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issue: February 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Tantalum Capacitor

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Using a unique manufacturing technology, AVX Corporation says its 0402 tantalum chip capacitors are the smallest in the industry.

Typical specifications for AVX’s new 0402 TACMicrochip Series are said to include some of the industry’s highest CV values for 0402 devices. The capacitors are also available in 0603, 0805, or 1206, or standard L, R, and A case sizes.

Designated the 0402 TACMicrochip™ Series, AVX of Myrtle Beach, SC, U.S. says its new capacitors offer the highest volumetric efficiency currently available, delivering up to 10µF in a 0402 case size, with superior leakage characteristics. The chip capacitors are designed for applications that require high-capacitance values along with low leakage, including battery-powered equipment and medical applications.

The company says the unique construction of the TACMicrochip Series devices eliminates the welded lead frame common in conventional molded tantalum capacitor devices, which dramatically increases the space available for the active tantalum element, even as the package itself becomes smaller. This enables designers to add higher capacitance value parts to existing circuits, or to use smaller package sizes to further miniaturize their circuits.

The dramatic reduction in package size, the company claims, is due to a semiconductor manufacturing technique that replaces the lead-frame methods used in traditional tantalums. By depositing capacitor material directly on a tantalum wafer substrate, the devices can be built up in a series of automated process steps, and the resulting wafer can be sliced into individual chips like semiconductor die.

According to Danny Lane, AVX’s product manager for Tantalum Capacitors, this process enables the TACMicrochip to provide nearly twice the capacitance volumetric efficiency of a conventional tantalum chip capacitor. “As a result, the energy available from the TACMicrochip in 0402 case size is particularly useful for miniature or space-and weight-constrained applications that require capacitance values in the range of 10µF,” he tells APPLIANCE.

Mr. Lane notes that the technology was initially developed to meet the technical and reliability requirements of human implantable medical devices such as pacemakers and defribrillators. “More recently, the advantages of the TACMicrochip have been utilized in hand-held, battery-backed devices, which include cellular phones, PDAs, and WLAN cards,” he adds.

The new series is also offered in a lead-free version and features AVX’s “soft termination” technology, which is said to compensate for the thermal mismatch between components and PC boards that can often cause solder joint failure.


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