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September, 2021


www.us-tech.com


and automobiles would be national news, the lack of supply of larger, higher voltage MLCCs for industrial and military applications are typically underreported. However, it will con- tinue to squeeze business customers and even- tually end users until it is resolved.”


Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors MLCCs consist of laminated layers of


specially formulated, ceramic dielectric materials interspersed with a system of metal electrodes. The layered structure is then fired at high temperature to produce a sintered and volumetrically efficient capaci- tance device. A conductive termination barri- er system is integrated on the exposed ends of the chip to complete the connection. Industrial, medical and military con-


sumers of MLCCs depend on high voltage and high-Q capacitors for power supplies, amplifiers, MRI coils, plasma generators, lasers and many other specialized appli- cations.


In circuits with higher cur-


rents, higher-Q MLCCs are pre- ferred to reduce self-heating. The Q factor represents the efficiency of a capacitor’s rate of energy loss. High Q capacitors lose less energy reducing the need to dissi- pate or cool the heat which pro- tects the board from damage and performance loss in sensitive and high reliability applications. “If a MLCC manufacturer is


not tightly controlling the layer count, they might be providing 10-layer batches in one batch and then later deliver 17-layer parts in a subsequent batch,” explains Horton. “These two parts will not perform the same at high fre- quencies.” Domestic sources of MLCCs


needed in industrial and military applications have been ramping up their capacity. Increased domestic MLCC supply means an industrial or military customer will not need to delay the build and shipments of their products because of a capaci- tor delay. Drawing on its focus on high-Q and high voltage MLCCs, Johanson, for example, has expan - ded its capacity to fill some of the supply void caused by the shift in market focus to smaller capacitors. “We’ve been investing in


expanding our capacity for several years now through a moderniza- tion of our production facility and the opening of a second production line that will essentially double our MLCC output,” says Horton.


The Material of Choice Increasing domestic high-volt-


age MLCC supply also means that customers do not need to look beyond ceramic capacitors to satis- fy their demand. As a result of the long lead times, replacing a MLCC with a polymer or tantalum capac- itor may be considered; however, trade-offs in performance and opti- mal operating conditions need to be carefully considered. Polymers in capacitors can be degraded by the effects of heat


which is a consideration for some applications. The thinness of the dielectric layer in polymer capacitors means the maximum voltage is lower than in ceramic capacitors making it inappropriate for high voltage products. Polymers are also not available in the low val- ues of capacitance that ceramics provide. A tantalum electrolytic capacitor con-


Page 61


Shifting Demand for MLCCs Creates Critical Supply Shortage Continued from previous page


ed sourcing lead times. Shifts in supply and demand within the


sists of a pellet of porous tantalum metal as an anode covered by an insulating oxide layer that forms the dielectric surrounded by a liquid or solid electrolyte as a cathode. While regarded as a reliable and a suitable alternative to MLCCs, tantalum capacitors are generally polarized which means they may only be connected to a DC supply. An unfavorable failure mode may lead to


thermal runaway and fires. Tantalum capac- itors are also currently experiencing extend-


overall MLCC market, which is estimated to grow to a $12 billion market by 2025, have caused critical supply shortages for industrial, medical and military customers who require a higher-quality, larger-format multilayer cer - amic capacitor. As the largest MLCC manufac- turers continue to compete for the demand of the MLCCs used by sectors like telecom, smart phones and mobile devices, new domestic sup- ply sources are stepping in to meet the need for a reliable and timely supply of high perform- ance MLCCs. Contact: Johanson Dielectrics,


4001 Calle Tecate, Camarilla, CA 93012 % 805-389-1166 E-mail: antenna@johansondielectrics.com Web: www.johansondielectrics.com r


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