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Understanding the electrical performance of flexible circuits at high-end digital transmission frequencies presents a growing challenge. The HDPUG High-Frequency Flex project is studying the effect of different design features, specifically cross hatched ground planes, on signal integrity for flexible printed circuit boards operating at frequencies up to 20 GHz. Jonathan Weldon, RF Applications Engineer at DuPont Electronic Materials, discusses some of the results of the program.
Akber Roy, Rush PCB Inc.
Designing with flexible PCBs is not much different from doing the same with rigid boards, except that the designer must account for the mechanical complexity associated with flex circuits. For instance, a flexible PCB can tear if flexed beyond its capability during installation. Therefore, it is very important to create a mechanical model of the PCB and test it for a proper fit, before taking up the electrical design.
Heidi Hoffman, SEMI
According to Zion Research, “global demand for the flexible electronics market was valued at $5.13B in 2015 and is expected to generate revenue of $16.5B by 2021, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 21% between 2016 and 2021.” Key elements of the market, in the view of most analysts, include flex displays, sensors, batteries, and memory.
G. Sidney Cox, COX CONSULTING
Materials to make high-speed flexible circuits are now available from many material suppliers. In deciding which materials to test or use, remember the tradeoffs the suppliers made in categories we discussed: electrical properties, mechanical/flex properties, and ease of processing. A choice should only be made after considering these options. Remember with any new materials it is very important to find fabricators that are knowledgeable about processing these new materials.