Flexible Printed circuit board helps to tackle the ever growing need for the compact electronic system. Existence of the flexible PCB can be traced back to World War II and the dawn of satellites where it was used to reduce size and survive the immense vibration during its journey upwards.
- Flexible Circuits
Flex circuits is the market name of the flexible printed circuit boards. Flexible PCB usually consists of screen printed silver over flexible plastic material or normal copper trace pasted to the plastic. Conventional circuits become flexible when the thickness of substrate is significantly reduced to few micro meters.
Fig 1 Flexible PCB
Initially flexible PCBs where use to replace the bulky connecting wires between circuits. Evolution of Plastic made the flexible circuits more reliable. Polyamides, PET and fiber glass are the common choice for the substrate. One of the major advantage flexible circuits can provide comparing the conventional ones is that it offers design freedom.
Combining flexibility and compact circuits can result in vast number of interesting applications.
- Replace complex interconnection
- Circuits boards in hand held devices
- Flexible electronics
Obviously it is the basis of the modern gadgets like OLED TVs, Lighting strips and foldable display. Even though they are mostly static in operation their flexible nature can provide amazing viewing experience to the viewer
- Wearable electronics
As a hot emerging field, wearable electronics held the show for quite some time. it helps doctors to monitor the patients through wearable sensor devices. Recently researchers at MIT has invented micro pace maker at fraction of the existing size.
Fig 2.1 Flexible electronic circuits
- Costly Manufacturing cost
- High chance of connection breaking due to periodic use
- As the substrate is flexible etching and assembling the PCB are tedious compared to the standard PCB