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Número de publicaciónEP0428695 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudEP19900909290
Número de PCTPCT/US1990/002757
Fecha de publicación29 May 1991
Fecha de presentación18 May 1990
Fecha de prioridad19 May 1989
También publicado comoCA2033081A1, EP0428695A4, WO1990015478A2, WO1990015478A3
Número de publicación1990909290, 90909290, 90909290.10, EP 0428695 A1, EP 0428695A1, EP-A1-0428695, EP0428695 A1, EP0428695A1, EP19900909290, EP90909290, PCT/1990/2757, PCT/US/1990/002757, PCT/US/1990/02757, PCT/US/90/002757, PCT/US/90/02757, PCT/US1990/002757, PCT/US1990/02757, PCT/US1990002757, PCT/US199002757, PCT/US90/002757, PCT/US90/02757, PCT/US90002757, PCT/US9002757
InventoresG. Mark Berhold
SolicitanteTrove Technology Incorporated
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos:  Espacenet, Registro europeo de patentes
Improved three-dimensional circuit component assembly and method corresponding thereto
EP 0428695 A1
Resumen  traducido del francés
Plusieurs boîtiers porteurs (71) de composants de circuit en forme de plaque sont empilés adjacents entre eux avec leurs faces plates (72, 74) en contact pour former un ensemble de boîtiers porteurs (40). Several carrier housings (71) of components of plate-shaped circuit are stacked adjacent to each other with their flat sides (72, 74) in contact to form a plurality of carrier housings (40). Chaque boîtier porteur loge un ou plusieurs composants de circuit électrique (110) couplés à des contacts électriques (84, 86) sur les faces plates et à des contacts électriques (98) ou des broches droites (424, 436) prévues sur les côtés. Each holder housing houses one or more electric circuit components (110) coupled to electrical contacts (84, 86) on the flat faces and to electrical contacts (98) or straight pins (424, 436) provided on the sides. Ces broches coopèrent avec celles des boîtiers porteurs adjacents pour effectuer une connexion électrique avec les composants des circuits. These pins cooperate with those of adjacent carrier housings to make electrical connection to circuit components. Une plaquette à circuit imprimé flexible (50) ayant un réseau de sites de contact (52) interconnectés sélectivement par des traces imprimées de routage (54) entoure l'assemblage de boîtier porteur. A flexible printed circuit board (50) having a contact network of sites (52) selectively interconnected by traces printed routing (54) surrounds the carrier housing assembly. Les extrémités de l'assemblage de boîtier porteur sont pourvues de blocs connecteurs de support et d'interconnexion électrique (22, 16). The ends of the bearing housing assembly is provided with bearing blocks of connectors and electrical interconnection (22, 16). Plusieurs assemblages de boîtier porteur peuvent être interconnectés directement, par emboîtement, ou par l'intermédiaire de structures intermédiaires de connexion. Several carrier housing assemblies may be interconnected directly, by interlocking, or through intermediate connecting structures.
Reclamaciones  (El texto procesado por OCR puede contener errores)  (texto de WO1990015478A2)
1. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly comprising:
(a) a support structure upholding a plurality of electrical circuit components in a mutually fixed spatial relationship;
(b) electrical contacts coupled electrically to said components and located on an interface area on the periphery of said support structure, said interface area comprising a plurality of non-coplanar portions of said periphery; and
(c) tying means for electrically interconnecting said electrical contacts, said tying means comprising:
(i) an electrically insulative substrate disposed opposing said interface area; (ii) contact sites on said substrate engaging said electrical contacts; and
(iii) electrically conductive routing traces interconnecting individual ones of said contact sites.
2. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said interface area comprises curvilinear portions of said periphery of said support structure.
3. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said interface area comprises a plurality of flat, non-coplanar portions of said periphery of said support structure.
4. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said interface area comprises portions of the periphery of said support structure located on opposite sides thereof.
5. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said electrically insulative substrate encircles said support structure at least once.
6. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 5, wherein said electrically insulative substrate comprises a unitary tubular member in tight engagement with said periphery of said support structure.
7. "Athree-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 6, wherein said tubular member is comprised of a material which is permanently contractible by heating into engagement with said periphery of said support structure.
8. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said electrically insulative substrate comprises a flexible planar member.
9. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 8, wherein a pair opposite edges of said substrate meet in a seam when said substrate is disposed opposing said interface area.
10. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 9, further including an electrical wiring trace traversing said seam and electrically interconnecting contact sites located on opposite sides thereof.
11. A"three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 9, wherein said seam takes the form of a straight fsine.
12. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 9, wherein said seam encircles said support structure.
13. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 9, wherein said seam spirals about said support structure.
14. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 9, wherein said seam partially encircles said support structure.
15. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 8, wherein a pair of opposite edges of said substrate are separated by a gap when said substrate is disposed opposing said interface area.
16. A three-dimensional circuit component in Claim 15, wherein said pair of opposite edges of said substrate on either side of said gap are parallel.
17. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as 0 recited in Claim 15, wherein said gap encircles said support structure.
18. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 15, wherein said gap spirals about said support structure.
,e 19. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 15, wherein said gap partially encircles said support structure.
20. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 8, wherein said substrate is wrapped about
20 said support structure a plurality of times.
21. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 21, wherein each successive wrap of said substrate about said support structure at least partially overlaps the immediately succeeding wrap thereof.
22. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as
25 recited in Claim 1, where said substrate is disposed so as to contact said interface area.
23. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 22, wherein an adhesive secures said substrate against said interface area.
30
24. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein at least a portion of said substrate is spaced apart from said interface area.
25. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 24, where said electrical contacts comprise connector pins extending from said periphery of said support structure, and said connector pins uphold said substrate spaced apart from said interface area.
26. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 8, wherein said substrate is in the shape of a parallelogram.
27. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 26, wherein said substrate is in the shape of a rectangle.
28. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 26, wherein adjacent edges of said substrate are non-perpendicular.
29. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 28, wherein said substrate comprises an elongated ribbon.
30. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 28, wherein said substrate encircles said support structure.
31. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 30, wherein said substrate encircles said support structure a plurality of times.
32. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, further comprising electrical shielding on the outer surfaces of said three-dimensional circuit component assembly.
33. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, further comprises electrical shielding between said support structure and said substrate.
34. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, further comprising a shielded conductor passing through said support structure.
35. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, further comprising a circuit component on said insulative substrate electrically coupled to said conductive routing traces thereon.
36. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 35, wherein said circuit component is mounted on the side of said substrate opposite from said support structure.
37. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 35, wherein said electrical component is 0 mounted on the side of said substrate adjacent to said support structure.
38. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said electrically conductive routing traces are located on the side of said substrate jc adjacent to said support structure.
39. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said' electrically conductive routing traces are located on the side of said substrate opposite from said support structure.
-0 40. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said electrically conductive routing traces are located on both sides of said substrate.
41. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said support structure
__ comprises a prismatic solid.
42. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said support structure is tubular.
43. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said plurality of electrical circuit components are embedded in said support structure.
44. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said plurality of electrical circuit components are enclosed within said housing.
35
45. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said housing comprises a stack of substantially congruent carrier plates, each of said carrier plates housing an electric circuit component and having a pair of opposed parallel faces, said carrier plates being positioned adjacent one to another with said faces of adjacent of said carrier plates in a mating relationship.
46. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said support structure comprises a plurality of parallel congruent circuit boards mounted in opposed relationship one above the other, and wherein said plurality of electrical circuit components are attached to said circuit boards and said electrical contacts are located on peripheral edges thereof.
47. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said support structure comprises a sequence of congruent, alternating semiconductor integrated circuit chips and insulator plates.
48. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, the side of said substrate opposing said interface surface is provided with a layer of adhesive for securing said substrate to said support structure.
49. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 1, wherein said contact sites on said substrate are provided with a reflow solder.
50. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 49, wherein the side of said substrate opposing said interface surface is provided with a layer of adhesive for securing said substrate to said support structure, and wherein said layer of adhesive is heat curable at a temperature at which said reflow solder will simultaneously flow.
51. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly comprising:
