To integrate the required level of functions, printed-circuit-board technology has to allow a high density of integrated functions - a feat made possible by Cicor Group's DenciTec platform.
Pacemakers, endoscopy heads, insulin pumps, cochlear implants, the control of intelligent prostheses, lab-on-a-chip technologies and ultrasonic devices are among a host of medical technologies developing to become smaller in size. The integration of additional functions in patient-friendly micro pumps and miniaturised 3D printed circuit boards (PCBs) as a basis for intelligent implants gives many patients an improved quality of life.
According to Moore's Law, the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every 24 months. To optimise circuit use, boards have to be packed more densely. This requires new manufacturing processes or combinations of processes to keep costs under control at the highest possible throughput rates.
Standard procedures are panel and pattern plating. With both methods, concessions must be made in line widths and spacings of less than 35µm in order to achieve acceptable results and throughputs. In other words, today's production processes do not fully use the possibilities of modern PCB technology, such as via-stacking, via-in-pad structures or integrated antennae.
The classic semi-additive processes of thin-film manufacturers allow the production of structures with line widths and spacings of less than 15µm, but only in small-sized units - usually no larger than 8×8in. As a result, the costs of the individual components are significantly higher for price-sensitive circuits than for PCBs. The upscaling of this technology is therefore technically possible but extremely laborious and costly.
Cicor's DenciTec enables the production of circuits with extremely high density without the disadvantages of these methods. A unique combination of devices on the cutting edge of technology and their optimal use permits the highly reliable manufacture of circuits without restricting freedom of design.
With DenciTec, further miniaturisation is possible. These options include trace and spacing widths of down to 25µm; copper thicknesses of 20±5µm in all layers; laser via diameter of 35µm; annular rings of 30µm at outer layers and 20µm at inner layers; copper-filled blind vias with the possibility of via-stacking; and vias in pads. Even ultra-thin circuits are possible, using a 12.5µm polyimide core material (four-layer flex circuits less than 120µm thick) - all up to the highest standards of reliability.
Reliability in the medical field is particularly essential. While a technological combination of thin-film and PCB technology would be a workable solution, the high costs are a key obstacle. With DenciTec, Cicor has found a solution that has no negative influence on reliability and offers customers exceptional flexibility. The output of product and cost-efficiency match the needs of demanding medical applications.