Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is increasingly becoming a problem today - especially for new generation mobile phones and 5G technology. To meet this challenge, Heraeus now offers a new complete solution consisting of silver ink and printer for EMI shielding. This system is both less expensive and more effective than all other options available today. Vacuum-based sputtering can soon become obsolete for EMI shielding.
Faster, higher, further: The performance ability of today's electronics is constantly rising. But as frequencies increase, so is the amount of electromagnetic interference. In modern 5G mobile phones, the frequencies of several components are so high that they influence and interfere with each other. Classic shielding via metal housings is no longer possible when working with increasing needs of miniaturization. Heraeus' new solution now is based on a silver ink printer that ensures a clean and proper functioning of high-frequency on-board chips and their ultra-fast data transmission. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 5G Technology, Market and Forecasts 2019-2029.
Better shielding with less investment
This system consists of Heraeus special silver ink formula and a manufacturing machine that can apply the shielding coating using an inkjet process followed by various curing steps to make the silver ink conductive. In contrast to vacuum-based sputtering, the protective silver layer is applied to the desired carrier object with sub-micrometer precision by using printing nozzles in the inkjet process. "Our new EMI shielding system not only saves material and costs, but it also leads to a much better shielding performance. This is necessary for further miniaturization," says Franz Vollmann, Head of Heraeus Printed Electronics.
Silver inkjet-printing also offers further decisive advantages over sputtering in terms of cost and efficiency. The investment cost for the new Heraeus system is around US $500,000 (depending on the machine configuration), which is a fraction of the price of a sputtering system. At the same time, the number of units able to be produced per hour and system is between 12,000 and 15,000 - more than three times the output of a sputtering system. "Adding the saved investment, our inkjet process is 15 times better at one million parts per year," explains Vollmann.
Previous inkjet solutions often failed due to unsuitable inks, which irreparably clog the printheads over the long run. The Heraeus advantage lies in its innovative ink molecular structure: Based on Metal Organic Decomposition (MOD), the silver components are not individual ink nanoparticles, but linked elements of organic molecular chains. "After being applied to the object, the organic parts evaporate through the application of heat - only the silver remains," explains Vollmann. In this way, the heads remain unclogged by individual particles, which saves considerable costs and effort.
In a 5G world, the Heraeus EMI Shielding Solution is the cost-effective answer for technology that is going faster, higher and further every day, making the traditional vacuum based coating systems obsolete soon.
Structure of a Heraeus Silver layer printed and cured on a standard epoxy mold compound (taken by Focus Ion Beam Spectroscopy).
The Heraeus Inkjet System allows a precise coating to be applied with nanometer precision.
The fully automated solution from Heraeus offers the optimum solution for a wide range of EMI shielding applications.
Shielding performance of an epoxy molded and silver coated part in dB against a reference part without silver coating.
The shielding effect on the uncoated part comes from (minor) shielding properties of the epoxy mold material. Topped with Heraeus silver in, this shielding performance is increased massively and exceeds the results of sputtering.