Designing Additive and Semi-Additive PCBs

Reading time ( words)

With components getting smaller and electronic devices becoming more compact, we are reaching the physical limits of the typical etched fabrication processes. To address these limits, new additive and semi-additive processes are being developed to fit into the current fabricators’ production lines without too much disruption or extra cost.

That leaves the design engineer with a few questions: Will additive and semi-additive processes really reduce layer count and sizes? Are there signal integrity and impedance advantages and disadvantages? When does it makes sense to switch to additive or semi-additive? Are my DFMs going to be any different?

Answers to these questions and many more are still being developed. However, I’ve found a few answers that I’m happy to share with you. 

First, let’s look at liquid metal ink. LMI is ultra-thin and ultra-dense, conforms to any 3D surface, works with different pure metals and their alloys (copper, gold, silver, palladium, platinum, etc.), and is non-aqueous, which enables low-cost manufacturing.

Here are some fundamentals for these very small features. Figure 1 depicts some examples of the additive processes used to create fine copper traces on a printed circuit board. One of the first things you’ll notice are the shapes of the traces: They are not trapezoidal. 


To read this entire article, which appeared in the April 2022 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.


Suggested Items

Pulsonix Collision Avoidance to Bring Mechanical Capabilities Into ECAD

05/19/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
The I-Connect Editorial Team recently spoke with Bob Williams, managing director of Pulsonix. He discussed some of the new features in the upcoming version of the Pulsonix PCB design tool, Version 12, including collision avoidance and other 3D options that allow certain MCAD functions within the ECAD environment.

A Textbook Look: Signal Integrity and Impedance

05/18/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Believing that I knew a bit about signal integrity and controlled impedance, I was pleased to take the opportunity to connect with an educational webinar that I hoped would extend my knowledge. In the event I was surprised at how little I actually knew, and the webinar was an excellent learning opportunity. The webinar was introduced and expertly moderated by Anna Brockman of Phoenix Contact in Germany.

Designing in a Vacuum Q&A: Carl Schattke

05/11/2022 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
Not long ago, I caught up with Carl Schattke, CEO of PCB Product Development LLC and a longtime PCB designer, for his thoughts on “designing in a vacuum.” As Carl points out, if you follow PCB design best practices, knowing the identity of your fabricator is not a “must-have.” He also offers some communication tips for discovering the information you do need, including one old-fashioned technique—just asking for it.

Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.