Microwave Solutions: Substrates

Brand Expertise: POLYFLON

Microwave Solutions: Substrates

Brand Expertise: POLYFLON

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Microwave Substrates

Crane designs and manufactures high-performance RF and IF components and millimeter-wave systems and subsystems for defense, space and commercial end-use customers. With over 60 years of experience, we have proven capabilities in major military, communications, electronic warfare, radar, and satellite systems.

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CUFLON

Polyflon’s premier microwave substrate material is unique in the industry. CuFlon® features a pure PTFE dielectric that has been copper plated utilizing Polyflon’s proprietary process.

The result is a substrate whose performance cannot be equaled by any other substrates available at this time. It has extremely low moisture absorption, is isotropic, and has uniform electrical properties over frequency and is an excellent solution for producing amplifiers and couplers.

CuFlon substrates are easily cut, sheared, and machined to shape. It is available with very thin copper coatings to 1/16 oz./ft.2 and dielectric thicknesses as low as 0.00025 in. (6 µm). in. Copper weight per thickness ranges from 0.50 to 2.0 oz./ft.2. ULTEM is a registered trademark of General Electric Company

NorCLAD

The unique properties of NorCLAD® make it perfectly suited for use in microstrip patch antenna designs. NorCLAD is frequently used in stacked microstrip patch antenna applications.

NorCLAD has a low dielectric constant and low dissipation factor and good thermal performance that make it an excellent choice for GPS receiver and WLAN router antennas. It is an isotropic material that gives it excellent Dk tolerance control for improved center frequency performance. The material is available up to 0.500 in. thick for bandwidth considerations.  NorCLAD is frequently used in stacked microstrip patch antenna applications. Available thicknesses range from 0.060 to 0.500 in. and in 20 in. x 22 in. panels. Available copper weight per thickness ranges from 0.5 to 2.0 oz./ft2.

Important properties of NorCLAD include:

  • Dielectric constant of 2.55
  • Dissipation factor of 0.0011 at 3 GHz
  • Operating temperature range of -55° C to +125° C

Polyguide

POLYGUIDE® laminates are an excellent solution for producing commercial antennas, couplers, and other microwave products where low loss is a critical requirement.

It is precisely manufactured from the highest-quality, high-density irradiated polyolefin. Irradiation of the polyolefin permanently imparts improved electrical homogeneity and mechanical toughness, while significantly enhancing the temperature performance and chemical resistance properties of the material.

The superior electrical properties of POLYGUIDE remain constant throughout a broad range operational conditions and frequencies up to at least 10 GHz. While POLYGUIDE’s electrical properties are similar to PTFE, at one third the cost, making it an extremely cost-effective and high-performance solution.

Copper-Clad ULTEM

Polyflon’s Copper-Clad ULTEM® laminates are a specialty product for applications that can be enhanced by its unique properties, making it a better choice than alternatives.

It is made from the engineering amorphous thermoplastic Polyetherimide (PEI) that combines isotropic electrical and mechanical properties with exceptional thermal stability. The copper is fused to the dielectric – no bonding films or adhesives are used in manufacturing.

Copper-Clad ULTEM®’s specific gravity of 1.27 is much less than that of competitive PTFE/glass material. In addition, it has a variety of other preferable characteristics including:

  • A dielectric constant of 3.05 at 3 GHz
  • Dissipation factor of 0.003 at 3 GHz
  • Wide maximum operating temperature range of -55o C to +175o C
  • Excellent coefficient of thermal expansion of 56 ppm/ o C in all directions.

Available thicknesses of 0.035, 0.062, and 0.125 in. Panels are 12 in. x 18 in. Copper weight per thickness ranges from 0.50 to 2.0 oz./ft.2. ULTEM is a registered trademark of General Electric Company.

Polyflon Bonding Film

Polyflon’s thermally-stabilized, polyolefin thermoplastic bonding film is a low-melting-point film that has been developed for stripline packages and other multilayer circuits. 

Polyflon bonding film is 0.002 in. (51 µm) thick and is available in sheets measuring 24 in. x 36 in. It is also available in roll form.

Key Benefits

  • Low dielectric constant and low loss tangent at microwave frequencies
  • Low melt profile for temperature critical materials
  • Can be reheated to re-flow bonding film
  • Low flow to limit flow in cutouts and pockets
  • RoHS compliant

Typical Applications

  • Stripline circuitry
  • Multi-layer boards and hybrid constructions for microwave applications
  • Attachment of circuit boards to heavy plate heat sinks

About Polyflon

Polyflon® is a leading supplier of superior RF/Microwave laminates, capacitors, and specialty components serving the commercial, medical and military markets. Located in West Caldwell, NJ, Polyflon is dedicated to achieving technical excellence with a primary focus on the customer’s needs.

Polyflon has gained an impressive reputation for its ability to manufacture microwave laminates and substrate materials with superior properties. This capability, along with its now decades-long experience in electroplating and plastics fabrication, has made Polyflon an innovator in commercial, scientific, industrial, medical and space industries throughout the world. 

Polyflon acquired the process from S.W. Farber, and began electroplating PTFE of all shapes and sizes. Given the superior dielectric properties of PTFE, it was quickly found that an ideal market would be in RF and microwave components. One of Polyflon’s first products using PTFE was a custom built capacitor employed in large U.S. Navy shipboard radar program. Using this plating capability, Polyflon began marketing a product line called PolyPlate, an array of PTFE shapes plated with copper.

As the marketplace became aware of Polyflon’s unique capabilities, they quickly received large contracts from companies such as Western Electric for a 0.25-in-thick distribution board used in the first cell site towers and from programs such as Over-the-Horizon radar for which Polyflon supplied custom-built, fixed-value capacitors. Polyflon’s products allowed RF and microwave engineers to develop designs that significantly outperformed their competition.

In 1985, Polyflon was acquired by Crane Co., a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products with over 11,000 employees working together across 26 countries.

With the desire to expand to other dielectric materials, Polyflon acquired the rights to a technology for laminating irradiated HDPE from the Canadian company Shawinigan Research and Technology (SRT) in 1994. The product line is called POLYGUIDE®.

Other products including NorCLAD® followed by which time Polyflon had gained an impressive reputation for its ability to manufacture microwave laminates and substrate materials with superior properties. This capability, along with its now decades-long experience in electroplating and plastics fabrication, made Polyflon an innovator in commercial, scientific, industrial, medical and space industries throughout the world. 

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