Concentrated Expertise in Ceramics

Unique in Europe: SCHOTT now offers the full range of technologies for manufacturing hermetic housings for sensitive electronics from a single source.

The electronics industry in Europe and the U.S. is highly specialized, innovative, and thus very successful. This is ­especially true in fields such as telecommunications, sensors and medical technology, whereby electronic components that are capable of processing high data rates inside the smallest of spaces are needed. In order to support these companies even more effectively from the beginning of the development phase through to mass production, SCHOTT Electronic Packaging has broadened its product portfolio and bundled its ceramics ­expertise at one location.

“In Landshut, we have been developing and manufacturing hermetic seals for sensitive electronic and opto-electronic components since 1941,” says Andreas Becker, Managing Director of SCHOTT Electronic Packaging GmbH in Landshut and head of the Opto-electronics product division at SCHOTT Electronic Packaging. “In addition to glass, multilayer ceramics are being used more frequently. We are now the only vendor in Europe that is able to supply all types of housing technologies directly from a single source.”

Glass-to-metal sealed housings, ceramic-to-metal sealed housings and all-ceramic packages offer permanent hermetic protection. They are also insensitive to vibrations, corrosive substances and temperature fluctuations. Of all of these technologies, glass-to-metal sealed packaging is the most popular solution. These versatile materials offer long-term hermetic protection in a wide range of applications, such as airbag ­igniters and large-scale feedthroughs in power plants. Multilayer ceramics are the right choice in situations where very small and lightweight components are needed. The conductors are printed onto thin sheets of ceramic that are then stacked and sintered. This allows for a high number of conductors to be connected together in a complex manner inside the smallest of spaces. Multilayer ceramics are indispensable when it comes to miniaturizing electronic and opto-electronic components, as well as high-frequency applications.

High data rates need to be processed in telecommunications, in particular, but also in X-ray and radar applications. High temperature cofired ceramics (HTCC) are used when the signal path is rather short and superior mechanical stability and heat dissipation is ­important. Low temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC) with metallization that consist of precious metals are used for extended path lengths.

SCHOTT has more than 10 years of experience in the area of HTCC. Manufacturing of these products has just been transferred from Japan to Landshut in order to better serve the company’s customers in Europe and the United States. In addition, SCHOTT has also expanded its LTCC range with a long-term cooperation agreement with VIA electronic GmbH, a company based in Hermsdorf, near Jena.

“We are proud of our reputation as an extremely agile and knowledgeable development partner who has a lot of expertise in the area of microsystems technology,” says Franz Bechtold, Managing Director of VIA electronic. “Our relationship with SCHOTT now ensures us access to a global sales network and industrial manufacturing capacities. This will enable us to accompany our customers much more effectively on everything from prototypes to mass production,” he adds.

Together with VIA electronic, SCHOTT Electronic Packaging supports its customers in designing the right packages for their applications. Simulations allow for predictions on material behavior during high-frequency conditions, including the examination of thermal performance and mechanical stability. The capabilities cover the design of electronic and opto-electronic components through to process optimization for prototype and mass production.

Low temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC) are sintered at relatively low temperatures of 800 – 900 degrees Celsius. They even allow for precious metal pastes (Ag, Au) and passive electronic components to be integrated.

Download image

High temperature cofired ceramics (HTCC) are known for their high mechanical stability. The ­multilayer ceramic is sintered at temperatures of about 1,600 degrees Celsius. Photo: SCHOTT

Download image

“Greensheets” are the preliminary products for manufacturing multilayer ceramics, in which the feedthroughs are integrated into the layer stack and soldered into hermetic metal housings. Photo: SCHOTT

Download image

VIA electronic GmbH is a supplier of customized solutions based on low temperature cofired ceramic (LTCC) technology. The necessary know-how was acquired from Siegert electronic GmbH in 1997, a company it still has ties to through the “Microtel Group”. The partner companies that belong to this European group develop and manufacture electronic components and assemblies, sensors and complete equipment for various types of electronic applications. Through interdisciplinary collaboration with research institutions, VIA electronic enjoys a technological advantage in the field of low temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC). In March 2010, VIA electronic and SCHOTT Electronic Packaging signed a long-term agreement on cooperation to expand their expertise in the areas of low and high temperature cofired ceramics (HTCC and LTCC).