In the manufacturing of circuit boards, a wide range of components are incorporated, with aluminum being a ubiquitous material in ceramic PCBs. This material is not only popular but also widely regarded as the most effective option for ceramic PCBs. Typically, aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and aluminum nitride (AlN) are the two most commonly used ceramic materials in ceramic PCBs. Notably, Al2O3 possesses a higher thermal conductivity than AlN, making ceramic printed circuit boards an excellent choice for many applications. This article is solely focused on Al2O3 ceramic PCBs and aims to highlight their properties and significance in the printed circuit board industry.
What Is Alumina Oxide (Al2o3) Ceramic PCB ?
Alumina PCB, also known as Al2O3 PCB, is a type of electronic circuit board made from ceramic material. It possesses exceptional properties such as low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and high thermal conductivity. Furthermore, the purity of Alumina, which comprises numerous isomorphic crystals, is significantly higher than other materials. The essential feature of this ceramic PCB is its thermal conductivity that ranges between 15W/mK to 50W/mK.
Al2O3 PCB is suitable for a wide range of applications including LED boards and high-frequency devices. These PCBs utilize ceramic material and are often designed with multilayer packaging for enhanced functionality. Over the years, Alumina PCBs have undergone multiple layers of testing and evolved to meet changing industry demands.
Alumina, as an engineering material, possesses outstanding mechanical and electrical properties. It is one of the most commonly used ceramic materials owing to its broad range of applications in various industries. Alumina PCBs typically comprise a significant quantity of Al2O3. The excellent thermal stability of Alumina boards can improve the efficiency and thermal performance of circuits used in automotive applications.
Alumina PCBs are available in different purities, including 95.5%, 96%, and 96 Alumina substrates with 96% purity being the highest. The higher purity results in a more refined surface and a superior appearance. These circuit boards deliver superior electrical protection, and the biocompatibility of Alumina, as a ceramic material, makes it an ideal choice for medical applications. The physical properties of Alumina PCB contribute to improved performance, making it a popular choice for various industries.
Alumina PCB Types
The Alumina PCB comprises three different types of Alumina Oxide, namely 96 Alumina substrate, 99.5% Alumina substrate, and 99.6% Alumina substrate. Each of these materials offers exceptional efficiency in creating various devices for a variety of applications.
96% Alumina PCB Substrate
The 96% Alumina PCB substrate has gained widespread popularity and is now a commonly used substrate material in various microelectronics applications. Thick film substrates are the standard format used in these applications.
The 96% Alumina substrate is extensively used in building hybrid circuits composed of microelectronics, owing to its availability in small dimensions and high-tech grade. It is an optimal choice for hybrid devices. Additionally, the 96% Alumina substrate boasts excellent electrical insulation properties, mechanical strength, good thermal conductivity, chemical resistance, and dimensional stability.
99.5% Alumina Substrate
The 99.5% Alumina substrate, which has a smaller grain size, is ideal for various applications where intricacy is not a crucial factor. However, the Alumina PCB may not be necessary for all applications.
As the grain size of the 99.5% Alumina substrate is slightly larger, it can achieve a maximum surface finish of 2u-in. The mechanical strength, thermal conductivity, dielectric strength, and dielectric consistency of the material are comparatively lower than those of other substrates.
Nevertheless, one of the advantages of the 99.5% Alumina substrate is its availability in larger sizes and superior thickness, which makes it useful for certain applications.
99.6% Alumina Substrate
The 99.6% Alumina substrate is ideal for creating standardized thin-film substrates and is recommended for in-circuit generation using sputtered, evaporated, and chemically vaporized metals. Its exceptional purity level and smaller grain size enables it to produce smoother results with minimal surface imperfections.
Moreover, the surface roughness of the 99.6% Alumina is below 1u-in, indicating that it boasts superior mechanical performance, low thermal conductivity, exceptional electrical insulation, excellent dielectric properties, and corrosion resistance, resulting in superior wear resistance.
Why Choose Us ?
We adhere to a rigorous production plan to ensure timely delivery of products. Our ISO9001:2015-certified Quality Control Management System further ensures that the products we deliver meet exacting standards. We offer various ceramic materials suitable for a range of applications. We don’t have any minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirements, so both prototypes and bulk orders will be of high quality.
Our team of professionals responds to every inquiry and question within 24 hours. With over 20 years of experience in the manufacturing of technical ceramics as well as R&D, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional products and services. Our products have been shipped to over 40 countries, and we have earned a positive reputation with our customers for consistently delivering quality products on time.
Alumina 2-Layer PCB Stacks Up
Al2o3 Ceramic PCB Manufacturing
Al2o3 PCB (Alumina PCB) manufacturing involves a complex process that requires extreme precision and specialized equipment. The process begins with the preparation of the Alumina substrate, which is available in various sizes and thicknesses. The Alumina substrate is then cleaned and pre-treated to ensure that it is free of any contaminants.
● Once the substrate is prepared, the circuit design is applied to the surface using silk-screen printing, which involves the application of a conductive paste through a fine mesh screen to create a pattern. The conductive ink contains a mixture of metals, such as gold, copper, or silver, which serves as a conductor to transmit signals and power throughout the board.
● After the circuit pattern is printed onto the substrate, it undergoes a sintering process, where the ink is heated to a high temperature to fuse the metal particles together and form a solid connection. This process creates a robust and durable connection that is resistant to wear, corrosion, and thermal shock.
● Once the circuit is formed on the substrate, the next step is to apply the surface finish. The surface finish is a crucial step in the manufacturing process, as it provides protection against oxidation and enhances the durability of the board. Immersion gold is a common surface finish applied to Alumina PCBs for its superior solderability, corrosion resistance, and long-term reliability.
● Finally, the circuit board undergoes a quality control inspection to ensure that it meets the required standards and specifications. The inspection involves testing the board’s electrical conductivity, ensuring that the circuit connections are properly formed, and verifying the board’s overall dimensional accuracy.
As a result, Al2o3 PCB manufacturing requires specialized equipment, precise processes, and strict quality control measures. Alumina PCBs offer superior performance and durability, making them a popular choice for applications in harsh environments or for products that require high reliability.
Properties of Al2o3 PCB
Alumina oxide is a widely-used material for fabricating ceramic PCBs and packages. This is primarily due to the excellent electrical and mechanical properties inherent in alumina boards, which make them ideal for circuit board creation. The key features of Alumina PCBs include:
● The Conductivity of Low Thermal: The thermal conductivity of an alumina PCB ranges between 15W/mK and 50W/mK. In scenarios where an IC or LED generates heat, the material’s high thermal conductivity enables rapid and efficient transfer of heat to the PCB. The absence of an insulating layer requirement in an alumina-based board is attributed to the material’s excellent thermal conductivity.
● The High Melting Point: The melting point of alumina substrates varies depending on the purity of the material. For instance, 96% alumina substrate has a melting temperature of 1400oC, while the melting temperature of 99% pure alumina substrate is 1600oC.
● High Strength and Electrical Insulation: Alumina PCBs are highly sought after for their excellent electrical insulation properties, which make them a preferred option for use in high-performance applications. The size of the PCB can be determined through the testing of reflectivity reference thickness.
● The Lower Coefficient for Thermal Expansion: The coefficient for thermal expansion (CTE) in ceramic PCBs is typically comparable to that of the components. The CTE value can range from 6 ppm/oC up to 8 ppm/oC, which results in lower stress on the solder joint. This is because the material’s lower thermal expansion coefficient minimizes the potential for component damage due to temperature fluctuations.
Distinct Characteristics and Applications of Alumina PCB in the Printed Circuit Board Industry
Alumina is a critical material used in the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs), and it possesses distinct characteristics that set it apart from other metals. PCBs made of ceramic parts, specifically those composed of Alumina, differ greatly from those made of other materials.
Alumina PCBs serve essential functions within the PCB industry, particularly in cases where other PCBs do not provide the necessary functionality. The durable and robust nature of Alumina PCBs provides substantial support for electronic components. The material is ideal for surface mounting on PCBs, offering superior performance compared to other materials. Although it can be more costly than other materials, this is mainly the case when it is used in the production of the most expensive equipment.
Unlike other PCBs, Alumina PCBs require no dielectric layer between the circuit and core, making them more robust. They undergo a complex production process that includes exposure to high temperatures, regardless of the manufacturing method used.
The production of ceramic PCBs involves many stages, with direct copper connecting being a crucial factor. A ceramic circuit board is a solid thermal dielectric material made using both thick-film printing and film printing processes. The surface finish applied to Alumina ceramic PCBs is of the utmost importance, with immersion gold being an excellent example of the finish used.
In the production process, directly plated copper is extensively used, and the direct plating of copper significantly affects the performance of Alumina PCBs.
Benefits of Alumina Ceramic PCB
Excellent electrical insulation: Alumina ceramic PCBs provide outstanding insulation that makes them ideal for use in high-performance applications.
● High thermal conductivity: The material’s high thermal conductivity allows for efficient transfer of heat, making it ideal for use in components that generate a significant amount of heat.
● Resistance to chemical hazards: Alumina ceramic PCBs demonstrate excellent resistance to chemical hazards, making them ideal for use in laboratory and medical settings.
● Hermeticity: Alumina ceramic PCBs offer superior sealing and isolation properties, tightly locking components in place and protecting them from environmental contaminants.
● Versatility: Alumina ceramic PCBs can be used across a range of applications, including cooling and heating units, medical circuits, LED board sensors, and high-frequency devices.
● Cost-effective: Alumina ceramic PCBs are relatively inexpensive, making them a cost-effective solution for a range of electronic applications.
At JarnisTech, we provides a comprehensive range of Aluminum Oxide PCBs with different purities – Al2O3 96%, 99.5%, and 99.5% 99.5%. Our products are created using both thin film process with silver metalization and Direct Plated Copper (DPC) technologies, offering a choice between copper track and pad options to our customers.
Common Uses Made of the Alumina PCB
Alumina PCBs are commonly utilized in a range of high-performance electronic applications, including:
● Cooling and heating units: Alumina PCBs’ high thermal conductivity and insulation properties make them ideal for use in cooling and heating systems.
● Medical circuits: Alumina PCBs are resistant to chemical hazards, making them perfect for use in medical circuits that require reliable and safe operation.
● LED board sensors: Alumina PCBs are commonly used in LED board sensors due to their excellent electrical insulation and thermal conduction capabilities.
● High-frequency devices: Alumina PCBs offer superior electrical insulation and thermal properties, making them ideal for use in high-frequency devices.
● Aerospace and defense applications: Alumina PCBs are also utilized in aerospace and defense applications, where a combination of high durability and lightweight construction is essential.
● Automotive electronics: Alumina PCBs are ideal for use in automotive electronics due to their high thermal conductivity, durability, and resistance to chemical hazards.
Comparison with Other PCB Substrates
When looking at the comparison between Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3) ceramic PCBs and other types of PCB substrates, here are some common features that are generally compared:
● FR4 (Flame Retardant 4) is a type of epoxy laminate material widely used for PCBs.
● FR4 PCBs are cheaper and more commonly used than ceramic PCBs.
● FR4 PCBs have lower thermal conductivity and may not work as well with high-powered applications.
● Metal-core PCBs use a metal (usually aluminum) core with a dielectric layer and a copper layer.
● Metal-core PCBs have better thermal conductivity than FR4 PCBs, but still not as good as ceramic PCBs.
● Metal-core PCBs are better suited than FR4 PCBs for high-powered applications.
● Ceramic PCBs have higher thermal conductivity, which allows them to handle high-powered applications and to dissipate heat more efficiently.
● Ceramic PCBs are more expensive than FR4 PCBs and metal-core PCBs.
● Ceramic PCBs have better electrical insulation properties that metal-core PCBs, which can be an advantage for certain applications such as high-voltage applications.
It should be noted that the comparison between these different types of PCB substrates depends on the specific requirements of the application at hand, such as power, thermal performance, frequency, size, cost, and reliability.
Alumina Prototype Ceramic PCB Delivery Date and Price
The pricing of Alumina PCBs can vary depending on different factors such as the board’s dimensions, order quantity, and specific manufacturing requirements. To obtain a quote, customers may provide us with Gerber documents outlining their requirements.
While standard FR4 and aluminum PCBs typically have a turnaround time of 5-7 days, the production of Alumina Ceramic PCBs requires more intricate manufacturing steps, which can take between 13-15 days to complete. However, at JarnisTech, we realize the significance of meeting our customers’ urgent requirements and also offer expedited order options that can be fulfilled within a week in certain cases.
Future Developments and Prospects of Alumina Ceramics PCBs
There are several potential future developments and prospects for Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3) Ceramic PCBs, including:
Increased integration: Alumina ceramic PCBs may be used in more integrated designs, where smaller size and higher integration are required.
Advanced materials: Other materials such as SiC (silicon carbide) or B4C (boron carbide) may be used in combination with Al2O3 to enhance thermal conductivity, improve mechanical strength, or reduce cost.
Functionalization: Alumina ceramic PCBs may be developed to have new functionalities such as sensing, actuating, or energy harvesting, by integrating additional materials or devices on the surface.
3D printing: Additive manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing may be used to make complex and customized ceramic PCBs with improved performance and reduced lead time.
Green technology: Alumina ceramic PCBs provide a more environmentally friendly solution compared to traditional PCBs. As such, there could be a rise in demand for ceramic PCBs with environmental considerations taking priority.
These developments and prospects will contribute to the improvement of alumina ceramic PCBs and will extend the potential applications for these materials.
This article serves as an informative guide on Alumina Ceramic PCBs, highlighting their distinctive features, benefits, limitations, and potential applications. It is notable that Alumina PCBs have become a substitute for aluminum PCBs and copper-based PCBs in high-performance power applications, rendering them a valuable electronic component in the market.
If you are searching for premium quality ceramic circuit printed boards and assembly services, please contact JarnisTech. Our team specializes in manufacturing high precision Alumina PCBs and providing top-notch assembly services to meet the diverse needs of our customers.