Additive manufacturing defines new boundaries for 3D electronic packaging, determined by new exceptional materials, new 3D cavity structures and the everlasting drive for lower cost of manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is a complex process by which products are constructed layer by layer using a 3D-printable set of materials such as photopolymers, metals, inks, resins, and elastomers.

Over the past several decades, additive manufacturing has failed to penetrate the full realms of 3D electronic packaging manufacturing due to an insufficient set of materials properties and insufficient throughput of printed structures. In polymers, poor materials’ properties (toughness of less than 10 MJ/m³) are often caused by high cure stresses that cause weakness between layers, and cannot provide sufficient throughput due to oxygen sensitivity, forcing batch production.

Additive manufacturing promises to deliver unlimited differentiated products and unprecedented part performance through precise internal geometries and economical customized parts. It can do this by building a part layer by layer, feature by feature. Some of the established additive manufacturing technologies, such as selective laser sintering (SLS), polyjet printing (PJP) and stereolithography (SLA), have already been adopted for prototype manufacturing in 3D electronic packaging. However 3D printing of resins and inkjet-based additive manufacturing are defining new boundaries in semiconductor packaging.

New materials developed by Adaptive3D provide an advanced technology platform through proprietary thiol-based chemistry that enables additive manufacturing of tough functional parts at high throughput and low cost. Adaptive3D materials have low-cure stress that enhances (Z) strength and they are not sensitive to oxygen during production. Because of this, they can be used to produce premium functional parts with market-leading mechanical and thermal performance in consumer, medical transportation, oil and gas and industrial and electrical markets.

According to several recently published announcements by microTEC 3D printing technologies have been adopted for polymer multichip module (P-MCM) processing for surface mount board-level integration. The challenges for 3D printed electronics defined by TechSearch International include lack of reliability data, printed feature size higher than 30 microns, and the need for anti-oxidation protection for materials such as Ag.  but allow fast ion demand manufacturing involving multiple materials including dielectrics that in some cases can be printed simultaneously. The potential commercial applications are extremely broad-ranging and include spiral antennas, photovoltaics, wearable electronics and MEMS sensors for many different applications.

To learn more about this exciting new frontier, download the white paper here

Walter Voit

Dr. Voit is the CEO, the founder and a member of the board of Adaptive3D Technologies.…

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