Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs are an emerging technology that offers a unique combination of properties and advantages for high-temperature and high-power applications. Unlike traditional Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), they are made from ceramic materials, making them highly resistant to high temperatures, chemical resistance, and able to withstand mechanical stresses.
The demand for power electronics is growing exponentially, driven by the adoption of renewable energy sources and the need for more efficient power management in electric vehicles. Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs offer excellent thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties that make them ideal for high-power, high-temperature applications, thus promising to meet the growing demand for power electronics.
In this article, we will discuss the unique properties and advantages of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs, their manufacturing process, design considerations, and applications.
What Exactly Is Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCB ?
Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a relatively new semiconductor material that offers unique properties and characteristics. SiC has proven to be a highly promising material due to its exceptional electrical and physical properties. These properties include a higher breakdown field, thermal conductivity, and saturation velocity, which make it an attractive alternative to traditional semiconductor materials like silicon.
Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs (printed circuit boards) are a type of circuit board that utilizes ceramic materials with a high percentage of silicon carbide in their composition. These PCBs are gaining increasing attention due to their unique combination of properties, which include high thermal conductivity, high strength, and excellent electrical insulation.
Compared to traditional circuit boards made of fiberglass or other materials, silicon carbide ceramic PCBs are ideal for use in high-temperature and high-power applications, such as power electronics, automotive, aerospace, and defense. They also offer improved reliability and reduced size, weight, and cost. However, the manufacturing process and design considerations for silicon carbide ceramic PCBs differ from traditional PCBs, and special care is required to ensure the integrity of the circuits.
Manufacturing Process of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs
The manufacturing process of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs typically involves the following steps:
● Ceramic Powder Preparation: The silicon carbide powder is mixed with other ceramic materials and additives to create a slurry. This slurry is then dried, and the powder is ready for pressing or forming.
● Pressing/Forming: The dry silicon carbide powder is formed into predetermined shapes using a variety of techniques such as uniaxial pressing, isostatic pressing, or slip casting.
● Sintering: The formed parts are then sintered in a furnace at high temperatures which eliminates the binders and densify and bond the powders together.
● Machining: The sintered parts are machined with the necessary features and circuitry using various tools like laser cutters or diamond drills to create the proper shape and design of the circuit board.
● Metallization: Metal layers are added to the pre-determined areas of the ceramic board using various methods such as sputtering or plating.
● Insulation Layer: Insulation layers made of ceramic materials like alumina or glass are added to the metalized layers to ensure proper electrical insulation.
● Finishing: The ceramic boards undergo a final polishing, cleaning, and testing to ensure proper functionality, reliability, and integrity.
The manufacturing process of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs is more complex and time-consuming than traditional PCBs due to the use of ceramic materials, specialized equipment, and machining techniques. However, the resulting PCB offers excellent thermal performance and high strength, making it ideal for use in high-temperature and high-power applications.
Design Considerations for Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs
The design considerations for Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs are different from traditional PCBs and require special attention. Here are some of the important design considerations for Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs:
● Thermal Management: The high thermal conductivity of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs requires special attention to thermal management. Care must be taken to ensure proper cooling of the PCB, and heat-sinks, thermal pads, or thermal vias may be necessary to ensure efficient heat dissipation.
● Mechanical Strength: The high strength of the ceramic PCBs requires proper support and mounting to avoid any structural damage. Care must be taken not to subject the PCB to mechanical stresses during assembly or use.
● Insulation and Dielectric Properties: The excellent electrical insulation properties of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs require careful consideration of the insulation and dielectric properties of the PCB materials used. Designers need to ensure proper spacing between the conductive traces and the cutouts in the board to avoid any electrical shorts.
● Manufacturing Constraints: Due to the different machining and manufacturing processes involved in Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs, designers need to ensure that the final design is manufacturable using the chosen fabrication processes. This may involve design for manufacturability (DFM) techniques and pre-production prototypes.
● Connector Compatibility: Choosing suitable connectors for Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs is crucial, mainly when the board is exposed to extreme temperatures or high vibration environments that can affect the connection integrity.