(a) a sequence of congruent carrier plates, each 5 of said plates having a pair of opposed parallel faces and therebetween an electrical circuit component, said carrier plates being stacked against and parallel one to another in a prismatic carrier plate assembly having parallel ends and sides normal thereto; ,Q (b) electrical contacts located at the periphery of each of said carrier plates and coupled electrically to said electrical circuit components therein; and
(c) electrically conductive routing traces on 15 said sides of said prismatic carrier plate assembly interconnecting individual ones of said electrical contacts.
52. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 48, further comprising an electrical
20 contact on each face of each of said carrier plates, said electrical contacts being electrically coupled to each other through said plates by an electrically shielded connection and being so positioned on each of said faces of said carrier plates as to effect an electrical connection with a distinct carrier plate located adjacent thereto in
25 said carrier plates assembly.
53. A system for assembling a plurality of circuit components in close physical and electrical proximity, said system comprising:
30 (a) a first circuit component assembly comprising:
(1) a sequence of electrically insulative first circuit component carrier packages, each of said first carrier packages having a pair of opposed parallel faces congruent with each other and with said faces of other said first carrier packages and having embedded therein an electrical circuit component, said first carrier packages being positioned adjacent one to another with said faces of adjacent of said first carrier packages in a mating relationship to form a prismatic first carrier package assembly having parallel ends and non-coplanar sides normal thereto;
(2) an electrical contact on the periphery of each of said first carrier packages electrically coupled with said electrical circuit component embedded therein, said electrical contacts being located on a first interface area comprising a plurality of non-coplanar sides of said first carrier package assembly when said first carrier packages are positioned in said first, circuit component assembly; and
(3) a first flexible circuit board provided with contact sites and conductive routing traces selectively interconnecting individual of said contact sites, said first circuit board being disposed opposite said first interface area with said contact sites engaging said electrical contacts on said first carrier packages;
(b) a second circuit component assembly comprising:
(1) a sequence of electrically insulative second circuit component carrier packages, each of said second carrier packages having a pair of opposed parallel faces congruent with each other and with said faces of other said second carrier packages and having embedded therein an electrical circuit component, said second carrier packages being positioned adjacent one to another with said faces of adjacent of said second carrier packages in a mating relationship to form 5 a prismatic second carrier package assembly having parallel ends and sides normal thereto;
(2) an electrical contact on the periphery of each of said second carrier packages electrically coupled with said electrical circuit
,ø component embedded therein, said electrical contacts being located on a second interface area comprising a plurality of non-coplanar sides of said second carrier package assembly when said first carrier packages are positioned in said
,ς second circuit component assembly; and
(3) a second flexible circuit board provided with contact sites and conductive routing traces selectively interconnecting individual of said contact sites, said second
_0 circuit board being disposed opposite said second interface area with said contact sites engaging said electrical contacts on said second carrier packages; and (c) coupling means for electrically connecting
_c said electrical components in said first circuit
Δ component carrier assembly with said electrical components in said second electrical components assembly.
54. A system as recited in Claim 53, wherein said coupling means comprises:
(a) patterned conductive pins projecting from a side of one of said first and second circuit component assemblies and being electrically coupled to said electrical circuit components therein; and
35 (b) correspondingly patterned apertures for receiving said pins, said apertures being located in a side of the other of said first and second circuit component assemblies and being electrically coupled to said electrical circuit components therein.
55. A system as recited in Claim 53, wherein said coupling means comprises:
(a) a planar connector plate; (b) a first set of patterned conductive pins projecting from a first edge of said connector plate;
(c) a first set of patterned apertures for receiving said first set of conductive pins, said second set of apertures being located on a side of said first component assembly and being electrically coupled to said electrical circuit components therein; (d) a second set 'of patterned conductive pins projecting from a second edge of said connector plate opposite from said first edge thereof and being electrically coupled through said connector plate to said first set of connector pins; and
(e) a second set of patterned apertures for receiving said second set of conductive pins, said second set of apertures being located on said second component assembly and being electrically coupled to said electrical circuit components therein.
56. A system as recited in Claim 53, wherein said coupling means comprises:
(a) a connector plate;
(b) a first system of patterned conductive pins and correspondingly patterned apertures for electrically coupling a first edge of said planar connector plate to said electrical circuit components in said first component assembly; (c) a second system of patterned conductive pins and correspondingly patterned apertures for electrically coupling a second edge of said connector
