Engineering Magazine , pp. 22-23, Sept. 1996.

Plastic Encapsulated Microelectronics

Michael G. Pecht
Director, CALCE Electronic Packaging Research Center
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742


Electronic packaging is the science of placing electronic devices and circuitry in protective enclosures and providing interconnections within and between different electronic devices. The primary functions are as follows:

Electronic devices have been packaged in a variety of ways. One of the first methods was a Kovar (high nickel alloy) preformed package. The device was bonded to the bottom, and the top was later secured. Ceramic packages, similar in construction to the Kovar casing, later appeared as a cheaper alternative. The first evidence of plastic encapsulation was seen in the early 1950s. In the early 1960s, Texas Instruments patented the process of plastic encapsulation using transfer molding methods resulting in the emergence of an inexpensive, simple alternative to ceramics and metal encasing. By the 1970s, virtually all high-volume ICs were encapsulated in plastic.

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