A microwave sintering technique has been developed for base-metal electrode (BME) multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). Commercial green chips of size 0603 MLC with nickel electrodes were sintered in a microwave field. With a specially designed susceptor/insulation package to optimize coupling and uniformity of heating, a number of sintering experiments were conducted in the temperature range of 1200 to 1250°C in a multimode microwave cavity operating at 2.45 GHz under a partially reducing atmosphere. Microstructure of the microwave processed MLCCs was investigated with both SEM and TEM techniques. The dielectric properties of the microwave sintered MLCCs were measured and compared with those sintered using conventional process at 1320°C and lower pO2's ≈ 10- 9 atms. The results demonstrate that nickel electrodes remain metallic after microwave sintering even though the pO 2's were relatively high and would thermodynamically favor NiO. The microwave sintered samples showed a dense, fine and uniform microstructure. The properties of the microwave-sintered samples were comparable to the conventionally sintered samples. The microwave processing was found to have enhanced sintering kinetics of the BME MLCCs, lowering sintering temperature by about 100°C and also the processing time by about 90%.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Materials Chemistry