5 plate opposite said first edge thereof to said electrical components in said second component assembly; and
(d) means for electrically coupling said first and second systems through said connector plate. 0
57. A system as recited in Claim 53, wherein said coupling means comprises:
(a) a connector plate;
(b) a first system of patterned conductive pins and correspondingly patterned apertures for securing 5 said connector plate to said first component assembly;
(c) a second system of patterned conductive pins and correspondingly patterned apertures for securing said connector plate to said second component assembly; Q (d) first auxiliary means for electrically coupling said connector plate to said first circuit board;
(e) second auxiliary means for electrically coupling said connector plate to said second circuit 5 board; and
(f) means for electrically coupling said first and second auxiliary means through said connector plate.
58. A system as recited in Claim 53, wherein said _ coupling means comprises:
(a) a first connector block on one end of said first circuit component assembly electrically coupled with said circuit components housed therein;
35 (b) a second connector block on one end of said second circuit component assembly electrically coupled with said circuit components housed therein; and
(c) connector block coupling means for electrically connecting said first and second connector blocks.
59. A system as recited in Claim 58, wherein said connector block coupling means comprises a system of patterned conductive pins and correspondingly patterned apertures located on said first and second connector blocks.
60. A system as recited in Claim 53, wherein said coupling means comprises a first set of contact sites on the exterior surface of said first circuit component assembly electrically coupled to said electrical components embedded therein and a second set' of contact sites on the exterior surface of said second circuit component assembly electrically coupled to said electrical components embedded therein.
61. A system as recited in Claim 60, wherein said coupling means further comprises a third flexible circuit board disposed in contact with said first and second sets of contact sites.
62. A system as recited in Claim 60 wherein said first and second sets of contact sites are placed in direct contact with each other.
63. A system as recited in Claim 62, wherein said second circuit component assembly nests against said first component assembly with said first and second sets of contact sites in electrical contact with each other.
64. A system as recited in Claim 63, wherein said second circuit component assembly has formed therein a cavity and said first circuit component assembly is disposed in said cavity.
65. A system as recited in Claim 64, wherein said second circuit component assembly is tubular.
66. A system as recited in Claim 65, wherein said second circuit component assembly comprises a plurality of prismatic carrier package subassemblies having electrical circuit components embedded therein and being electrically couplable to each other by cooperating sets of conductive pins and receiving apertures located between said subassemblies when said subassemblies are assembled with each other to form said second component assembly.
67. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly, comprising:
(a) a first stack of substantially congruent carrier plates, each of said carrier plates housing an electrical circuit component and having a pair of opposed parallel faces, said carrier plates being positioned adjacent one to another with said faces of adjacent of said carrier plates in a mating relationship;
(b) an electrical contact on each of said faces of said carrier plates, said electrical contacts on said opposed faces of a single of said carrier plates being electrically coupled therethrough, and said electrical contacts on said faces of said plates in said mating relationship engaging one another to interconnect said electrical contacts in a direction normal to said faces of said carrier plates;
(c) electrical contacts at the periphery of said carrier plates coupled electrically to said electrical circuit components housed therein, said electrical con-tacts defining an interface area on a plurality of non-coplanar portions of the sides of said first stack; and (d) electrically conductive routing traces selectively interconnecting said electrical contacts at said periphery of said carrier plates to electrically interconnect the electrical circuit components housed in said first stack.
68. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 67, wherein said electrically conductive routing traces are located on said sides of said first stack.
69. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 67, further comprising a flexible electrically insulative substrate disposed opposing said interface area and having on the side thereof adjacent said interface area contact sites selectively interconnected by said electrically conductive traces, said contact sites engaging said electrical contacts to electrically interconnect the electric circuit components in said first stack.
70. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 67, wherein said carrier plates comprise an integrated circuit semiconductor chip.
71. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 67, wherein said electrical contacts on said opposed faces of a single of said carrier plates are electrically coupled therethrough in an electrically shielded manner.
72. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 67, wherein portions of said surface of said first stack distinct from said interface area are provided with coupling means for electrically connecting said electrical circuit components in said first stack with electrical circuit components in a second stack of distinct carrier plates.
73. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 72, wherein said coupling means comprises cooperating sets of conductive pins and receiving apertures located variously on said portions of said surface of said first stack distinct from said interface area and on corresponding portions of the surface of said second stack.
74. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 72, wherein said first stack and said second stack comprise subassemblies of a composite prismatic carrier package assembly.
75. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 67, wherein at least one of said carrier plates is provided on one of the faces thereof with conductive routing traces.
76. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly comprising:
(a) a plurality of congruent circuit boards having electrical circuit components attached thereto, said circuit boards being disposed parallel to and aligned with one another in a sequential stack;
(b) electrical contacts located on peripheral edges of said circuit boards and coupled electrically to said electrical circuit component attached thereto, said electrical contacts defining on the periphery of said support structure an interface area comprising a plurality of non-coplanar portions of said periphery; and
(c) a unitary, electrically insulative substrate disposed opposing said interface area, said substrate having on the side thereof adjacent said interface area contact sites for engaging said electrical contacts and being provided with electrically conductive routing traces interconnecting individual ones of said contact sites.
77. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 76, wherein said electrical contacts on said periphery of said stack comprised connector pins extending from said peripheral edges of said circuit boards, and said contact sites on said substrate comprise connector apertures for receiving said connector pins when said substrate is opposing said interface area.
78. A three-dimensional circuit component assembly as recited in Claim 77, wherein said circuit boards are supported in said stack by said substrate and said connector pins in said connector apertures.
79. An electrical circuit component carrier package stackable with other similarly configured carrier packages to form a carrier package assembly, said carrier package comprising:
(a) a carrier plate having an electrical circuit component contained therein, said carrier plate having opposed parallel faces and sides extending between the peripheries thereof;
(b) register means for aligning in a mating relationship one of said faces of said carrier plate with a face of a distinct carrier plate located adjacent thereto in the carrier package assembly;
(c) a plurality of electrical contacts located on an interface area comprising a plurality of non- coplanar sides of said carrier plate, said electrical contacts being so configured and disposed as to be engaged individually by a corresponding number of contact sites selectively interconnected on a flexible circuit board disposed opposing said interface area; and jfd) electrical wiring coupling the electrical circuit components to said electrical contacts.
80. An electrical circuit component carrier package as recited in Claim 79, wherein said electrical circuit component is embedded in said carrier plate.
81. An electrical circuit component carrier package as recited in Claim 79, further comprising an electrical contact on each of said faces of said carrier plate, said electrical contacts being electrically coupled in an electrically shield manner through said carrier plate and being so positioned on said faces of said carrier plate as to effect an electrical connection with a distinct carrier plate located adjacent thereto in the carrier package assembly.
82. A method for assembling a plurality of circuit components in close proximity in a three-dimensional spatial and electrical relationship, the method comprising:
(a) housing a first plurality of circuit components in a plurality of circuit component carrier packages having sides and normal thereto opposed parallel faces congruent with each other and to said faces of other of said carrier packages;
(b) assembling said plurality of carrier packages adjacent one to another with one of said faces of each pair of adjacent carrier packages in mating contact to form a prismatic carrier package assembly having parallel ends, sides normal thereto, and a cross-section substantially congruent to said faces of said carrier packages;
(c) coupling electrical contacts located on an interface area comprising a plurality of non-coplanar sides of said carrier package to the circuit components housed therein;
(d) providing a flexible circuit board having contact sites in a pattern corresponding to the pattern of said electrical contacts; (e) connecting selective of said electrical contact sites with conductive routing traces; and
(f) disposing said circuit board opposing said interface surface with said contact sites engaging said electrical contacts on said carrier packages.
83. The method as recited in Claim 82, further comprising the step of electrically coupling said faces of adjacent of said carrier packages in said carrier package assembly.
84. The method as recited in Claim 83, wherein said step of electrically coupling comprises the steps of:
(g) providing electrical contacts on said opposed faces of said carrier packages;
(h) coupling said electrical contacts on said opposed faces of each of said carrier packages in an electrically shielded manner to each other through said ^carrier package; and
(i) aligning said plurality of carrier packages with said electrical contacts on adjacent faces thereof in contact.
85. A method as recited in Claim 82, further comprising the steps of:
(j) assembling a second plurality of circuit components in close proximity in a three-dimensional spatial and electrical relationship in the manner of steps (a) through (f) ;
(k) nesting said second plurality of circuit components assembled in step (j) in contact with said assembled first plurality of circuit components assembled in steps (a) through (f) ; and
(1) electrically interconnecting said assembled first and second plurality of circuit components.
Descripción  (El texto procesado por OCR puede contener errores)  (texto de WO1990015478A2)

