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New Methods for Digital Fabrication of Printed Circuits

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The printed circuit will continue to be the dominant component of electronic devices. Although more electronic functions are being reduced to integrated chips, it is totally unrealistic to expect designers of complex circuits to be limited or constrained by chip design. However changes in requirements, particularly reduced sizes and more complex architecture, are pushing manufacturers of printed circuits to new and ever more challenging demands. Other significant factors, affecting change in the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCB's), are the demands for (RoHS) restriction of hazardous substances and elimination of leaded solder for surface mounting. These restrictions will become legally binding in July 2006 in the European market and will probably have to be met internationally.

Considering how revolutionary and disruptive these factors are to established methods of PCB manufacture, it is also an opportunity to consider alternative methods to produce complex boards. Today's technology involves many complicated steps, such as generation of photo masks, its subsequent removal, electroplating. generation of electrically conductive vias or through holes, etching to remove unwanted architecture, screen printing of solder mask and its removal, plus the elimination or recycling of many hazardous chemicals. With the discovery of and evolution of better electrically conductive polymers. some manufacturers have developed methods to integrate this new technology in the design of PCB's Development of electrically conductive inks, some using the new polymers, have led to the fabrication of circuits using ink jet printing.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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