VTT has developed a new liquid crystal technology-based encapsulating method for microcircuits. Encapsulating microcircuits in liquid crystal thermoplastic provides them with excellent protection. Compared with existing thermosetting plastic protection, the new method protects circuits much better from heat, moisture, vibration and solvents, etc./The LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) quickly solidifies to provide protection for a microcircuit. The encapsulation is tension-free and can be precisely dimensioned using a metal casting-type process. It can also be re-used.
Microcircuit encapsulation is of particular use in the automobile industry and in flight and information technology. Industrial and consumer electronics production can also be speeded up thanks to the method. Now it will be possible to start designing microcircuits and electronics products for much more demanding conditions.
The development work for the basic encapsulation method was funded by the EU, VTT and some advanced European electronics and chemical firms including Alcatel MIcroelectronics (Belgium), Ticona (Germany) and 3D Plus (France) and Dexter Electronic Materials (Germany), Coordinator of the main EU project "Advanced Plastic Encapsulation" was National MIcroelectronics Research Centre (NMRC, Ireland).
LCP technology which has been given impetus by VTTs encapsulation process is now also being developed for use in structural parts of various information technology products, for example. Nowadays, the greatest challenge is manufacturing mobile phones and laptops using LCP - inorganic hybride materials or LCP-nanocomposites. Concept of these new family of materials was invented by a scientist of Tampere University of Technology (TUT) working together with VTT and being responsible of interdependence of materials properties and molecular structure. The other major area is the LCP encapsulation of micro sensors in the process and automobile industry. The Finnish companies Eimo Oyj, Nokia Mobile Phones, Premix Oy, Savcor Oy and VTI Hamlin and TUT are participating in the extended project financed jointly by Tekes, VTT and industrial companies.
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