HDI PCB design guidelines

High Density Interconnection (HDI)pcb design guidelines

HDI is one of the more complex board fabrication processes we specialize in. We use SBU technology, which allows sequential addition of more pairs of layers to form a multilayer core, to create this type of highly integrated PCB.

SBU is a multilayer technology that can be achieved by putting a dielectric element and a copper foil on both top and bottom of the core before it is submitted to laser drilling, image transferring, and etching processes. Multilayer PCBs designed through this technological procedure are marked by a sequence of numbers and Ns, (e.g., 1+N+1, 2+N+2, etc.), where N represents the number of layers that form the core and the numerical values represent the number of layers added.

To provide modern PCB designers with a review of robust rules and methods that will allow them to design a highly reliable printed circuit board with the lowest cost, most commonly used features, and least number of manufacturing issues (that may result in a no-bid, engineering questions, placing the job on hold, or negatively impact the final yield).

High Density Interconnect (HDI) circuit board designs have a higher wiring and pad density than conventional PCBs, along with smaller trace widths and spaces. They require advanced PCB technologies such as blind vias, buried vias, and microvias. HDI PCBs are usually more costly than conventional PCBs due to the complex build-up process involved in fabrication.

Here we only wish to provide the minimums that if adhered to will provide the designer with a highly reliable physical PCB.

Below guildelines including these contents for Blind Vias, Buried Vias & Microvias pcb;

  1. Footprint Design Assistance
  2. HDI Microvia Standard Design Rules
  3. HDI Microvia Types definition 
  4. Cost of MicroVia HDI pcb Types
  5. Plated Through High Aspect Ratio
  6. lamination cycles up to 6 times for Stacked Microvia

Footprint Design Assistance

0.4mm bga

0.5mm bga


Footprint Design Assistance

Footprint Design

HDI Microvia Standard Design Rules

 hdi pcb design rules


 stagger microvia hdi pcb




hdi pcb design


HDI microvia pcb types definition;

1 + n + 1 HDI pcb  1 layer for laser microvias,  n layers for inner layers between the microvias.
2 + n + 2 HDI pcb  2 layers for laser microvias,  n layers for inner layers between the microvias.
3 + n + 3 HDI pcb  3 layers for laser microvias,  n layers for inner layers between the microvias.
4 + n + 4 HDI pcb  4 layers for laser microvias,  n layers for inner layers between the microvias.
stagger microvia 1+1+..+1+n+1+1+..+1 Every Layer Interconnect pcb

stacked Microvia hdi pcbstacked Microvia hdi pcb

stacked via pcb

lamination cycle 4 hdi pcb

lamination cycle 5 hdi pcb

1+1+1+ ……+1+1+1 Stacked MicroVia 12 layers any layer HDI pcb

thin hdi pcb

1+1+1+ n+1+1+1 Stacked MicroVia 10 layers pcbthinnest hdi pcb

Cost of MicroVia HDI pcb Types

HDI pcb cost


Plated Through High Aspect Ratio

High layer count HDI pcb capability

High layer count pcb capability

Lamination cycles up to multiple times for Stacked Microvia

lamination cycles up to 6 times for stacked microvia

lamination cycles up to 6 times

Definition staggered and stacked viasDefinition staggered and stacked vias

Today we are faced with a rapid reduction of PCB feature sizes due to the need for reduced form factor with fine pitch BGAs and small surface mount devices, and reduction or elimination of legacy components (replaced with ever smaller and denser packages).

With the advent of fine-pitch BGAs with many more rows of interconnects it is necessary to stack microvias to route surface signals to multiple layers below. Due to the tight spacing a single track between pads may not be feasible (due to greatly decreased line widths) so the ability to drop down another layer to fan out the signal is mandatory.

The flip side of this is the increased CTE mismatch between the solid copper microvia structure and the surrounding laminate. Laminate/copper stress cracks are more likely in stacks exceeding a 3 high structure (with typical PCB microvia diameters). Note that the CSP world has been doing this for many years successfully stacking 5 high +, but at much smaller diameters and dielectrics on different substrates.

Add to this an increasing number of designers entering the workforce without experience in required design technologies (blind & buried vias, sequential lamination, via-in-pad, laser microvias, etc.). Rather than provide specific routing examples such as those below I would prefer to focus on design minimums as these boundaries are routinely pushed or broken in modern PCB design.

At our in-house facility in China, we have successfully created so far HDI-SBU with sequencing reaching Any-Layer Interstitial Via Hole (ALIVH) in HDI fabrication. We achieve this by applying a metallization technique to interconnect via holes (IVHs). This method not only offers stronger interconnection of stacked vias, but also achieves better thermal management, which significantly increases board reliability at severe circumstances.

We fabricate every piece of HDI SBUs in-house thanks to our complete range of advanced machines and equipment. Among the advanced equipment we own and operate include Laser Direct Imaging machines, which can provide reliable and repeatable 2/2 mils with the limited solder mask clearance of 1 mil. With such advanced equipment, we are also capable of fabricating probe cards, DUTs, and load boards for use in the semiconductors industry as well as burn-in boards of up to 50 layers on a 0.276-inch thick board with an aspect ratio of 20:1, metal core, and substrate PCBs containing 1.50 mils trace and space.

Concept to finish or problem specific, design engineers are available to assist our customers. Contact Hemeixinpcb to begin working with the design engineer most able to help you with your specific design needs. Please send your email to sales@hemeixinpcb.com if you want to get some help.