Sanmina-SCI Corporation, a leading global electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company and Shocking Technologies, Inc., a developer of voltage switchable dielectric materials, announced last week, the production of what they believe is the world's first printed circuit board (PCB) with embedded electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection covering 100 percent of the components on the board.
Sanmina-SCI's PCB Division collaborated with its wholly owned subsidiary, Viking InterWorks(TM), and joint development partner, Shocking Technologies, to manufacture Viking VLP (Very Low Profile) DDR2 memory modules with Sanmina-SCI's patent pending eESD(TM) embedded electrostatic discharge protection technology. Initial third-party testing indicated marked improvement in ESD resistance of the sensitive memory devices mounted on the PCB. Multiple 6,000 volt discharges were directly injected into the modules without any damage or drop in performance recorded. This represented a 200% improvement in the energy protection level provided to the modules. With proper design, combining Xstatic(TM) with Sanmina-SCI's eESD technology, 15KV Human Body Model level's of protection per 61000-4-2 can be achieved.
"We are excited about this achievement," said George Dudnikov, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Sanmina-SCI's PCB and Backplane Divisions. "Up to now, we have been performing most of our development and performance evaluations on bare PCB test vehicles that did not have actual components mounted on them. After several months of successful lab tests we felt ready to try the technology on real products. The lab results fell right in line with our expectations and demonstrated the reliability enhancements our technology could deliver."
"Sanmina-SCI's eESD technology uses a thin continuous layer of our patented Xstatic voltage switchable dielectric material under a ground plane inside the PCB," explained Lex Kosowsky, CEO of Shocking Technologies. "The VSD material is programmed to switch from being a pure dielectric insulator to pure electrical conductor, and then dissipate the ESD transient to ground before resetting itself, all in less than a nanosecond. Our research scientists worked with Sanmina-SCI's R&D group to tailor the material to very specific electrical and thermo-mechanical properties allowing it to survive not only the board fabrication and assembly process, but also qualification reliability testing. It's gratifying to see the first products of our joint development performing so well in a real-world environment. We believe this technology has the potential to be a cost-effective solution to ESD for most PCB-based products. The global protection it provides clearly increases reliability and could significantly lower total system cost."
eESD can be utilized in various types of PCBs, including flex circuits and chip substrates to protect 100 percent of the I/O on the board from ESD damage. Dudnikov added, "It can significantly improve the reliability of electronics that have higher exposure and sensitivity to ESD, such as Smart Memory cards, cellular phones, PDAs and other handheld devices. IC manufacturers could potentially free up valuable chip space currently consumed by on-chip ESD protection diodes by moving the protective function to the substrate or PCB. We currently have one other memory manufacturer and a major cell phone manufacturer interested in the technology, and we expect to be in a position to start licensing the eESD technology by the end of the year."
Sanmina-SCI Corporation has also entered into a joint development agreement with Shocking Technologies Inc. to develop the use of Shocking's specialty polymers for embedding ESD protection into internal layers of PCBs. Shocking scientists will work with Sanmina-SCI development teams to formulate VSDM (Voltage Switchable Dielectric Materials) for inclusion in Sanmina-SCI's proprietary PCB structures. VSDM materials are specialty polymers that instantaneously change from insulators to conductors when a pre-programmed bi-directional voltage is applied.
"ESD is a hot topic in the electronics business today," said George Dudnikov. "Many companies are faced with the challenges of protecting their expensive components from damage caused by voltage or current transients. On-chip ESD protection is available but hampers chip design and performance. Discrete devices are also effective but consume valuable surface real estate and do not protect every component. Sanmina-SCI has been studying different approaches to utilize the PCB as a platform for providing ESD protection to these chips."
Source top image: Sanmina-SCI