Electrically Conductive Adhesives: The New Solders
Electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs) claim to possess many superior properties than the widely used traditional solders. With an increasing demand for electronic goods, this decade may see ECAs gradually establish themselves as the new solder.
Proper placement of electronic components, such as integrated circuits and LEDs, on substrates is the crux of developing an operational circuit board for an electronic device.
While conventional lead-free solder excels at its task for rigid PCBs, it is not well suited for emerging applications that require components to be attached to flexible substrates or conformal surfaces.
The most widely used solders are lead based which, in spite of having low cost and good strength to firmly hold electronic components, create health issues after a prolonged use. They have been outlawed in the European Union and restricted to commercial use in other areas of the world. Although lead-free solders are a good replacement, mitigating health risks, they fail to match the strength of their lead based counterparts.
The alternative electrically conductive adhesive (ECA) not only has high strength but is quite safe as well. ECA comes in two types—isotropic conductive adhesive (ICA) and anisotropic conductive adhesives (ACA)—which correspond to different ways of conducting electricity across a joint. ACA is further divided into anisotropic conductive paste (ACP) and anisotropic conductive film (ACF).