Conformal Printed Antenna
A new high volume process is available that lowers manufacturing costs for antennas used in mobile devices. The new process works with standard injection molded plastics – no special additives or coatings are required. Based on Aerosol Jet technology, the digital process prints conformal antennas using conductive nanoparticle silver inks. The printing process accurately controls the location, geometry and thickness of the deposit and produces a smooth mirror-like surface finish to insure optimum antenna performance. No plating or environmentally harmful materials are used in the process.
Mobile device antennas including LTE, NFC, GPS, Wifi, WLAN, and BT have been printed using the Aerosol Jet process and independently tested by a leading cell phone component supplier. Measured antenna performance is comparable to other production methods. The Aerosol Jet printing process is scalable – antennas can be printed on up to 4 cases simultaneously on a single machine. Machine throughput for a typical antenna pattern measuring ~300 mm2 averages 30,000 units per week.
Aerosol Jet Printing Process Highlight for Antenna
Dual Band Antenna printed with Aerosol Jet Direct Write process
- Low cost – no plating, simplified logistics
- Standard plastics – no additives or coating
- Digital process– flexible, no hard tooling
- Environment friendly – no harsh chemicals
- Health Benefits – no exposure to Nickel
- Scalable – prints up to 4 cases simultaneously
- High Machine output – average 30,000 units/week
- Antenna performance – comparable to other methods
The Aerosol Jet printer lower manufacturing costs for antennas used in mobile devices. The process works with standard injection molded plastics – no special additives or coatings are required. Based on Aerosol Jet technology, the digital process prints conformal antennas using conductive nanoparticle silver inks. The printing process accurately controls the location, geometry and thickness of the deposit and produces a smooth mirror-like surface finish to insure optimum antenna performance. No plating or environmentally harmful materials are used in the process.
Print die & component attach, underfill and component encapsulation, and 3D interconnects which require feature sizes as small as 10 microns to millimeters.
For Stacked Die & Other Complex Packaging Applications
- Features sizes ranging from ~10 microns to millimeters
- Dispensing support for wide variety of inks / materials
- Repeatable recipe driven dispense
- Planar and non-planar Capabilities
- Advanced vision and lighting control
- Low Temperature Processing
- CAD import eases toolpath generation
Aerosol Jet’s high-velocity dense mist stream enables the system to print vertically along the terraced steps of stacked dies without having to adjust Z-height positioning for eight to sixteen SiP die stacks. Typical 3D interconnects are 25 to 30 microns wide by 5+ microns in height. Total length of each interconnect is approximately 1.5mm long with throughput for a single nozzle reaching up to 5,000 interconnects per hour. The Aerosol Jet print head is highly scalable supporting 2, 3, 5, or more nozzles at a time, pitch dependent, enabling throughputs as high as 25,000 or more interconnects per hour. The print head is equipped with a mechanical shutter for rapid on/off of the print stream and is capable of extended print runtimes of twelve hours or more before ink refill is required.
Printing 3D interconnects on stacked die
Embedded Passives on Rigid & Flex Substrates
Aerosol Jet systems reliably produce ultra-fine feature circuitry well beyond the capabilities of thick-film and ink-jet processes. Most materials can be written with a resolution of down to 20μm. For Ag, electronic features as small as 10μm with a 20μm pitch can be written. This capability offers a solution for the production of smaller, high performance components critical to size-sensitive applications like those in the wireless and hand-held device markets where component density is increasing dramatically.
The ability of the Aerosol Jet technology to create fine features with complex geometries in 3D from a wide range of materials makes it suitable for the production of both passive and active components, including resistors, inductors, capacitors, filters, micro-antennae, micro-batteries, and sensors. The precise edge definition and repeatability of the process are particularly relevant to high-frequency requirements. In comparison to screen-printing, embedded resistors can be made smaller and more accurately with the Aerosol Jet process, such that no laser-trimming is needed to tune the resistor to the right value.
Component / Die Attach Applications
As electronic component functionality increases and overall product package size decreases current dispense solutions are not keeping pace with manufacturing needs. With surface mount components as small as 0.60mm X 0.30mm and industry standard needle and jet dispense dot sizes >0.2mm, electrical shorting and time consuming material rework have become the norm for manufacturers driven by smaller product package sizes. The Aerosol Jet Micro Dispense (MD) Series takes dispense functionality to a whole new level. With its ability to dispense materials, such as conductive epoxies, with dot sizes of 5mm by simply dwelling over the dispense point. Aerosol Jet MD Series comes equipped with a variety of Printhead options that enable feature sizes from ~0.01mm to >2.0mm in a single pass providing ultimate flexibility in meeting your dispense requirements.
Component Underfill and Encapsulation
As component die and package size shrink with component-to-component spacing of 0.20mm dot size and requirements to be within 0.1mm of the substrate surface are inhibiting manufacturers’ ability to move to these new technologies.With capabilities of dispensing material, such as epoxy, to features of 5.0mm, Aerosol Jet technology is capable of meeting today’s and tomorrow’s electronic packaging requirements. Aerosol Jet printer’s continuous flow operation insures consistent material output over runtimes of 4 or more hours. With its built in shuttering capabilities excess material can be captured and recycled for future use. Couple these capabilities with Aerosol Jet printer’s ability to dispense precise thicknesses of materials for Underfill or Encapsulation applications, Optomec is leading the way in developing a new generation of environmentally friendly production solutions.