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Printed Circuit Structures, the Evolution of Printed Circuit Boards

Printed Circuit Structures, the Evolution of Printed Circuit Boards
The PCS concept will allow passives, actives and even antennas to move out of the XY plane and into the XZ and YZ planes.
Materials Tech


Authored By:

Kenneth H. Church, Harvey Tsang, Ricardo Rodriguez, Paul Defembaugh
nScrypt, Inc., Orlando, FL USA

The University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, TX USA


The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is the backbone of electronics and a large number of consumer devices. The challenge to put more function in a smaller space requires more components utilizing smaller bond pads, smaller lines and tighter pitch. The electronic packaging industry has aggressively pursued novel ways to shrink and stack multilayer boards inside smaller volumes. Industry is approaching serious obstacles in the continued size reduction requirements with the need for wires, epoxy, vias, solder and sometimes bolts and screws to mount the boards.

The next logical step is to move beyond 2D stacking, which is 2.5D to make 3D packages and to utilize the 3rd dimension directly. Eliminate the traditional 2D FR4 board and the wires, epoxies, vias and solder and make the next generation packages utilizing the 3rd dimension; the Printed Circuit Structure (PCS).

The PCS concept will allow passives, actives and even antennas to move out of the XY plane and into the XZ and YZ planes. This new dimension will appear to be very complex and next generation circuit optimization will be required, but the end result will net a significant improvement in volume utilization. In addition, if new materials are developed and utilized properly, the PCS will be the box or the package thus eliminating all the bolts and screws necessary to mount a PCB in a traditional box or package, thus again saving space and reducing weight.

nScrypt and the University of Texas at El Paso will present 3D Printing of Printed Circuit Structures. A demonstration of true 3D electronic structures will be demonstrated and shown as well novel approaches which utilize Computer Aided Design (CAD) to 3D Printing which will include the electronics portion.


DPAM is able to combine 3D printing's structures with printed electronics' funct ionality at the resolution of DP. But it is still early, requiring labor intensive procedures that take time to produce the desired products and the desired automation that current 3D printers have achieved. While 3D printing has been around for more than three decades, DPAM has been around for less than one.

The future of PCB will be heterogeneous printing thus enabling a new generation of electronic packaging. Future work for this will be in material research to functionally load materials for specific mechanical and electrical properties that promote 3D building. Additionally, new processes will be important to achieve proper features during printing; surface roughness or excess voids will need to be controlled. The DPAM process has not been fully studied nor optimized and this will be important.

Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings


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