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Miniaturization and
Microelectronics

Advances in electronics miniaturization and microelectronics are solving technology challenges across markets, from new frontiers in space exploration enabled by lighter electronics payloads to medical advances driven by tiny implantable technologies. Smaller, lighter electronics are the key to designing products with an optimal form factor. Microelectronics manufacturing processes allow for precision manipulation of things as small as photons to deliver communications at the speed of light or computers that can re-define artificial intelligence.

Benchmark Is An Industry Leader In Miniaturization And Microelectronics

Benchmark is helping our partners overcome technology barriers with our expertise in multiple methods of electronics miniaturization and high-precision microelectronics assembly. At Benchmark, our engineering toolkit includes miniaturization procedures optimized for various use cases, allowing us to select the best method to reach the customer’s miniaturization goals. Our advanced manufacturing techniques expand design options available by enabling narrower lines and spaces, re-partitioning of boards to combine components and thin, flexible substrates for thinner multi-layer boards. We scale production using our capabilities in microelectronics, SMT or even hybrid electronics. No matter which tools we use, the outcome is the same: a product that is optimized for how it will be used, not limited by the electronics it contains.

What Does Electronics Miniaturization Mean Today?

Electronics miniaturization uses a set of circuit design procedures that reduce the size of the electronics in a device by making them denser and in some cases partitioning them differently to reduce the overall number of components. Increasing density requires both very fine lines of conductive material, and effective, but very fine lines of insulator between them to avoid shorts. For this reason, an engineering team needs to be familiar with the limitations of the manufacturing process and materials they are working with, and traditional manufacturing methods can’t meet these goals in all cases. To achieve High-Density Interconnect (HDI) circuit topologies in high-layer count boards for the smallest total electronics package, specialized manufacturing processes are required, such as those offered by Benchmark Lark RF Technology.

When the smallest, lightest circuits are needed, Benchmark Lark RF Technology can produce ultra-HDI circuits with one mil lines and spaces in up to 10+ layers of board using novel substrates and production techniques to arrive at 3-Dimensional Heterogeneous Integrated circuits (3DHI). True 3DHI circuits open a set of new options in electronics partitioning, allowing the combination of previously separate components without interference to drastically reduce the overall footprint.

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Miniaturization Using Liquid Crystal Polymer

This white paper explains  miniaturized circuit fabrication in Liquid Crystal Polymer.

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Microelectronics For The Most Demanding Size Limitations And Tolerances

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Microelectronics includes a variety of electronics manufacturing processes capable of creating very small, dense components and systems assembled with high-precision. It starts with creating very dense circuits with narrow traces and spaces. With the right processes, systems can be partitioned differently, and capabilities previously delivered in three components can be integrated into one, saving space. At the next level up, microelectronics assembly involves placing very small components incredibly precisely, often within one micron tolerance or less. This capability is commonly used in photonics, defense and space applications. Benchmark offers microelectronics assembly and hybrid microelectronics with sub-micron placement at ITAR-registered U.S. sites as well as off-shore sites optimized for efficient medium-volume production.

Miniaturization And Microelectronics For Medical Devices: When Smaller Means Saving A Life

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Miniaturization for Medical Devices

Learn how Benchmark put complex optical imaging in the palm of your hand.

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Whether a medical device is worn on the body, implanted in the body or held in a care provider or patient’s hand, getting the size and shape of the device right is essential for effectiveness and patient comfort. Without the ability to miniaturize electronics, the size and shape of the electronics become the limiting factor in designs instead the of user's needs. In addition to the overall size of the electronics, the shape and ability to flex can have an impact on the final form factor of a device. Benchmark has multiple miniaturization and microelectronics methods at our disposal, allowing us to select the right tool for each engineering challenge. Benchmark Lark RF Technology’s expertise in microelectronics processes to create 3-Dimensional Heterogeneous Integrated (3DHI) circuits gives our engineers broad design options for miniaturization of circuits for medical devices, including re-partitioning designs to reduce the number of components required. Our specialty in Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) as a substrate for circuits 10+ layers thick is particularly valuable for medical devices as it is thin, light, flexible (in lower layer count circuits) and hermetically sealed.

