Ceramic PCB Manufacturing

Ceramic printed circuits have a ceramic-based material as a substrate where an electronic circuit is ‘printed’ on. There are several material being used today with the below being most common:

  • Alumina (Al2O3) PCB is the most common used material one
  • Aluminum Nitride (AlN) circuits are probably a close second.
  • BeO is being used less and less due to health & safety concerns
  • Silicon Nitride based circuits are gaining importance

Contrary to ‘traditional’ PCBs there are a number of ways of how the circuit is made onto the ceramic with every manufacturing technology having its pros and cons. Here is a short overview of the different production technologies and their pros and cons.

DPC – direct plated copper:

Probably the closest method to standard circuits. A seed layer is sputtered onto a ceramic layer, which is then plated up to the necessary thickness. 

More in detail, the build goes as follows. 
First, there is an interface layer which usually not copper but which is VERY important.
Then a copper layer is applied. This seed layer is then plated up to the required thickness where traces and pads are using a mask.
Next, the seed layer is again etched away.
The rest of the process (Solder masks/legend) is similar to traditional circuits.

note that the solder masks used is also epoxy-based and very similar to standard PCB.

PROS

  • Design can be similar to ‘standard’ PCB
  • Copper thickness can be controlled

CONS

  • Only for single & double-sided designs
  • Limited max operating temperature

 

We offer DPC Ceramic PCB in with an Alumina and Aluminium Nitride substrate in both our C-Proto as well as our C-Production solution when you choose copper as conductor.
Click below to learn more and to generate a quote.

for samples and small series: 

C-PROTO Alumina C-PROTO Aluminum Nitride

Thick Film:

The technology uses screen printing. A conductive ink layer is ‘printed’ and fired on a substrate at a temperature above 800C to create a strong bond and low resistance. This is followed by a dielectric ink or encapsulant (~soldermask) to make multilayers, cross overs, or to protect the circuits. As the firing temperature is much higher, thick film circuits can cope with much higher temperatures then DPC or other circuits. Thanks to the additive manufacturing processes, thick film allows for multilayer or 3D features like cavities or placement of components on different levels. 

Next to conductive inks, also resistive inks can be printed to make resistors or heating elements. The main benefit of thick film is the additive element and the design freedom it has.

PROS

  • single-sided, double-sided, multilayer, single-sided multilayer. multilayers on parts of the circuits, …. design possibilities are endless
  • Many different conductive inks exist with each there own advantages (Ag, AgPd, AgPt, AgPdPt, Cu, Au,…)
  • Resistors can be printed
  • Strong environment protection (chemical hazards, UV degradation)
  • capable of withstanding >350C operating temperatures

CONS

  • Tooling is needed for high volume production (prototypes can be made without tools thanks to our C-proto solution)

At CERcuits, we offer Thick film Ceramic PCB in with an Alumina and Aluminium Nitride substrate in both our C-Proto as well as our C-Production solution. when you choose silver or silver-palladium metalization.
Click below to learn more and to generate a quote:

 

for samples and small series: 

C-PROTO Alumina C-PROTO Aluminum Nitride

Direct Bonded Copper

(coming soon)

 

Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramic (LTCC)

(coming soon)

 

High temperature Co-fired Ceramic (HTCC)

(coming soon)