Embedded Passives PCB

Printed Circuit Boards with embedded passive/embedded active components technologies have many advantages over a general design PCB. One of the largest benefits is allowing the PCB designer to shrink the overall package by taking some of the basic components like resistors, capacitors, and inductors off of the surface and embedding them into the board, in-turn freeing up valuable surface real estate. Some smaller benefits may include less parasitic loss in high frequency applications and a possible reduction in manufacturing costs for complex products. Also there are some Engineering advantages like integrating an EMI, (Electro-Magnetic Interference) shield in order to eliminate a surface mounted shield, or elimination of ‘via inductance’ in high speed applications by locating the passive directly under the IC’s pin.

The most common type of embedded passive technology is the use of special metalized substrates layered in a way that it becomes seamlessly integrated in the PCB itself allowing the design to incorporate a replication of thousands of discrete components. Other methods of embedding components include different ways of incorporating an ‘active’ component into the PCB. These methods are more of a mechanical way of incorporation by displacing part of the PCB in order to make room for the component to be embedded. There are 3 major styles of doing this operation; IMB (Integrated Module Board), ECBU, (Embedded Chip Build-up), and CIP, (Chip in Polymer).

Lastly, a very large sector that is growing rapidly is the incorporation of inductance coils into the PCB for devices like WPT, (Wireless Power Transfer) or also known as inductance charging and or wireless charging. This is a very simple and cheap method that is a great alternative to having a component coil that is mounted to the PCB. Not only is it very economical, but it also reduces the packages’ overall size considerably. The largest problem with this technology is that most PCB manufactures don’t have the ability to test ALL the aspects of the design to ensure the end user receives a coil to their exact engineered specifications. Special testing equipment is needed that is proprietary to measuring the inductance of a coil. With this lack of ability to test properly it results in sometimes very poor yields because of rejection at the board assembly process.

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