Capacitor manufacturers are looking to offset steep price declines of ceramic capacitors with new designs and technologies. The good news for designers is the myriad of new specialty products that target specific applications or solve a particular design challenge.
Passive component manufacturers that are doing a good job of developing higher performance or specialty ceramic capacitors include AVX, Cal-Chip, EPCOS, Syfer and Taiyo Yuden.
For instance, Syfer Technology (Norfolk, England) offers a new series of ceramic chip capacitors designed specifically for snubber circuits in high-frequency electronic ballasts for fluorescent lighting systems.
The surface-mount ceramic capacitors in a 1206 case size are said to provide a low and stable equivalent series resistance (ESR) and operate over a wide temperature range of -55° to 125°C, making them suitable for ballast operating frequencies of 20 kHz to100 kHz. These devices are available in a capacitance value range up to 1 nF, with a maximum peak-to-peak voltage of 600 V over a wide operating frequency range.
Designed for snubber circuits, the new Syfer chip capacitors provide low ESR and operate over a wide temperature range.
In addition, the Syfer chip caps are capable of withstanding a dv/dt in excess of 5 kV/μs, making the devices suitable for ballasts, which can produce voltage waveforms to very high dv/dt levels. The voltage waveforms used may be of several varying types, depending on the application. Click here for the product brief.
Developing new components for aerospace/military markets is another area where capacitor makers are focusing many of their new component designs.
AVX Corp. (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) continues to meet the needs of its military and aerospace customers with the introduction of the LD series of multi-layer ceramic capacitors. The LD capacitors offer tin-lead solder terminations with 5 percent lead minimum.
Available in a wide range of sizes from 0402 to 0612, the LD series offers a capacitance value range of .5 pF to 4.7 μF, depending on case size and dielectric, with voltages ranging from 6.3 V to 500 V. Applications include military products, missiles, guidance systems, communication and radar equipment, and space products such as satellites, rockets and rovers. Click here for the product brief.
Targeting military and aerospace applications, the AVX LD series capacitors offer tin-lead solder terminations in a wide range of case sizes from 0402 to 0612.
Also in the realm of high reliability, AVX addresses the automotive industry's need for more robust components with its new soft termination system, called FlexiTerm. Developed for its line of multilayer ceramic chip capacitors (MLCCs), the new technology allows nearly three times the amount of board flexure when compared to standard termination systems. This means that capacitors won't crack even under severe environmental stress. Click here for the product review.
In addition, AVX 's new series of X8R ceramic capacitors delivers high efficiency at elevated temperature applications, especially for high temperature environments such as automotive under-bonnet sensors in areas including the engine compartment (on engine or gearbox), the chassis (near breaks, hydraulics) or the cabin itself. The capacitors are available as standard and automotive AEC-Q200 qualified parts. Click here for the product brief.
Also targeting automotive applications, EPCOS AG (Munich, Germany) has developed a new type of ceramic capacitor, designated as a multi-layer serial ceramic capacitor (MLSC), to minimize the risk of short circuits if the capacitor is damaged, particularly for applications where the capacitor is permanently connected to a power source or voltage source such as in automotive electronic circuits. This new technology offers high reliability at the ppb level due to more stringent process control and end of line testing, and meets AEC-Q200 requirements. Click here for the product brief.
In the area of new technologies, AVX Corp. has introduced a new series of porcelain and ceramic dielectric multilayer capacitor (MLC) chips with a new internal construction that allows for as much as 40 percent lower ESR than in previous versions. Also offering high current and high Q, the new SQ series chips are suitable for RF/microwave applications ranging from 10 MHz to 4.2 GHz. Available in 1210 and 0605 sizes with voltages up to 500 Vdc, the new series is said to offer superior stability under the stresses of changing voltage, frequency, time and temperature. Click here for the product brief.
For high-voltage applications, Cal-Chip Electronics Inc. (Ivyland, Pa.) has expanded its CHV series of high-voltage MLCC capacitors with voltages of up to 10 kV. These devices are typically specified for surge suppression and temperature compensation in high-voltage applications where PC-board space is limited. Applications include wireless and portable products such as notebook computers, cellular phones, PDAs, camcorders, VCRs, telecommunications and test equipment. Click here for the product brief.
The CHV series of high-voltage MLCCs from Cal-Chip Electronics is designed for surge suppression and temperature compensation in high-voltage applications where board space is limited.
Syfer Technology has also developed a range of high-voltage capacitors. These new devices are available in smaller packages to help product designers meet ever-tightening constraints for increased performance in a reduced form factor. The 4 kV DC-rated capacitors are available in 1808, 1812, 2220 and 2225 case sizes, compared with the 3640 package size typically required to deliver 4 kV-rated capacitors. Click here for the product brief.
Focused on packing higher capacitance in smaller packaging, Taiyo Yuden (U.S.A.), Inc. (Schaumburg, Ill.) introduced the industry's first 2.2 μF MLCC in a standard 0402 case size thanks to manufacturing process improvements. This doubles the capacitance of 1 μF previously available in a 0402. Designed for cell phones, digital cameras and personal data assistants, these new devices can replace larger 2.2 μF 0603 devices in these applications for a 50% board space savings. Click here for the product review.
Taiyo Yuden has also added a new, ultra-small 0402 case size (1.0 x 0.5 x 0.5 mm) to its popular CFCAP line of super low distortion surface-mount MLCCs. Click here for the product brief.