High temperature polymers such as the polyimides are becomming more and more popular in applications which require and insulator or protective coating which can endure high temperatures (up to 400C). In addition these materials can be fabricated with low dielectric constants (between 2 and 3) and tailorable thermal-mechanical properties such as the thermal expansion coefficient which can lie between 3 an 100 ppm/deg. C depending on the precise formulation. Finally these materials can be applied by a variety of manufacturing methods including spin coating, spray coating, plasma deposition and layup of partially cured sheets. All of these favorable properties are finding applications in applications where high temperature stability and excellent dielectric properties are required.

However, in order to take advantage of the excellent engineering properties of these materials the user must have an intimate knowledge of their chemical and thermal-mechanical properties in order to avoid material and thermodynamic incompatibilities which can lead to failure of the application. Issues of adhesion to differnet substrates and cracking behavior brought about by stress buildup are just two of the more common failure modes which can prevent the successful use of these materials. In this course the student will learn how to best apply these materials while avoiding the more common mistakes whch can lead to disaster. In addition, the student will become aware of powerful systematic techniques for characterizing these materials so that the the best choice of materials and processing methods can be made for any given application.


  1. Scientists/Engineers in chemistry and materials science.
  2. Managers in materials/process areas.

Level: General Overview

Prerequisites: General background in chemistry, physics or materials science.

Duration: 2 days


  1. Historical overview and background
  2. Chemistry and chemical properties
  3. Physics and physical properties
  4. Requirements of electronics industry:
    1. Thermal stability
    2. Chemical inertness
    3. Mechanical strength
    4. Adhesion to metals, glasses and semiconductors
    5. Electrical requirements
    6. Passivation issues (moisture sorption/corrosion)
    7. Processability (coating and curing behavior)
    8. Planarization
    9. Workability (etching/polishing)
    10. Stability, storage and shelf life
    11. Health and safety concerns

  5. Polyimide resins:
    1. Standard amorphous glasses
    2. Stiff chains with microstructure (Kapton)
    3. Liquid crystal materials
    4. Photosensitive materials

  6. Other high temperature resins:
    1. Poly-sulphones
    2. Poly-aromatics
    3. Fluoropolymers

  7. Applications
    1. Thin film wiring in multichip modules
    2. Multilevle wiring in semiconductor devices
    3. Advanced card and board technologies
    4. Flexible packaging TAB

Target Industries

  1. General electronics and microelectronics companies.
  2. Chemical and material suppliers.
  3. Suppliers of processing equipment.
  4. Suppliers of analytical equipment.

Benefits to the Student

  1. Gain overview of high temperature organic insulators.
  2. Understand advantages and disadvantages of organics vs other common insulators.
  3. Learn strengths and weaknesses of competing materials.
  4. Gain insight into current applications.
  5. Learn future directions of insulator technologies.

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Revised -- 2/19/99