Applications of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs
The unique combination of properties and advantages of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs makes them ideal for a wide range of high-temperature and high-power applications. Here are some of the common applications of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs:
● Power Electronics: Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs are used in power electronics for applications such as Voltage Regulators, Inverters, Motor Drives, and DC-to-DC Converters due to their high power handling capacity, low power loss, and high-temperature capability.
● Automotive: Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs are being increasingly used in electric and hybrid vehicles for applications such as Battery Management Systems, DC-DC Converters, and charging infrastructures due to their robustness, high power handling capacity, and ability to withstand high temperatures.
● Aerospace and Defense: Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs are used in aerospace and defense applications for high-temperature and high-power applications such as sensing, communication systems, and radar systems.
● Medical Devices: Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs are used in medical devices such as implantable devices, analytical equipment, and surgical tools due to their excellent chemical resistance, biocompatibility, and high mechanical strength.
● Industrial Applications: Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs are used in oil and gas, mining, and chemical processing industries for high-temperature and high-power applications due to their excellent resistance to chemicals and high-temperature stability
The range of applications for Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs is expanding as research in material science and advances in manufacturing techniques continue to improve their performance and cost-effectiveness.
Definition of Silicon Carbide
Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a semiconductor compound that comprises silica (Si) and carbon (C). The chemical bond of SiC is incredibly robust, rendering it thermally, mechanically, and chemically stable. SiC is found in various polymorphic crystal structures, or polytypes, and each has its distinct physical characteristics. The 4H-SiC polytype, in particular, has been recognized as the most suitable for power electronics applications.
Silicon Carbide Ceramics Structure
Silicon Carbide has an extensive range of crystal structures, with over 250 known types. One of the unique characteristics of SiC is its polymorphic aspect. SiC is characterized by a broad group of crystal structures called polymorphs that share similarity with one another. Although the polymorphs differ from each other in three dimensions, they are identical at two dimensions while being part of a particular hierarchical stacked layers system.
SiC Material Properties
Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a semiconductor that boasts a bandgap range wider than that of Silicon (3.26 eV vs. 1.12 eV). SiC possesses a host of favorable properties critical for power electronics applications.
The dielectric strength of SiC is ten times greater than Silicon, which makes it a highly dependable option for high voltage applications. SiC enables high voltage support at smaller distances between devices due to the power of its dielectric. The smaller drift area between drains and the channel contact in vertical devices delivers reduced electrical resistance for lower power losses.
SiC’s wider bandgap creates fewer free electrons and lower leakage current resulting in reduced thermal carrier generation. Additionally, SiC devices exhibit smaller, more stable leakage currents over a wider range of temperatures than traditional Si devices. Such features make SiC MOSFETs and diodes a better choice for high-temperature applications.
SiC exhibits superior thermal conductivity, three times greater than Silicon, promoting better heat dissipation. It enables lower operating temperatures and less stress on switches, which are crucial elements of power electronic device design.
Moreover, SiC offers twice the electron saturation speed of Silicon, enabling higher switching speeds that result in reduced switching losses. Higher pulse-width-modulation (PWM) frequencies with certain power conversion topologies can result in smaller, lighter, and more affordable passive elements. Passive elements are often the most substantial and costliest elements of the system.
SiC wafer fabrication is more challenging than Si wafer manufacturing processes. SiC boules must be created using chemical deposition in a vacuum chamber, unlike the silicon balls that can be drawn from melting. This process is time-consuming and difficult to achieve with an acceptable level of imperfections. The cutting of wafers from SiC boules, a hard and brittle material commonly used industrially for cutting, requires special methods.
Silicon Carbide Advantages
In 2011, Cree introduced Silicon Carbide to the market. It possesses a breakdown field strength that is ten times higher than that of Silicon. Consequently, it requires comparatively less material to withstand high temperatures, resulting in significantly lower ON resistance. SiC also exhibits greater stability in its ON-resistance over a wide temperature range, as compared to Silicon, and changes only 1/10th as much over a temperature range spanning from 25C to 150C.
