Fabricator Produces Al Trace PCB for Quantum Computing Applications | Print |  E-mail
Written by Mike Buetow   
Tuesday, 30 July 2013 14:10

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- Omni Circuit Boards has successfully designed and built an aluminum monometal wire-bonded circuit board. The prototype, designed and manufactured for use in a D-Wave Systems quantum supercomputer, reportedly permits superconductivity and operation in low temperatures just above absolute zero.

This development -- often considered to be technically impossible because of challenges involved in the manufacturing process -- is the result of years of study and collaborative effort, the printed circuit board manufacturer said. The breakthrough could allow for new possibilities in advanced wire-bonding and cryogenics, said Omni president Paul Jackson, adding that the board is the first of its kind and could mark the beginning of new ideas in superconductivity.

"Because aluminum allows for superconductivity near the point where all thermal activity ceases, producing low-tolerance circuits with these materials opens up a new range of applications. In other words, circuit boards will now be able to operate in environments not available to us before. We suspect a number of universities, governmental agencies, and leading technology companies will be eager to test them in their labs and ultimately find interesting ways to put them to work."

Although Omni is not disclosing the exact process involved in manufacturing the aluminum PCBs, the company said it superconducts at 500 milliKelvin, and the entire electrical path superconducts, from the aluminum wirebond to the Al/Cu bilayer trace on the PCB to the solder pads. This permits use of a chip-on-board with no electrical resistance and heat generation. The bilayer also improves thermal transfer, the firm said.

The first aluminum boards are now in operation, and continued development and refinement will continue taking place over the next few months, Jackson said.

"This is an exciting day for us at Omni and anyone who loves seeing breakthroughs in technology manufacturing," Jackson says. "We are excited to see where the next few years will take us with aluminum circuit board printing."



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