High Frequency PCB Materials

The PCB Laminate Materials you select for your circuit board design can be critically important to the overall functionality and shelf-life of your final product. When operating frequencies drift into the Microwave or even RF regions, your PCB Laminate Material selection will have a significant impact on the overall loss of the finished circuit, after Complete PCB Assembly. Electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties must all be considered carefully when determining the best material fit for a given PCB Fabrication project, making the selection process somewhat multi-faceted. Luckily, Bittele Electronics is here to help!

At Bittele, we keep a healthy stock of the latest in-demand PCB Laminate Materials to help make sure that you can avoid any lead time for the substrate you need. Our most common request is for FR-4 material, which is composed of woven fiberglass bound by an epoxy resin, and which we always keep stocked as one of our PCB Options at a Standard Price. FR-4 is a robust material with excellent thermal characteristics, and electrically it is known to perform quite reasonably at RF or Microwave frequency levels.

Some clients whose designs are intended for particularly demanding applications—such as high-power or broadband circuits—find that FR-4 sometimes just does not do the job at those higher frequencies. In these cases, we are always happy to help you find a laminate material to suit your specific needs, and our highly customizable PCB Assembly Process can be easily adjusted to make sure your project lead time is not impacted. Please note that our PCB Fabrication Calculator estimates pricing based on FR-4 material, and you might see some additional cost on your official quote if you select a different substrate. A snapshot of the datasheet for FR-4 material is shown below for reference.

The main concern with FR-4 at higher frequencies is its relatively high dielectric constant, which is typically considered to be approximately 4.5. As mentioned above, FR-4 can still act as a suitable laminate material for High-Frequency PCBs, but at Bittele we also carry a selection of materials specifically designed to maintain signal integrity in the RF and Microwave regions.

The most popular high-frequency-specific laminate materials were developed by Rogers, and referred to with an “RO-“ prefix. These high-quality materials exhibit approximately a 20% reduction in dielectric constant, compared to standard FR-4; they also boast rather impressive thermal characteristics, with Tg values above 280°C . A snapshot of the datasheet for RO4350B and RO4003C is included below for your convenience.

We normally keep stock of RO4350B and RO4003C, since these are the most commonly requested of the Rogers materials, but it is always a good idea to call us in advance so that we can make sure we have your requirement on hand. If you need any other PCB substrate, Rogers or otherwise, please feel free to get in touch with our fantastic Customer Service team; we can help you to track down the specific material you need, or talk you through the options that might suit your project.

Once your materials are worked out, you can look into some of the other valuable services we offer for your high frequency PCB project. To further protect against losses in your circuits, we offer professional Impedance Controlled PCB services, including TDR coupons for verification. We also offer a number of Surface Finish options that are well-suited to high-frequency projects, such as Immersion Silver or Immersion Tin.

Bittele Electronics is a Canadian PCB Assembly service provider, offering the highest quality Turnkey PCB services since 2003. To get started on your high frequency PCB design with Bittele, or for general PCB questions from any realm of the industry, you can Contact Us any time! To receive your official quote, please send in your PCB Design Files to sales@7pcb.com. We can also be reached toll-free at 1-888-812-1949.


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