- ly, these vias are filled with either epoxy, con- ductive epoxy or solid copper plating. All have pros and cons to be considered. I recently spoke with David Ciufo, program manager for printed circuit board technologies with Intrinsiq Materials, to learn about an ex- citing new product in development that will dramatically change the existing manufactur- ing parameters of the filled-copper via option. Intrinsiq's nano copper has been formulated into a screen-printable paste that is compatible with commercial via-fill equipment. This paste can be dried and sintered in commercially avail- able ovens and results in pure copper after sin- tering. The end-product is highly conductive, both thermally and electrically, when sintered. Benefits Now, for the exciting part, there are two dis- tinct advantages for PCB manufacturing with this product. First, because it is run with com- mercially available equipment, as seen in Fig- ure 1, the capital investment needed to offer copper-filled via technology is significantly re- by Tara Dunn Omni PCB Copper Via-Fill Technology in Development feature ColuMn: flex talk Figure 1: Copper-filled via process completed with standard PCB equipment.

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