Electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs) claim to possess many superior properties than widely used conventional adhesives. With the increasing demand for electronic goods, this decade may see ECAs gradually establish themselves as the new welder.
The correct placement of electronic components, such as integrated circuits and LEDs, on substrates is the essence of developing an operational circuit board for an electronic device.
While conventional lead-free solder excels in its task for rigid PCBs, it is not well suited for emerging applications that require mounting components on flexible substrates or conformal surfaces.
The most commonly used solders are based on bullets, despite the low cost and good strength to hold the electronic components firmly, but it does cause health problems after prolonged use. It has been banned in the European Union and restricted to commercial use in other regions of the world. Although lead-free solders are a good alternative, and mitigate health risks, they fail to match the potency of their lead-based counterparts.
The alternative electrically conductive adhesive (ECA) is not only high strength but also completely safe. ECA comes in two types – isotropic conductive adhesive (ICA) and anisotropic conductive adhesive (ACA) – which correspond to different methods of conducting electricity through the joint. ACA is further divided into anisotropic conductive paste (ACP) and anisotropic conductive film (ACF).