When it comes to PCBs, the higher the frequency, the better it will work. That’s because a high-frequency PCB has more conductivity than a low-frequency one.
They are also used for everything from computer chips to cell phones and even home appliances and allow faster signal transmission and lower power consumption.
Let’s find out more about it and what makes it different from the rest of the PCB types!
What is high-frequency PCB?
Since wireless networks are growing as the best solution to communicate among devices, the high-frequency PCB (HFPCB) was needed with a special material used in electronic circuit boards to support high-frequency signals in communication electronics.
By checking its frequency range, we find that high-frequency PCB features 500MHz – 2GHz faster rates of signal flow (far better than standard/low-frequency PCBs), making it used in high-frequency wireless networks, including different types of communication systems. These systems are wireless networks, microwave, satellite communications and optical communications, used in various industries.
Features of high-frequency PCB
Following are the prominent features of high-frequency PCB:
- Low Levels of Thermal Expansion
First of all, high-frequency PCBs are made from copper or aluminum, which are less prone to thermal expansion than other materials. This makes them suitable for applications that require precise temperature control and consistent performance.
- Lower Dissipation Factor (DF) and Dielectric Constant (DK)
These PCBs have lower DF and DK than low-frequency ones, making them more durable and efficient as heat sinks for electronic equipment such as microprocessors and radio receivers.
- Seamless Fins
They have a seamless construction with no gaps between the pins or pads, making them easier to sell than low-frequency PCBs that typically have a continuous surface patterning process with pin holes or vias drilled into each pad.
- Environmental resistance
Last but most underrated feature, these PCBs have excellent environmental resistance, withstanding various chemicals and corrosive materials without damage to insulation layers or traces.
Advantages of high-frequency PCBs
High-frequency PCBs are used as components in a variety of products, including high-power amplifiers and RFID tags. They have several advantages over low-frequency PCBs.
- More efficient use of energy resources
- Better signal quality and highly resistant to electromagnetic interference
- Higher bandwidth for higher data transmission rates
- Lower cost due to fewer layers
- Can be used in extremely harsh environments such as oil, gas and water
- Operate efficiently at high temperatures
- Used in advanced yet in-demand instruments
How to choose better materials for high-frequency PCB?
There are several factors to consider when choosing materials for high-frequency PCBs:
|Factors to consider||Reason for considering|
|Dielectric constant (permittivity):|
● Materials with low dielectric constants are better for high-frequency applications
● Offer less resistance to electric flow
|Loss tangent (dissipation factor):|
● Materials with low loss tangents are better
● They have less energy loss.
● In high-frequency applications, the frequency range is typically much higher
● An outside signal frequency may result in a high signal loss
|Thermal properties:||● High thermal conductivity can help dissipate heat|
Where can high-frequency PCB be used?High-frequency PCB is used in a variety of applications. Here are some examples of where they can be used:
- Medical equipment
- Industrial equipment
Difference between high-speed PCB and high-frequency PCB
High-speed PCB is used in the electronics industry to transfer large amounts of data. They connect multiple electronic components with each other, and they also allow for the use of larger power supplies than standard PCBs.
Sites, where these high-speed PCBs are used, include all those applications where very fast response times are required, such as robotics and high-end medical equipment.
On the other hand, high-frequency PCBs are similar to high-speed ones, except that they are used in applications with higher frequencies.
This type of PCB may be more appropriate for applications such as military equipment or satellite communications systems.
How is a high-frequency PCB manufactured?
The high-frequency PCB manufacturing process involves a lot of steps.
- Solder the PCB
The first step is to solder the PCB, which is done with a precious metal like gold. Then the board is tested for defects with an automated testing machine that reads the data from each electrical component on the board and compares it to the expected value.
- Apply anti-static coating
The next step is to apply anti-static coating, which helps prevent static electricity from damaging your electronics. Anti-static coating also protects your board against corrosion by keeping moisture out of its surface.
- Protect your board
After that you’ll need to protect your board from water damage by applying water-repellent lacquer or epoxy paint to it. Then you can ship it off to a manufacturer who will cut traces and connect components onto your PCB so that you can assemble and test them yourself!
Some considerations of high-frequency PCBs design
When designing high-frequency PCBs, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account.
1. The design of the high-frequency PCB has to be done in such a way that it will withstand the high-frequency signals.
2. The layout of the circuit has to be kept as simple as possible and should not have any branches or loops.
3. The thickness of the board should be kept at a minimum because it can affect its performance in some way or other.
There are a variety of surface finishes for high-frequency PCB. Some of the most common are:
● Baked Coat
● Gold Silk
● Silver Clad
High-end HFPCBs (high-frequency printed circuit boards) generally have low loss, are made from high-quality materials, and have tight tolerances in order to maintain consistent performance and minimize signal loss at high frequencies.
However, finding an experienced manufacturer can resolve all complications. You need to consider IBE PCB manufacturing for high-frequency circuits where designers are trained to organize high-quality material into a useful product.