Furthermore, SiC boasts superior thermal conductivity when pitted against Silicon or GaN.
Silicon Carbide Ceramics Applications
Prior to the discovery of boron carbide in 1929, silicon carbide was recognized as the most robust synthetic material available. With a Mohs hardness score of 9, it is comparable to diamonds in terms of durability. Additionally, SiC crystals exhibit fracture properties that make them highly effective in grinding wheels, abrasive cloth, and paper products.
SiC’s superior thermal conductivity, high-temperature strength, low thermal expansion, and resistance to chemical reactivity and thermal shock make it a valuable material for producing high-temperature bricks and other refractory items.
Furthermore, SiC ceramic can function as a semiconductor and possesses electrical conductivity that is similar to insulating and metallic materials. Together with its distinctive thermal properties, this feature positions SiC as an ideal substitute for traditional semiconductors like silicon in high-temperature applications.
Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCB prototyping Delivery Time and Charge
Cost: The cost of a Silicon Carbide PCB relies on several factors, such as board size, thickness, surface finish, color, and the number of layers (single, double, or multi-layer PCB). The price of Silicon Carbide PCBs could potentially decrease as the number of orders increases, and suppliers and manufacturers may offer discounts to customers who place large orders from China.
As a reputable manufacturer in this industry, we offer OEM services and provide attractive discounts on bulk purchases. Furthermore, we welcome requests for quotes from customers, who can submit their request by furnishing a Gerber-formatted file.
Delivery Time: The typical lead time for manufacturing a basic FR4 or aluminum PCB board in a standard production plant is roughly 3-6 days. However, the manufacturing process of Silicon Carbide PCBs involves a number of intricate steps, and consequently, requires a longer lead time. As such, the delivery time for Ceramic PCBs can range between 12 and 13 working days.
To meet the needs of our valued customers, JarnisTech accepts expedited orders that can be processed in as little as a week. We are committed to providing agile and flexible solutions that meet customer requirements.
Future Outlook for Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs
The future outlook for Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs is promising. The materials’ unique combination of thermal conductivity, high strength, and excellent electrical insulation make them ideal for use in high-temperature and high-power applications.
The demand for power electronics is also expected to grow in the coming years, driven by increased adoption of renewable energy sources and the need for more efficient power management in electric vehicles. The use of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs can help meet these needs and allow for the development of more powerful and efficient electronic devices.
Research in the development of new Silicon Carbide Ceramic Materials, improved manufacturing processes, circuit designs and other associated technologies will increase the efficiency of the Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs. This development will result in lower cost, better reliability, and improved performance of these PCBs providing a more promising outlook for the future of these materials.
Moreover, investments and collaborations of some of the leading players in the electronics industry in research and development of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs have intensified in recent years. Such a trend suggests that this technology may become more widespread in the next few years.
As a result, the future of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs looks promising, with increased demand and continuous advancement in material science and manufacturing processes.
Your Silicon Carbide Ceramics PCB Supplier
Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs offer a unique combination of properties and advantages that make them ideal for high-temperature and high-power applications. They exhibit high thermal conductivity, durability, high strength and resistance to breakage, high power handling capacity, and excellent electrical insulation, making them an excellent choice for power electronics, aerospace, automotive, and defense industries.
The manufacturing process of Silicon Carbide Ceramic PCBs is more complex and specialized than traditional PCBs, and designers need to take care of special considerations such as thermal management, mechanical strength, insulation and dielectric properties, manufacturing constraints, and connector compatibility.
JarnisTech is a premier manufacturer of high-quality silicon carbide ceramic products that are widely used across various industries. We are pleased to offer comprehensive guidance on material selection, design, and potential applications. For further details, please do not hesitate to contact us. In case you have any questions or clarifications required on SiC or any other ceramic materials not listed on our website, feel free to reach out to us. Our team is always available to provide you with timely assistance and support.