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Embedding passive components (capacitors, resistors, and inductors) within printed wiring boards (PWBs) is one of a series of technology advances enabling performance increases, size and weight reductions, and potentially economic advantages in electronic systems. This paper explores the reliability testing and subsequent failure analysis for laser-trimmed Gould subtractive nickel chromium and MacDermid additive nickel phosphorous embedded resistor technologies within a PWB. Laser-trimmed resistors that have been “reworked” using an inkjet printing process to add material to their surface to reduce resistance have also been considered. Environmental qualification testing performed included: thermal characterization, stabilization bake, temperature cycling, thermal shock and temperature/humidity aging. In addition, a pre/post-lamination analysis was performed to determine the effects of the board manufacturing process on the embedded resistors. A failure analysis consisting of optical inspection, scanning acoustic microscope (SAM) and environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) imaging, and PWB cross-sectioning was employed to determine failure mechanisms. All the embedded resistors were trimmed and the test samples included resistors fabricated both parallel and perpendicular to the weave of the board dielectric material. Material stability assessment and a comparison with discrete resistor technologies was performed.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2005