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Thick Film Advantages

  • Thick Film vs. PCBs

  • What Are Thick Film Hybrids Used For?

  • Thick film circuits originated in the 1950s as an early form of microelectronics-enabling technology. A thick film circuit is smaller, more secure, and more robust than a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) generally. Unlike most PCBs, a ceramic hybrid circuit can work in water, under sand or in extreme heat conditions. Thick Film Hybrids are reliable and withstand wide temperature ranges with greater durability than conventional PCB assemblies.  The technology is used extensively in aerospace, defense, medical diagnostics, pharmaceutical, satellite, semiconductor, and automotive applications.

  • What Are The Benefits Of Thick Film Hybrids?

  • Compared to standard FR4 based PCBs, ceramic substrates produce excellent thermal conductivity. For example, Aluminum Oxide (Alumina) offers an increase in thermal conductivity of about 20 times over FR4 and Aluminum Nitride of about 100 times. Ceramic substrates also exhibit low thermal expansion properties, which is ideal for harsh environments with extreme temperatures. The combination of low thermal expansion and high thermal conductivity both limits thermal expansion and spreads it evenly spread across the board, reducing the possibility that large amounts of stress will be exerted in specific areas.

Key Benefits:

  • High reliability for harsh environments

  • Flexibility to choose precise resistor values with active laser trimming

  • High voltage resistors

  • Extended temperature range

  • Improved thermal management

  • Excellent high-frequency performance

  • Low start-up costs

  • Fast lead time to prototype


Electrical Specifications

  • Operates from DC to 20 GHz (Screened Au) or DC to 80 GHz (Etched Au)

  • Minimum geometries improve high frequency performance

  • Thick film resistors provide excellent thermal tracking

  • Active resistor trimming compensates for component variations

  • 0.1% Resistor ratios and absolute values possible

  • High dielectric isolation with increased high frequency response

  • Hybrid substrate combines electrical and mechanical function

  • Variety of voltages, power levels, frequencies, arrays, etc.


Mechanical Specifications

  • Substantial size and weight reductions

  • Pin-outs and packaging optimized to simplify system integration

  • Increased thermal dissipation and reduced temperature gradients

  • Packaged hybrids are almost indestructible

  • Proprietary packaging precludes reverse engineering of your design

  • Operational over extreme temperature range

  • True integration of semiconductor and passive device technologies

  • Hybrids allow minimal inventory, handling and assembly labor


  • Technological maturity allows reliability optimization in design

  • Ceramic substrates dissipate heat quickly so circuits run cooler

  • Minimal number of solder joints and interconnections

  • Automation optimizes error-free production

  • 850°C resistor firing insures stability at operating temperature

  • Vendor qualification and incoming inspection maintains standards

  • Adherence to military documentation insures traceability

  • Environmental screening and burn-in increase MTBF


  • High reliability minimizes expensive field failures or locations unable to repair

  • Automation of substrate fabrication and assembly reduces cost

  • Compact circuitry reduces system bulk to increase performance

  • Modest tooling and development expense

  • Functional trimming allows use of wider tolerance components

  • Screen printing offers cost effective resistor fabrication

  • Wide range of available components allows cost effective choices

  • Flexibility in design facilitates changes and modifications

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