Liquid crystal polymers for 3D interconnect in 5G designs

September 07, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Liquid crystal polymers for 3D interconnect in 5G designs
Swiss printed circuit board maker Cicor is working with Sabic on using liquid crystal polymers for 3D molded interconnect devices (3D-MIDs)

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

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