IMPROVED THREE-DIMENSIONAL CIRCUIT COMPONENT ASSEMBLY AND METHOD CORRESPONDING THERETO

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the assembly in a single electronic device of a plurality of circuit components, and more particularly to the compact assembly of such circuit components in close proximity one with another in a three-dimensional spatial and electrical relationship.

The present invention also relates to techniques for enhancing the electrical and mechanical integrity of such assemblies of circuit components and for enhancing the ease and reducing the cost of manufacturing same.

2. Background Art

Complex electronic devices usually involve a plurality of distinct circuit components which must be electrically interconnected in order to achieve the objectives of the device. Increasingly, such circuit components are themselves complex electrical subsystems, taking the form of integrated circuit semiconductor chips. Whether interconnecting semiconductor chips or discrete circuit components of the traditional type, every effort is made to place such circuit constituents in close proximity one to another. This is undertaken in order to reduce the overall size of the electronic device which the circuit constituents comprise, to reduce the quantity of electrically conductive material required to effect interconnection of the circuit constituents, and preferably to group together in a standard, electrically interconnected arrangement circuit constituents that together perform an identifiable electrical function. In high, speed electronic devices the separation between circuit components is minimized in order to reduce the time required for signals to be communicated between those devices. Typically, plural circuit components are electrically interconnected by their attachment to conductive pads or contact apertures on a rigid planar printed circuit board. Where the circuit components are of the traditional discrete variety, soldering, fusion, or the application of conductive paste, epoxy, elastomer, or cement to conductive surfaces on an individual basis is required in order to effect this attachment. Because of the small size and large number of leads, wires, or connection points involved in the typical integrated circuit semiconductor chip, however, such devices are not always attached to printed circuit boards directly.

Integrated circuit semiconductor chips are traditionally mounted on, embedded in, or attached to a semiconductor chip carrier package having electrical insulating capability. Electrically conductive pathways comprising variously pins, wires, or printed conductive routing traces are electrically connected to contact points on the integrated circuit semiconductor chip and extend therefrom to the exterior of the carrier package. The pins, wires, traces, or other electrical contact points on the exterior of the package or carrier may then be inserted into sockets in receptacle housings, or clips, which have already been secured to the circuit board and electrically interconnected to the conductive routing traces thereon. Such integrated circuit semiconductor chip carrier packages may also -be attached or electrically interconnected directly to conductive pads and apertures on the printed circuit board by the methods mentioned above in relation to the attachment of traditional discrete circuit components to circuit boards.

While the process of inserting a semiconductor chip carrier package into a receptacle housing is not particularly arduous, the securing of such receptacle housings or the semiconductor chip carrier packages directly to a circuit board can be quite tedious and time consuming. In many instances advanced robotics or other automated methods of drilling and attachment must be employed.

As the number of circuit components in an electronic device increases, the size and complexity of the printed circuit board to which the circuit components are attached is similarly affected. This results in the need for multiple layers of conductive traces in the circuit board employed. The physical separation between circuit components also increases, particularly between those components at the opposite sides of the circuit board, lengthening the conductive routing traces electrically connecting the circuit components. Signal delay, heat dissipation, and fabrication complexity thereby become potential problems.

If the expanse of the circuit board required exceeds the area allocated for it in the housing of the overall device, then a complementing assembly strategy is employed. This involves the design and fabrication of a plurality of distinct circuit boards mounted over or next to one another on posts, or inserted by the edges thereof into some other form of upstanding support bus or channel. Electrical interconnection between such circuit boards is generally achieved through the support structure therebetween.

Nevertheless, in such arrangements each circuit board with its own plurality of attached circuit components projecting from the surface thereof is a delicate article to handle, assemble, or service. Space must be maintained between each of the circuit boards to accommodate for the circuit components attached thereupon.

