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Capabilities and Benefits of MLO PCB

The MLO has been integrated in several applications because of its characteristics. The capabilities of MLO have helped the development of a number of products. Also, the MLO technology features great properties like fine line high density, high current handling, interconnect technology, tight tolerance control and low profile copper. In this article, we will provide more details about the MLO technology and how it is impacting several areas, especially PCB manufacturing.

What is Multilayer Organic (MLO) Technology?

Multilayer Organic is a technology that integrates extreme low loss organic materials. This enables a high stability and high Q over frequency.  Also, the MLO technology features great properties like fine line high density, high current handling, interconnect technology, tight tolerance control and low profile copper.  Due to these properties, this technology helps in the production of Diplexers, Filters, Capacitors, conductors, Capacitors, Crossovers, Diplexers, and Couplers for RF & Microwave applications.

Product designers have to integrate the common components in RF systems to take advantage of the capabilities of the embedded device. These components include couplers, networks, diplexers, and filters. Designers can also implement these components in various circuit topologies. However, these components need to be transformed in lumped element structures. Designers need to design these structures to offer the desired level of performance since very high component densities are needed in small form-factor packages.

The multilayer organic packaging was specially developed to implement RF System on Package (SoP). This packaging process helps vehicle manufacturers to embed most of the crucial RF passive components in a substrate under the RFIC while still ensuring high performance. Multilayer organic (MLO) is a crucial innovation in design and process.

Advantages of MLO Technology

Taconic RF-60TC PCB

The MLO technology has a lot of advantages. This makes it ideal for use in a wide range of application. The advantages of MLO technology include:

  • It has a multilayer structure which enables high order filters
  • Features tight tolerance and high precision
  • Does not require tuning
  • Has lower profile components
  • Lot to lot and part to part repeatability
  • It doesn’t perform differently in response to changes in temperature
  • Can mount discrete components on custom MLO devices to enhance performance
  • The expansion level matches with that of printed circuit boards
  • It adheres to the ASTM E595
  • It has fine line density

Applications of MLO Technology

There are several applications of MLO technology.

  • GPS
  • Mobile communications
  • Wireless LANs and Aps
  • Satellite Applications
  • RF Power Amplifiers
  • Low Noise Amplifiers
  • Instrumentation
  • Military and Commercial Radar
  • Optical Drivers
  • Vehicle Location Systems
  • Filter Networks
  • Medical Imaging Electronics

What are the Capabilities of MLO Packaging?

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Integrated Circuit (IC) packaging is crucial in reducing the size of wireless products. Also, the importance of IC packaging is evident in electronics. In as much as Moore’s law contributes to the increasing density of digital silicon components with every new process node, RF components integrated in modern broadband wireless products don’t apply the Moore’s law.

Furthermore, multi-band RF products are not yet acceptable in a wide range of applications. Therefore RF front ends comprise heterogenous RFIC technologies with passive components. Also, RF modules are now the standard form of packaging microwave components for wireless applications. The SMT based designs is facing some challenges. These challenges include the rapid increase in the production of wireless-capable products, the proliferating frequency bands, and the complexity of wireless technologies like OFDM.

These challenges alongside some form factors have made the RF design task to go back into the radiofrequency semiconductor supply chain. Also, the integration of high performance passive components and RF ICs, an SoP approach to RF design will result in a new generation of RF modules with cost savings over SMT assembly. Patented multilayer organic technology

The multilayer organic packaging was specially developed to implement RF System on Package (SoP). This packaging process helps vehicle manufacturers to embed most of the crucial RF passive components in a substrate under the RFIC while still ensuring high performance. Multilayer organic (MLO) is a crucial innovation in design and process.

The MLO Stackup

An MLO substrate has RF dielectric layer(s) in between layers of laminate to offer bonding, routing, and shielding for placement of RFIC die and SMT. The dielectric layer must have a high Dk and low loss at the wireless frequency ranges. This offers high capacitance density. However, these properties could be counteracting for some materials since you can achieve a high dielectric constant when polymers are being filled with dielectric materials.

Therefore, thin dielectric layers are important. These days, copper clad films now have low-loss formulations of PTFE and LCP. LCP (liquid crystalline polymer) has a low dielectric constant. This property is favorable for various RFD and high speed application. In PTFE case, you need advanced filler materials to enhance dielectric constant.

Standard lamination processes can help to achieve high performance RF packages if you carefully select bond ply materials and other laminates. You can etch and assemble the layers of the stackup if you have completed module design. MLO technology is integrated in the printed circuit board manufacturing process.

Process Control in MLO

HDI PCB Board Laminate Structure-2
HDI PCB Board Laminate Structure-2

The capability to regulate process parameters and to forecast their effect on device yield is one of the requirements for enabling MLO based products to be produced in large volume. There are crucial parameters for regulating the tolerances of embedded component. Inductors, tools, and hole These parameters include line width and spacing, core layer thickness, and layer to layer registration.

It is very complex to derive these parameters as it involves tradeoffs between RF design parameters and fabricator capabilities. Process tolerant component designs were developed since there will be higher cost if tighter control is integrated over these crucial parameters. Design for manufacturability (DFM) is a crucial element for the development of patented multilayer organic technology.

Conclusion

There are several areas where MLO can be integrated for a wider range of applications. The MLO design process seeks to power output and optimize gain within a particular process constraint. Also, MLO enables designers to achieve any capacitance or inductance value and as well offers more degrees of freedom when wide-band microwave circuits are designed. The characteristics of MLO have helped in improving the impedance of a PCB.