Today's circuit boards feature new substrate materials, high-density interconnect technology, laser-drilled microvias... the list goes on.
Well, it has to be said that this is a rather exciting time -- it's not every day that one gets to see the launch of a new EE Times Designline, especially one as tasty as our new PCB Designline.
For myself, I'm delighted to be the editor of PCB Designline, having been involved with printed circuit boards in their various incarnations for more than 40 years now. I remember when I was a young lad of about 16, reading the UK hobby electronics magazine, Practical Electronics. Many of those projects were presented on stripboard, and I recall being a "dab hand" with the little tool that was used to insert breaks in the tracks.
Every now and then, one of those hobby projects would be based on a single-sided PCB that one purchased from the magazine. Even though the tracks were incredibly chunky and clunky by today's standards -- and you had to use lots of jumpers, because creating a double-sided board would have been too expensive -- I still thought of these little scamps as being objects of beauty.
Even in those days of yore, I would select resistors and capacitors based on their color and appearance in addition to their value so as to make my boards look as nice as possible. (See also my blog, The Awesome Art of Bodacious Breadboards.)
Later, in the 1980s, I spent countless hours creating prototype boards using wire wrap technology. In many ways this was a lot of fun, but you had to be extremely careful and meticulous, because debugging an errant wire could be a frustrating and time-consuming experience.
The sad thing is that, to a large extent, circuit boards are the Rodney Dangerfield of the electronics industry: They don't get no respect! This is unfortunate, because there's at least one circuit board in every electronic product. Also, today’s circuit boards are incredibly sophisticated and feature things like new substrate materials, high-density interconnect (HDI) technology offering track width measured in thousandths of an inch, laser-drilled microvias... the list goes on.
Happily, circuit boards have recently started to attract much more attention, culminating in the launching of this new EE Times PCB Designline. And what are we going to be looking at here? Well, the simple answer is everything and anything associated with the capture of circuit board designs, their implementation, verification and analysis (including thermal analysis, signal integrity analysis, etc.), and manufacture. We will look at tools and techniques, trends and technologies, exotic materials, and... well... let's not limit ourselves; the world is our oyster (or snail or squid or any mollusk of your choice).
How about you? What circuit board technologies are you currently using? Have you used any interesting technologies in the past? (There's one I'm thinking of in particular, but I'm not saying anything because I want to see if anyone else brings it up.)