Author: Dock Brown Company: DfR Solutions Date Published: 9/17/2017
Abstract: The multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) has become a widely used electronics component. The MLCC technologies have gone through a number of material and process changes such as the shift from precious metal electrode (PME) configurations which were predominantly silver/palladium to base metal electrodes (BME) dominated by nickel and the expiration of exemption 7(c)-III of the RoHS recast. Each of these changes were accompanied by both quality and reliability problems. The MLCC industry is now in the midst of an unprecedented set of challenges similar to the Moore’s Law challenges being faced by the semiconductor industry. While capacitor failures have historically been responsible for a significant percentage of product field failures (most estimates are ~30%) we are seeing disturbing developments in the low voltage (<250V) commodity part infant mortality and wear-out failure rates. Key words: multilayer ceramic capacitor, barium titanate, conceptual product space, infant mortality, wear-out failure, base metal electrode, oxygen vacancy migration, fracture toughness, capillary condensation.