According to sources in the packaging industry, the current ceramic substrates used in IC packaging have been in short supply or even "hard to find". A few days ago, Taiwan's ceramic electronic materials maker Taiwan with Xin Electronics announced that in response to the strong demand for automotive and factory lighting applications, will increase the ceramic substrate offer later in the second quarter of this year. With Shin Electronics said, due to automotive CIS, LED headlights, RF and high-capacity power modules and other processing needs a large number of substrates, with Shin Electronics current ceramic substrate production capacity has continued to be full, has been unable to meet the strong demand for substrate materials from other customers.
It is understood that the ceramic substrate price increase has been for some time. The reason for this, one is due to the continued increase in demand in the consumer market, and the limited production capacity can not make up for the shortage of the market. Second, the ceramic substrate due to its own special characteristics - material selection, production process and cycle significantly longer than the traditional PCB board. At present, ceramic substrates, especially aluminum nitride ceramic substrates are mainly dominated by the United States, Germany, Taiwan and other major manufacturers.
With the rapid development of the electronic information industry, the market demand for ceramic substrates exploded rapidly, especially aluminum nitride ceramic substrates and other high-performance products will further intensify the shortage, which is an opportunity to occupy the market for domestic companies in related fields. It is understood that the porcelain electronics has aluminum nitride package with IGBT small batch delivery capacity, the national porcelain material aluminum nitride ceramic substrate has also completed the pilot, is expected to achieve mass production this year. In addition, the evening of May 11, three rings group announced that the proposed capital raising not more than 7.5 billion yuan to expand production, which includes alumina ceramic substrate expansion project.
Of course, the ceramic substrate market in short supply, the main reason is its excellent performance in heat dissipation performance and other aspects of the downstream market has been recognized.
Advantages of Ceramic Substrates
Compared with plastic sealing material and metal substrate, its advantages are as follows.
(1) Good insulation performance and high reliability. High resistivity is the most basic requirement of electronic components for the substrate, in general, the greater the resistance of the substrate, the higher the reliability of the package, ceramic materials are generally covalent bonding compounds, its insulation performance is better.
(2) Smaller dielectric coefficient, good high frequency characteristics. Ceramic materials have lower dielectric constant and dielectric loss, which can reduce signal delay time and improve transmission speed.
(3) Small thermal expansion coefficient and low thermal mismatch rate. Covalent bonding compounds generally have high melting point characteristics, the higher the melting point, the smaller the coefficient of thermal expansion, so the coefficient of thermal expansion of ceramic materials is generally small.
(4) High thermal conductivity. According to the traditional heat transfer theory, ceramic materials such as BeO, SiC and AlN of cubic crystal system have theoretical thermal conductivity no less than that of metals. Therefore, ceramic substrate materials are widely used in aviation, aerospace and military engineering for high reliability, high frequency, high temperature resistance and strong hermeticity of product packaging.
Types of Ceramic Substrates
According to the different substrate materials, ceramic substrate can be divided into alumina substrate, aluminum nitride substrate, silicon nitride substrate, beryllium oxide substrate, etc.
According to Chen Mingxiang and other industry experts, from the structure and production process, ceramic substrates can be divided into HTCC, LTCC, TFC, DBC, DPC and so on.
High-temperature co-fired multilayer ceramic substrates (HTCC)
HTCC, also known as high temperature co-fired multilayer ceramic substrate. In the preparation process, ceramic powder is added to organic binder and mixed well to become a paste-like paste, then the paste is scraped into flakes using a scraper, and then the flakes are formed into blanks through a drying process; then the holes are drilled according to the design of each layer, and the metal paste is screen printed for wiring and hole filling, and finally the blanks are stacked and sintered in a high temperature furnace (1600°C).
This preparation process is limited by the high sintering temperature, which leads to the selection of metal conductor materials (mainly tungsten, molybdenum, manganese and other metals with high melting points but poor electrical conductivity), high production costs, and thermal conductivity generally in the range of 20-200 W/(m-℃).
Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic Substrate (LTCC)
LTCC, also known as low-temperature co-fired ceramic substrate, has a preparation process similar to HTCC, except that low melting point glass material with a mass fraction of 30% to 50% is mixed in the ceramic powder to lower the sintering temperature to 850 to 900°C. Therefore, gold and silver with better conductivity can be used as electrode materials and wiring materials.
Because LTCC uses screen printing technology to make metal wiring, there is a possibility of alignment error caused by the problem of mesh spreading; and there is also a problem of shrinkage ratio difference when multi-layer ceramic laminated sintering, which affects the yield. In order to improve the thermal conductivity of LTCC, thermal conductivity holes or conductive holes can be added in the SMD area, but the cost increases.
Thick film ceramic substrate (TFC)
Compared to LTCC and HTCC, TFC is a post-fired ceramic substrate. The metal paste is coated on the surface of the ceramic substrate by screen printing technology and prepared after drying and high temperature sintering (700~800℃). The metal paste generally consists of components such as metal powder, organic resin and glass. After high-temperature sintering, the resin binder is burned off and what remains is almost pure metal, due to the glassy bonding action on the surface of the ceramic substrate. The thickness of the metal layer after sintering is 10~20μm, and the minimum line width is 0.3mm.
Due to the mature technology, simple process and low cost, TFC is used in certain applications in electronic packaging that does not require high graphic accuracy.
Direct bonded copper-ceramic substrate (DBC)
It consists of ceramic substrate and copper foil eutectic sintered at high temperature (1065℃), and finally the lines are formed by etching according to the wiring requirements. Since copper foil has good electrical and thermal conductivity, and alumina can effectively control the expansion of Cu-Al2O3-Cu composite, the DBC substrate has a thermal expansion coefficient that approximates that of alumina.
DBC has the advantages of good thermal conductivity, strong insulation, and high reliability, and has been widely used in IGBT, LD and CPV packaging.The disadvantage of DBC is that it utilizes the eutectic reaction between Cu and Al2O3 at high temperature, which requires high equipment and process control, and the substrate cost is high; because micro porosity is easily generated between Al2O3 and Cu layers, it reduces the thermal shock resistance of the product; because the copper foil is easily warped and deformed at high temperature, the substrate cost is high. The thickness of copper foil on the surface of DBC is generally greater than 100m because it is easy to warp and deform under high temperature; meanwhile, the minimum line width of DBC substrate pattern is generally greater than 100m because of the chemical etching process.
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