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Liquid Crystal Polymer Dielectric Material for High-Frequency and Medical Applications
Keywords: Liquid Crystal Polymer, Flexible, Electronics
Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) is a thermoplastic dielectric polymer that offers many performance advantages in both the manufacture and the application of flexible and hybrid flexible-circuit applications compared to traditional polyester, polyimide, and related dielectrics. At i3 Electronics we have built a variety of microelectronic circuits incorporating LCP and have found that it’s flexibility (modulus comparable to Kapton polyimide), high flex fatigue life, tear resistance, UV-laser drill-ability, and roll availability make it an excellent candidate for both panel and roll-to-roll fabrication methods. Both plated-thru holes (PTH’s) and micro-vias are easily formed using laser tools, and Its surface energy can be readily tailored to make it amenable to a variety of metallization methods, including wet tin/palladium seeding followed by e-less plating; vacuum sputter seeding followed by semi-additive electroplating; and nanoparticle ink printing. As a dielectric, its low dielectric constant and loss tangent make it ideally suited for circuits running signal frequencies beyond 100 GHz. This is especially true at high high frequencies where it’s dielectric constant remains relatively unchanged by environmental effects. This dielectric stability is attributed to its near hermaticity… as evidenced by its near zero rate of water vapor transmission… and its near-zero moisture absorbance, as evidenced by its near-zero coefficient of hygroscopic expansion and near-zero weight-gain following moisture exposure. These properties, and its lack of inorganic fillers, intrinsic hydrolytic stability (greater than that of most polyimides), and resistance to ionizing radiation damage (LCP is a radiation-hard material), make it ideal for use in a variety of products that range from aerospace to medically implanted devices. As such, LCP is an ideal dielectric material for the fabrication of electronic devices for high frequency and medical applications. This paper provides a brief overview of the multi-layer LCP x-sections i3 has fabricated using both subtractive and semi-additive processes, and also provides a summary of the adhesion, reliability, and performance of the microcircuits produced.
Dr Mark Schadt, Sr. Research and Development Scientist
i3 Electronics
Endicott, NY

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