Liquid crystal polymers for 3D interconnect in 5G designs

Liquid crystal polymers for 3D interconnect in 5G designs

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Sabic’s LNP THERMOCOMP liquid crystal polymers compounds support laser direct structuring (LDS) capability to produce high-end 3D structures with complex interconnect for 5G networking, automotive and consumer electronics applications.

The compounds have the flow characteristics required for the thin walls used in miniaturized designs and to provide uniform fine-pitch circuit patterns and high heat resistance for use in the surface mount technology (SMT) assembly process.

Molded interconnect devices integrate electronic and mechanical functions in a single, three-dimensional package to save space and weight compared to traditional printed circuit boards (PCBs). The performance of the liquid crystal materials enables manufacturers to create fine-pitch devices, which are distinguished by very narrow spacing (<200 microns) between leads and highly complex patterns. These materials can be used to mold these devices incorporate laser-activated additives that allow conductive traces to be produced on the surface of the part, and then metallized using electroless technology. These grades deliver precise and uniform metallization of these critical circuit traces. They also offer low, stable dielectric constant (Dk) and dissipation (Df) properties.

The flow properties are 10 to 100 times better than that of other polymers) and, combined with dimensional stability, enable the compounds to be used for molding thin-wall parts that are less than 0.5 mm. The materials’ high flow also helps to accelerate throughput.

“Sabic is a pioneer in materials that enable laser direct structuring, which is critical for producing highly integrated electronics that save precious space in smaller and thinner electronic devices,” said Joshua Chiaw, Director, Business Management, LNP & NORYL, Specialties at Sabic. “As 3D-MID technology rapidly advanced and Cicor looked to innovate the design of its products to gain higher performance and precision, SABIC was able to meet the company’s needs. We’re committed to leveraging our materials innovation and expertise to help customers like Cicor stay at the forefront of electronics megatrends.”

“As we explored the use of liquid crystal polymers for our fine-pitch 3D-MID products, we quickly found that SABIC’s LNP THERMOCOMP compounds, which are based on LCPs, far surpassed competitive offerings in the uniformity and precision of circuit traces, and were clearly the solution that could best fit our needs,” said HS Song, Managing Director, China, Suzhou Cicor Technology. “These materials also help us optimize yield rates to drive down total system costs. To further support our successful use of LNP THERMOCOMP compounds, SABIC provided many value-added services, including formulation adjustments. SABIC exemplifies supplier excellence through deep materials expertise, unmatched technical capabilities and rapid response.”

Previously, Cicor used high-performance semi-crystalline materials for its MIDs. However, as MID specifications became increasingly demanding, the LNP THERMOCOMP compounds offer better dimensional stability, which helps to reduce warpage and improve design precision. Another advantage is their elevated temperature resistance for undergoing SMT, which is much higher than that of other polymers.

“Sabic delivered a solution to address Cicor’s requirements for high-performance specialty materials that can handle the rigorous demands placed on automotive, telecommunications and consumer electronic components,” said Jenny Wang, Director, Formulation & Application Development, APAC, Specialties at Sabic. “These applications require smaller, thinner form factors, incorporation of more functionality and the ability to withstand high-heat processes.”;

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