Selection of High Speed PCB Materials for 5G
The 5G revolution is here, and wireless technology is the future. Many new uses for wireless broadband are being explored across industrial, medical, and consumer applications. The broad adoption of 5G networks will act as a catalyst for innovation in technologies such as smart cities, IoT, and autonomous vehicles. It will deliver much higher speeds and lower latency than current networks. It will require a lot of new hardware technologies to support these demands as existing mobile networks rely on circuit-level switching.
Whether it is a prototype or a production board, some of the materials used in PCB manufacturing still have to be selected or chosen carefully. Due to their unique connectivity and placement requirements, 5G PCB boards have even more specifications when compared with their predecessors. These higher standards can affect the PCB material you will use for your next 5G design. The materials must be able to withstand high frequencies, which generate large amounts of high frequency magnetic radiation and heat due to these high speeds. There are many different types of alternatives when choosing a material for 5G applications, and this guide outlines some of the most popular and why they are used in such cases.
Factors for the Selection of High Speed PCB Materials for 5G
The material selection process for 5G applications differs from traditional RF applications. For example, RF PCB engineers typically select materials based on electrical properties alone without considering other factors such as moisture resistance or thermal stability. However, when designing for 5G wireless systems, RF engineers must also consider other factors such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding and thermal performance.
A key feature of 5G is its ability to handle high frequencies. To achieve this, your PCB material must be able to transmit signals at high frequencies while remaining stable and reliable over time.
One limitation of these new technologies is that they require higher frequencies than previous generations of cellular networks. The maximum frequency for 4G LTE is 2 GHz; however, 5G networks will operate at up to 6 GHz or even higher. To transmit data at such high frequencies over long distances, you need a PCB material that can handle high-frequency performances and thermal expansion, increasing with frequency.
An important factor when choosing a PCB material is its dielectric constant. The dielectric constant indicates how easily a material can be polarized, which determines how easy it is for an electric field to pass through the material without becoming distorted. A higher dielectric constant means that the material is more resistant to polarization, which reduces signal loss and distortion.
The best way to ensure that your printed circuit board has the suitable dielectric constant for 5G applications is by choosing FR4 or other high-performance materials with low permittivity (e) ratings. When you select a board material with an e value of 2 or lower, your circuit will be able to handle high frequencies without causing any signal degradation over time.
As a result of these high frequencies, more heat will be generated within 5G devices than in previous generations of wireless communication devices. This means that your PCB material must have good thermal conductivity so that heat can dissipate quickly and efficiently through the board itself or even through other components connected on top or below it.
If you use FR4 as your PCB material, it will be more difficult to dissipate heat from within your system due to its low thermal conductivity. However, there are still things you can do to improve this conductivity, such as adding copper tracks or adding heat sinks or vias (holes) near critical parts of the circuit boards.
The high speed movement of 5G antennas brings tremendous challenges to antenna design because they must withstand high impact loads caused by wind pressure or collision with other objects or vehicles during operation in harsh environments. Therefore, the PCB material for 5G antennas should have good impact strength to ensure that it can withstand these harsh environments during operation without damage.
Common High Speed PCB Materials for 5G
FR4 Glass-Reinforced Epoxy Laminate
FR4 is a popular choice for general use, as it provides good signal integrity at a relatively low cost. It is also very flexible, ideal for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. However, FR4 cannot handle high frequency signals very well due to its low dielectric constant, which determines how easily an electric field can pass through a material. If you are looking for higher frequencies in your design, try an alternative material like Rogers 4350 or Kapton®.
PTFE is another common choice for 5G PCB material, which offers similar mechanical properties as FR4 but with better thermal dissipation capabilities. However, there are some disadvantages to using PTFE as a 5G PCB material. For one thing, PTFE does not conduct electricity very well at all. This means that any circuit traces or components you want to place on your board will need to be insulated from each other with other materials such as copper or Teflon.
Another drawback of PTFE is that it tends to crack under stress or impact. This is especially true if you are designing a product that might be dropped or otherwise subjected to physical stress during regular operation; At the same time, this makes sense given the properties we have already discussed, but it can also make debugging problems difficult if you do not know where they originated from.
The new PCB materials will be the forerunners for 5G by providing high speed communication capabilities. It is clear that the devices are quickly moving towards incorporating 5G, and it is more important than ever for these devices to have high speed internet capabilities. A couple of materials have been identified as potential candidates to meet the criteria laid out by 5G standards. For this reason, a new generation of high-speed PCB materials has started to emerge over the last few years, opening up an important area for research and design of ultra-high frequency communication circuits.
As per the recommendation of Hemeixin HDI PCB, FR-4 glass fibers are a high performance PCB material for 5G. It meets the purpose of the 5G application and provides an ideal power distribution solution on it. Also, it offers higher frequency signal integrity and electrical and thermal performance in extreme environments.