The Thing You’ve been Missing: Microvia Drilling Services

As printed circuit boards get smaller, denser, and more complex, new techniques are helping manufacturers keep up with the trend towards miniaturization. Microvia drilling is an essential technique for advanced PCB architectures.

We’re going to explore what microvia drilling is, why it’s surged in popularity, and how our team can help you get the best possible results for your projects.

What is Microvia Drilling?

Vias are small, copper-plated holes in the layers of a printed circuit board that connect various components. They allow PCBs to achieve more complexity while staying small by building up, rather than out.

Microvias take the same concept to the next level.  This means, similar to most advancements in the electronics industry, the trend is towards smaller.

Microvias, also know as “micro-via” or “small-hole”, drilling is the creation of very small vias: below 150μm in diameter. These microvias are tiny holes between the PCB’s conductive layers, which form connections through the layers of substrate. Just as via drilling allowed PCB manufacturers to build up through layered assemblies, microvia drilling enables even more complex designs.

Just as with traditional vias, there are three main types of microvias:

  • Through holes that go through all layers of the board
  • Blind vias that only go through certain layers, rather than through the entire stack
  • Buried vias that connect a PCB’s internal layers, rather than going all the way through to the top or bottom exterior
Microvia Drilling Services from A-Laser

The printed circuit board manufacturing industry has seen a variety of advancements in via and microvia drilling. Initially, the drilling was done by mechanical processes, which can still offer cost-effective results for larger vias.

However, as PCB architectures became more complicated, smaller microvias demanded new technologies.

UV Lasers for Microvia Drilling

Today’s boards can have tens of thousands of microvias and drill locations, all on a very small scale requiring tight tolerances. The precision of UV laser drilling is much better suited to these applications. For instance, the UV lasers we use at A-Laser can drill microvias as small as 20μm in diameter.

Using a non-optimal laser can lead to poor results. If the laser isn’t tightly focused enough, it can create large melt recast.

Designs with intricate microvias demand the precision and clean ablation offered by high-quality ultraviolet lasers. Our process protects the copper surface and leaves it ready for additional plating. A small heat-affected zone leads to clean ablations with almost zero debris.

UV lasers work effectively with a wide variety of materials, including copper, resin, and glass. The shorter wavelength, more focused beam, and long depth of focus are especially well-suited for microvia drilling. Additionally, UV lasers can achieve high pulse repetition rates. All of these factors make UV lasers an effective choice for high process throughput

How A-Laser Delivers High-Quality Microvia Drilling with UV Laser Technology

At A-Laser, our experienced team delivers superior results using LPKF’s MicroLine 5000 Series for high-yield microvia drilling applications. We’re able to drill microvias as small as 20μm for your most intricate applications. Additionally, the UV laser technology allows for high-throughput, high-yield operations.