Get ready for the 01005-size chip capacitor. Responding to industry demand for ever-shrinking electronics devices, passive component manufacturers such as Murata Electronics (Smyrna, Ga.) and Samsung Electro-Mechanics (Gyunggi-Do, Korea) have announced the availability of ceramic capacitors in a tiny 01005 case size to help designers develop smaller and lighter products.
Measuring 0.4 mm x 0.2 mm x 0.2mm, Murata's new GRM02 series offers a capacitance range between 2 to 15 picofarads (pF) for COG characteristics and 1,000 to 10,000 pF for X5R characteristics. Samsung Electro-Mechanics' (SEM) 01005 ceramic capacitors will initially be available with a capacitance range of 1 to 10 pF for the COG characteristics and 1,000 to 4,700 pF for X5R characteristics.
The key application for the tiny capacitor is microwave modules that are used in communications equipment such as cellular phones and other mobile communications devices, said Karun Malhotra, capacitor marketing manager for Murata Electronics North America Inc. "We have developed the new 01005-size chip monolithic ceramic capacitors specifically for use in mobile electronics."
Over the next couple of years, Malhotra expects the new devices to be used primarily in power amps, VCOs, TCXOs and anything related to the mobile communications market, as well as high-frequency circuits and modules. As the market develops, prices come down and volumes go up, they may be used in remote key controls and other small devices with higher functionality, he said.
Malhotra said the new GRM02 takes up approximately 50 percent less board space and offers a volume reduction of about 70 percent. The reduction in length helps lower the inductance level, which makes the capacitor suitable for high frequency applications, he added.
One of the key reasons why passive component makers continue to develop smaller packages for discrete components is because the current technology for integrated devices doesn't allow for high capacitance values. It's very difficult at least with current technology to achieve higher capacitance levels with integrated circuits, Malhotra said. As a result, discrete components will be around for much longer, he said.
Despite industry need for smaller components, the challenge is handling the tiny devices. Some OEMs and electronics manufacturing service (EMS) companies still have problems handling the 0201-size devices. However, Malhotra noted that at least two equipment manufacturers are working on the development of pick-and-place equipment to handle the new package size.
Both companies succeeded in developing the small size by improving their manufacturing processes. To achieve a higher capacitance of 10,000 pF in the 01005 case size, Murata has improved its processes for printing, laminating and cutting to create a thin layer dielectric material.
Similarly, SEM has adopted advanced new compression, cutting, laminating and polishing processes to ensure the chip is maintained with high precision technology. The company has also developed its own high-precision control equipment and production technology as part of its 01005-size MLCC research and development project. As a result, the company can now print internal electrodes with a tolerance of plus/minus 2 microns. SEM has also refined its capabilities to apply external electrodes, reducing the width from 150 to 90 microns.
Murata expects a monthly production of 10 million pieces starting in November 2003. Delivery for samples is four to six weeks. Murata projects industry demand for the 01005 packages by the end of 2004. SEM is planning for volume production in August 2004.
Murata Electronics North America
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