The Superconducting Circuit Board

    Natalia Piedras


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    What is a Superconducting Circuit Trace? How is it different from a typical Copper Trace on a PCB?

     

    A circuit trace is a conducting track on a printed circuit board that connects components electrically and allows electric current to flow with little resistance.

    While this small resistance is inconsequential for most applications, there are applications where the heat dissipated due to this small resistance is a big problem.

    Much like how normal conducting trace allows current to flow, they also allow heat to flow from higher temperature areas to areas of lower temperature.

    Can FR-4 PCBs be used at low cryogenic temperatures?

    What is FR-4?

    The short answer is "Yes," but there is a bit more to it.

    What exactly is FR-4? FR-4 is a NEMA grade designation for flame-resistant glass-reinforced epoxy laminate. "FR" stands for Flame Retardant. The materials used are not defined by it, so different formulations can be rated FR-4. Unfortunately, it has become the norm in the industry to refer to the most commonly used PCB material by its FR-4 designation. As different formulations can share this rating, the properties of FR-4, particularly at cryogenic temperatures, can vary significantly.