Flex circuits made from LCP, a thermoplastic polyester, use a newly developed, adhesiveless, roll-to-roll process flow similar to that used for polyimide substrate, including vacuum metallization, additive plating and chemical etching of dielectric. Critical dimensions for both LCP raw test circuits and LCP-coverlayer-laminated LCP test circuits from multiple lots met the specification established for polyimide circuits.
LCP circuits have also proven to be dimensionally stable at elevated temperature in common post-circuit operations including die attachment, wire bonding, encapsulation and solder reflow. Trace adhesion was not degraded after solder immersion at 280 C. Wire bonding has proven to be as straightforward as on polyimide, yielding strong wire bonds in a large process window. Integration studies with other materials such as LCP coverlayers and soldermasks that could enable a wide variety of product constructions with multiple materials are going forward.
Initial parts passed the entire battery of reliability tests that included moisture resistance, thermal shock and temp-humidity-bias stressing to enable the definition of preliminary process conditions for a wide variety of soldermasks with different polymer chemistries. LCP-based flex circuits should have extended applications beyond those for existing polyimide offerings, due to their reduced moisture uptake and coefficient of humidity expansion and better electrical properties, particularly dissipation factor. These applications include liquid crystal display module (LCDM), medical, high frequency applications, high-density disk drive and integrated circuit packaging.
Below is the white paper by Dr. Terry F. Hayden
3M Microelectronics Systems: Click here to view WP on New Liquid Crystal Polymer