While the electrical interconnection of circuit components on a single circuit board is substantially two- dimensional in nature, the stacking of circuit boards in the manner described introduces among the circuit components involved a third dimension in which that interconnection can occur, one normal to the planes of the circuit boards. In this third dimension electrical interconnections can be effected, potentially rendering the conductive trace patterns on the circuit boards themselves less complex and advantageously reducing the average electrical distance among circuit components by shortening the length of some interconnecting traces. Signal transfer times between some circuit components can possibly be kept within smaller limits than with other methods of circuit component assembly. This is particularly advantageous in complex electronic devices. Nevertheless, while the circuit component assembly technique described above enables a circuit designer to place a large number of circuit components in close spatial relation one to another, that technique remains limited by the disadvantages inherent in its traditional use of printed circuit boards. As mentioned earlier, these include the difficulty of attaching components to circuit boards and the fragility of the resulting structure with those components projecting from the surface thereof. The complexity of fabrication and assembly associated with this method is also greatly increased.

This latter aspect of circuit board utilization requires the maintenance between each circuit board of a substantial volume of unused space so that circuit components attached to one circuit board will not encounter those on an adjacent board. Additionally, auxiliary support structures must be interposed between circuit levels to hold the circuit board layers apart from one another. As a result, space in electronic devices is not maximally utilized. These considerations limit the capacity of stacked circuit board arrangements to densify the circuit components involved.

A further difficulty involves the manner in which electrical interconnections are effected between the layers of this stack of circuit boards. Conductive pads are located at each peripheral edge of the circuit boards. These pads are then interconnected between adjacent circuit boards in the stack by conductive traces printed on rigid spacers that are individually inserted between each pair of adjacent circuit boards at each peripheral edge thereof. One spacer thus effects electrical interconnections between only two levels of the circuit board stack on only a single, flat peripheral side thereof. The assembly of sufficient spacers to interconnect all levels of the stack on all of the non-coplanar sides thereof is a tedious and demanding task.

Another circuit component assembly having plural layers utilizes box-like modules containing electrical circuit components are stacked in an aligned sequence. A single flat side of each module is provided with electrical contacts. When the modules are stacked assembled together, the contacts are all located on a single, planar side of the resultant assembly. A narrow, harness bearing conductive traces is located longitudinally of the stack against the contacts to connect modules at different levels. The interconnections effected are limited to but a single peripheral side of the assembly, reducing the number of such interconnections that are available between each level. Alternatively, it is possible to use a flexible printed circuit board to which circuit components are mounted in columns on conductive pads arrayed in parallel lines in the traditional manner. The circuit board is then rolled upon itself with an insulation layer interposed therebetween about an axis parallel to the lines of those conductive pads, producing a spatially compact cylindrical arrangement of electrical circuit components. A rigid cylindrical housing encloses the rolled circuit board to maintain its physical integrity.

Despite the close spatial relationship that results among circuit components in this circuit component assembly, the interconnection between circuit components is limited to the use of conductive routing traces in the two- dimensional plane of the unrolled circuit board. Accordingly, while some spatial densification of the circuit components mounted on the circuit board can be effected in this manner, those components remain in an electrical sense as remote from one another as if mounted on a rigid planar circuit board. Components at remote ends of the board, while possibly close together in a spatial sense once the board is rolled up, are still separated electrically by conductive traces that must traverse the full length of the circuit board. The method disclosed is also still affected by the disadvantages of the traditional way in which circuit components are attached to circuit boards, and the fragility of the circuit board with the attachments thereto continues to inhibit easy assembly and maintenance. The drive for large scale circuit integration continues, reducing the physical and electrical proximity of the subcomponents of the integrated circuitry found on a given semiconductor chip. Ironically, however, the distances between such semiconductor chips once these are assembled in electronic devices continues to be quite enormous by comparison. One reason that these distances persist may be that bringing other electrical components and leads into close proximity with the delicate circuitry in an integrated circuit semiconductor chip can render those components susceptible to malfunctioning induced by signals in closely adjacent structures.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One object of the present invention is to produce an assembly of a plurality of circuit components in which such components are in close three-dimensional spatial proximity.

Another object of the invention is a spatially compact assembly of circuit components in which such components are in addition proximate electrically, being interconnected by relatively short conductive traces.

