SLP: The Next Level of Technology


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As our electronic devices and machines become more powerful and as Moore’s Law chugs along, things in the world of PCBs keep getting smaller. You know the drill—finer lines and spaces, thinner laminates, more layers— cram more circuitry into the same or shrinking area. Where will it all end? Or will it?

PCBs are now a p p ro a c h i n g semiconductors with regard to feature sizes, which leads us to our topic this month: substrate-like PCBs (SLP) and the semiadditive processes (SAP) that will help us to achieve the seemingly impossible sub-25-micron features that are coming our way. Are you ready? (I can’t hear you…ARE YOU READY?)

To help you along that path, our content begins this month with an excellent introduction to the subject by Tara Dunn, Omni PCB, who deals with this technology on a regular basis.

She clearly explains the terminology and the process, step by step.

Atotech’s Roger Massey goes into greater depth on the market trends and drivers behind the evolution to SLP. He follows this with a close look at the newer PCB technology that enables this, including both equipment and chemistry.

To keep you abreast of what’s going on in this segment, Dan Beaulieu interviewed James Rathburn, CEO of HSIO Technologies, which is bridging the gap from IC to PCB using liquid crystal polymer technology. HSIO has partnered with an EMS provider to bring their technology to the market. You need to know about this company. Elsewhere in this issue, Yole Développement’s Emilie Jolivet provides useful market information as you consider how SLP fits with your  company’s roadmap. First reviewing the evolution of PCBs in smartphones to present day use of SLP technology, Jolivet then projects use in a wide variety of markets.

For those of you out there in the trenches, we have another good troubleshooting column by RBP’s Mike Carano, this time on resist lock-in and extraneous copper. As always, Mike provides both cause and action to get you through this problem.

Next, we have an interesting article on copper pillar plating systems. Copper pillars are useful for removing heat from components, but they are not particularly easy to create. MacDermid Enthone’s Albert Angstenberger explains both theory and practice for these, as well as delves into via fill and through-hole plating as they relate to the pillar plating.

Bringing up the rear is Steve Williams, The Right Approach Consulting, with a discussion on global sourcing. Whether or not you are involved in choosing PCB suppliers, this article outlines “5 Cs” that truly can apply to any supplier-partner relationship—regardless of which side you are on. Lastly, IPC’s John Mitchell introduces us to Nicolas Robin, IPC’s new senior director in Europe. Robin will represent IPC’s public policy in Europe, with additional membership-related responsibilities.

Well, folks, this is my last hurrah as managing editor of PCB007 Magazine. As I transition to a lighter schedule, Nolan Johnson will be at the helm now. Don’t miss his debut in next month’s issue that focuses on the automated factory. Not to worry, I won’t disappear—at least not yet. I will be managing our quarterly tome, Flex007 Magazine, which next appears in late October. Keep your eye out for that—which will be a lot easier if you subscribe. Aren’t you going to miss my nagging? 

Patricia Goldman is managing editor of PCB007 Magazine. To contact Goldman, click here.


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the September issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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