Miniaturization Lets User Experience Drive Product Design 

Miniaturization and Microelectronics for Aerospace and Defense: When Smaller Means Exploring New Frontiers

Miniaturized Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) micro-radio

When maximizing accuracy, range and speed are essential, large electronics that limit defense system design options are not acceptable. For this reason, size, weight and power, as well as cost, (SWaP-C) have always been a major consideration for aerospace and defense systems, so High-Density Interconnect (HDI) methodologies are already in use. New manufacturing processes for these types of circuits are expanding design rules that allow for ever-denser designs and the move into 3-Dimensional Heterogeneous Integrated (3DHI) circuits. Benchmark Lark RF Technology’s design and manufacturing capabilities allow for lines and spaces of less than 25 microns and the ability to re-partition designs to reduce the number of components to increase reliability while reducing production costs. Benchmark designs and manufactures 3DHI boards with up to 10+ layers with 25 micron lines and spaces, creating opportunities for entire systems in one board with no connectors to slow performance or pose a reliability risk. No other circuit topography offers better SWAP-C reductions.

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Miniaturization and Microelectronics for Telecommunications: When Smaller Means Communication At The Speed Of Light

Bandpass filter miniaturized using Liquid Crystal Polymer

In telecommunications, precision is just as important as overall reduced size. Placement of components with tolerances as tight as one micron is common in photonics applications, including complex new telecommunication components required for next-generation fiber backhaul supporting 5G. Benchmark has microelectronics capabilities in photonics, fiber optics and free space optics component and module manufacturing, including placement with tolerances below one micron. 5G also pushes the need for miniaturization in telecommunications equipment as 5G small cell antennas move into urban landscapes at a much higher density than 4G antennas. The ability to miniaturize small cell components allows these antennas to better blend into the landscape while offering more antennas per array. Use of 3-Dimensional Heterogeneous Integrated (3DHI) circuits built with materials optimized for RF design offers re-partitioning options that integrate RF antennas and compute functions even at mmWave frequencies, reducing size and increasing functionality of 5G components. Benchmark Lark RF Technology’s process creates RF filters, waveguides and amplifiers that are lightweight, low-power and a fraction of the size of conventional RF components, yet customizable for performance at any frequency up to 110 GHz.

Latest on Miniaturization from Setting the Benchmark Blog

Engineering Profile- The Lark Technology Team
The Benchmark Engineering Profile is an ongoing blog feature highlighting the engineering teams located around the world. Tune in every.
Small Electronics for a Big Universe: Miniaturization for Space Applications
Space captures the imagination, offering new frontiers to explore and endless technological challenges to overcome. Electronics that.
How Advances in Partitioning Will Revolutionize Electronics
Today’s electronics-- whether it be a laptop or a missile control system-- are all partitioned in similar ways. Functions like power, RF.
Industrial Design: Making Technology Useful and Beautiful
Principal Industrial Designer Daniel Dion explains how Benchmark's award-winning industrial design team develops products users love. .

Miniaturization And Microelectronics In Computing: When Smaller Means Smarter

Over the past six decades, computers that once took up entire rooms were miniaturized to fit in the palms of our hands. Even as traditional computing methods reach theoretical (and economic) limits of chip and processor density, new types of high-performance computers and even quantum computers continue to push limits. Benchmark works with some of the most innovative names in computing to find new ways to build computer systems, including circuit repartitioning to reduce the need for interconnects that can reduce performance and circuits built using 3-Dimensional Heterogeneous Integrated (3DHI) circuit principles. We’re even making the leap to quantum with miniaturized components that can tolerate the extreme temperatures required for quantum computing.

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This laptop computer miniaturization achieved an 80% size reduction 

Miniaturization And Microelectronics In Complex Industrial: When Smaller Means Better Productivity

Industrial applications may conjure up images of massive machines and acres of factories but even production on a large scale relies on small scale precision. Robotics now ubiquitous in production environments rely on miniaturized electronics for on-board control boards, especially smaller robots that execute precision movements. Industrial IoT applications require sensors, and with them sensor controllers, throughout an industrial system. Adding this additional functionality without increasing the footprint of complex machines requires miniaturized electronics, particularly as power consumption becomes a key factor for sensor networks in wireless factories. Benchmark has years of engineering experience in reducing electronics footprint for industrial applications and offers industrial design services to ensure that user experience rather than the shape and size of electronics drive the design process.

Across markets and applications, Benchmark has a solution for nearly any design problem involving size, weight and power (SwaP), tight placement tolerances, smaller product form factors or any of the other challenges that can be overcome with miniaturization and microelectronics. Whether you have a legacy design as a starting point for miniaturization, have reached a problem in the design process you can’t overcome or have a complete design with demanding manufacturing requirements, Benchmark has the capabilities you need in a technology partner.

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