Silver-Based Epoxy Makes Electronics Thinner

A silver-based epoxy - a kind of sliver ooze - has been created by Vertical Circuits to cut down on space requirements for electronic devices.

Rather than stacking memory chips and connecting them with loops of gold wires and then to a circuit board, the company uses a silver-based epoxy to take the place of the connecting wire and the packaging requirements. The result is a savings of 1.6 mm between its stacks of memory chips and more conventional ones.

The packages are made with a device that looks like a chef's pastry icing bag and nozzle; see the illustration below, taken from Vertical Circuit's website.

(Vertical Circuits Vertical Interconnect Pillar epoxy)

... When seen under the microscope, the goo covering the chips is reminiscent of lava coating terraced farms on a hillside.

“The device makers are dying to get that 1.6 mm back,” said Sunil Kaul, the chief executive at Vertical Circuits. He argues that the 1.6 mm could be the difference between a larger battery or larger screen fitting into a new device.

This sounds like a pretty good idea. It sounded like a good idea when I first read about it in 1974 in The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

"Now the alien's making something. I don't understand what's keeping it... It's got the cover off the control panel. It's rewiring things. A moment ago it was squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry. I'm only telling you what it looks like, of course..."
(Read more about Niven and Pournelle's metal paste)

From the New York Times; see also the Vertical Circuits company website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/20/2009)

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