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Panasonic Meeting Market Needs with Higher-Performance Megtron 7March 17, 2015 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
I-Connect Technical Editor Pete Starkey sat down with Panasonic’s Tony Senese and Tomoyuki Abe at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 in San Diego–high-speed digital materials, particularly those with very low-loss characteristics, was the focus of their discussion. Also noted were the positive responses from chemical process suppliers, and the realistic length of a product development cycle.
Pete Starkey: Panasonic Megtron 6 has become established as the industry standard, but I understand there is a new product coming out of development and in the early stages of production, Megtron 7, which is the lowest-loss material that is currently available from Panasonic. Can you gentlemen give me some details of the characteristics and performance of the material, and the sort of applications of the industry sectors where this material is going to be of substantial benefit?
Tony Senese: We have a technology development roadmap that we update on a regular basis at least a couple times a year, and we have several market segments that we track our products in.
Tomoyuki Abe: Right now, Megtron 6 is the standard of the high-end server router equipment material, but the market is requesting the more high-speed material. Megtron 6 is quite good, but the market needs higher-performance material.
Starkey: To clarify, when you talk about high-speed material, what sort of data rates are you aiming at?
Senese: In the high-speed digital area right now, products are operating in the 10 Gbps to 20 Gbps range enabled by Megtron 6. However, at 20 Gbps other things have to be done to the circuit boards to make them meet the loss budget. Megtron 6 enabled the major IT infrastructure suppliers to use very similar design techniques to what they were using at lower speeds—say, 6–10 Gbs. So now, that is kind of the standard rate in that high-speed digital arena.
Starkey: So Megtron 7 effectively is an enabler that opens up the possibilities for them to develop into higher data rates?
Senese: That’s right. Basically, at the 25 Gbps data range, which is actually already in place, Megtron 7 removes a few roadblocks that make the fabrication difficult. At the 25 Gbps data range, especially on the large format back planes, and some of the line cards, the loss budget is too close to the mark, even with Megtron 6. It is a goal of all of these infrastructure companies to increase the amount of data they can transmit because of things like streaming video that have started to become ubiquitous, so they need to have their core routers to be much faster.
So 25 Gbps is where they're designing right now, and there are people who are designing certain pieces of equipment at the 50 Gbps range. So that meansthat really Megtron 6 isn't enough to build those core routers, as is.
There are connectors being developed that are fast enough and can be used that are early in production, and the people that are building what I would call proof-of-concept hardware are really just too close to the edge. They can build it once, but they can't build it in high volume, or even in normal quantities. But when it comes to loss, there is quite the difference from Megtron 6.
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There has always been pressure to reduce line and space as we have seen the bleeding edge technology go from 8 mils to 5 mils and then to 3 mils. The difference between “then” and “now” is that the prior advancements, for the most part, used the same processes, chemistry and equipment going from 8 mils to 3 mils. But going from 3 mil to sub 1 mil trace and space is a quantum leap in printed circuit board (PCB) technology that requires a whole new set of processes and materials.
In a previous column, the critical process of desmear and its necessity to ensure a clean copper surface connection was presented. Now, my discussion will focus on obtaining a void-free and tightly adherent copper plating deposit on these surfaces. After the desmear process, the task is to insure a continuous, conductive, and void-free deposit on the via walls and capture pad. Today, there are several processes that can be utilized to render vias conductive.
Panasonic’s Darren Hitchcock spoke with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team on the complexities of moving toward ultra HDI manufacturing. As we learn in this conversation, the number of shifting constraints relative to traditional PCB fabrication is quite large and can sometimes conflict with each other.
MKS’ Atotech, a leading surface finishing brand of MKS Instruments, will participate in the upcoming IPCA Expo at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) and showcase its latest PCB manufacturing solutions from September 13 – 15.
Flexible circuit applications can be as basic as furnishing electrical interconnect between two conventional circuit board assemblies, or to prove a platform for placing and interconnecting electronic components. During the planning and pre-design phase of the flexible circuit, there will be several material and process related questions that need to be addressed. Most flexible circuit fabricators welcome the opportunity to discuss their customers’ flexible circuit objectives prior to beginning the actual design process.