Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Businessweek Archives

Circuits Made Of Solid Aluminum: Unisys Is On The Trail


Developments to Watch

CIRCUITS MADE OF SOLID ALUMINUM: UNISYS IS ON THE TRAIL

Unisys Corp. raised eyebrows two months ago by saying that it is considering a radical approach to making printed-circuit boards: putting the circuitry on solid aluminum sheets instead of laying copper patterns on a laminated base. What makes the idea especially novel is its source: the former Soviet republic of Belarus. By now, aluminum circuit boards should be coming off an experimental production line whose finishing touches were added on Aug. 6, says Thomas D. Watson, strategic planning director for electronic systems.

How can conductive circuits be created in solid aluminum? By surrounding the flat "wires" on the board with aluminum oxide, which is an electrical insulator--and which is easily formed by treating the boards with common citric acid. That eliminates the need for the highly toxic chemicals now used in processing circuit boards.

What's more, since aluminum oxide isn't a thermal insulator, the boards dissipate heat much faster, which means chips can be packed tighter without danger of frying. Someday, Watson speculates, even the chips themselves might be fabricated on aluminum to reduce the risk of overheating. That sounds as if Unisys is leaning toward licensing the technology from East/West Technology Partners Ltd., the Arlington (Va.) organization representing the Belarussians. But officially, that decision hasn't been made yet.EDITED BY OTIS PORT


LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus