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Frequently Asked Questions

What is ECM?


3M brand Embedded Capacitance Material, or ECM, is a UL recognized, planar capacitor material which can be embedded into printed circuit boards and chip packaging. 3M brand ECM consists of a very thin layer of ceramic-filled epoxy sandwiched between two layers of copper foil. It may be used for both distributed power/ground and discrete capacitance in PCBs to dramatically improve electrical performance.

What are the benefits of using ECM?


3M ECM offers improved performance via reduced impedance, power bus noise, and EMI. 3M ECM also allows for the removal of surface mounted capacitors which in turn allows designers to either reduce board size or add functionality to the existing board size. Finally, the removal of surface mounted capacitors and their associated vias and traces improve reliability and assembly yields.

What applications are appropriate for ECM?


3M ECM has demonstrated success in applications in the telecom, computer, test and measurement, military/aerospace, medical and consumer electronics industries.

How is ECM designed?


There are a number of both physical layout and electrical modeling software tools that support embedded capacitance materials. When ECM is used as a power/ground layer, standard design processes and tools can be used to configure the physical layout of the board. When ECM is used as a discrete capacitor, however, there are some unique considerations that the 3M technical team can help designers account for.

And for electrical modeling, customers can use any of the software packages listed here to design-in ECM. Note that ECM parameters can now be downloaded for inclusion in the design library of Ansoft SIwave software package. With the other software tools, ECM can be simulated by entering the individual parameters required by the software. 3M is actively seeking the inclusion of our laminate as a design option in additional tools.

Regardless of the software tool our customers select, the 3M technical engineering team can help firms incorporate ECM into their PCB designs.

Is ECM halogen free?


Halogen free product options are available.

Is a license required to use ECM?


No 3M license is required to utilize 3M ECM. For more information, please contact us.

What are the advantages of working with 3M?


On top of the design benefits ECM offers, OEMs and fabricators worldwide may use the material without a 3M license. 3M also provides direct technical and manufacturing resources on a global scale, with superior lead times due to local converting in both US and Asia. This means that customers have access to 3M expertise and support from design through manufacturing to help provide application optimization and high board yields.