Still another object of the present invention is a three-dimensional circuit component assembly as described above which does not require customized or more complex methods of component soldering, fusion, or attachment, as are encountered in attaching circuit components to conven¬ tional circuit boards.

Yet another object of the invention is to create a three-dimensional circuit component assembly which minimizes unused space between levels of the assembly. Where the circuit components involved are integrated circuit semiconductor chips, it is an object of the present invention to place such circuit components in the closest possible proximity electrically or mechanically permitted by the form in which those circuit components are originally manufactured.

One object of the present invention is an assembly of circuit components as described above in which printed circuit board space is minimized and the average length of conductive traces thereon is reduced relative to a planar printed circuit board.

An additional object of the present invention is to simplify the fabrication of a plurality of electrical circuit components into a single electronic unit and to provide for secure and permanent mechanical and electrical bonding among the components thereof.

Yet another object of the present invention is to alleviate specialized supportive structures for circuit board layers in a complex electronic device requiring a plurality of planar circuit boards with electronic components attached thereto.

An additional object of the present invention is an electrical circuit component carrier package which is sturdy, protective of the circuit components associated therewith, and readily interconnectable electrically to other similar carrier packages without custom soldering, fusion, or attachment. Ye another object of the present invention is an assembly for a plurality of circuit components in close physical and electrical proximity, such as that described above, in which the circuit components are electrically shielded both from affecting and being affected by the nearby electrical circuit components.

It is further an object of the present invention to provide a system for interconnecting plural assemblies of circuit components pf the type described above.

Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will become apparent from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

To achieve the foregoing objects, and in accordance with the invention as embodied and broadly described herein, a three-dimensional circuit component assembly is provided comprising a plurality of circuit component carrier packages, each of which houses one or more circuit components, preferably by embedment in the carrier package. In one embodiment of the invention, the carrier packages are of a plate-like configuration, having a pair of opposed congruent parallel faces.

The carrier packages are positioned to form a carrier package assembly with one of the faces of each carrier package contacting one of the faces of at least one other carrier package. Ideally, if the faces of all carrier packages are congruent, faces of adjacent carrier packages in the carrier package assembly may be aligned in a mating relationship, so that a prismatic, cylindrical, tubular, or even concave stack results. This then constitutes a support structure that upholds a plurality of electrical circuit components in a mutually fixed spatial relationship. Means are provided for electrically interconnecting the electrical circuit components upheld by the support structure of the carrier package assembly. In one embodiment of the invention the means comprises one or more contacts on the outer surface of each of the carrier packages. These contacts may take the form variously of pads, pins, or receptacles which are electrically coupled to the circuit component or components housed in each carrier package. Such contacts may be located on the faces of the carrier packages, so that the contacts on adjacent faces of successive carrier packages in the carrier package assembly engage one another. Alternatively or additionally, the contacts may be located on the sides of each individual carrier package, defining an interface area comprising a plurality of non-coplanar sides of the support structure when the carrier packages are assembled therein. The interface area may comprise curvilinear portions of the periphery of the support structure, a plurality of flat non-coplanar portions of the periphery, or even portions thereof located opposite sides of the support structure.

Electrical contacts on the interface area are electrically interconnected by a tying means. In one embodiment of the present invention, such a tying means comprises a unitary, electrically insulative substrate disposed opposing the interface area. Contact sites on the substrate engage the electrical contacts of the interface area, while electrically conductive routing traces on either or Jjoth sides of the substrate, or in a plurality of layers, interconnect individual ones of the contact sites. The substrate may contact the interface area directly, or be spaced - apart therefrom as, for example, where the electrical contacts take the form of connector pins that uphold the substrate away from the interface area.

The substrate itself may assume a number of forms. It may comprise a continuous flexible planar member which partially or fully encircles the carrier package assembly, or a thin-walled tubular member fitted thereto. The substrate may encircle the support structure a plurality of times, either wrapping back upon itself, or if configured as an elongated ribbon, do so without overlap contacting.

Where the substrate takes the form of a flexible planar member, the disposition of the planar member opposing the interface area can bring the opposite edges of the substrate together in a seam which may advantageously be traversed by electrical wiring traces to interconnect contact sites located on opposite sides of the seam. The seam may encircle the support structure, either partially or a plurality of times, or take the form of a straight line.

Alternatively, when the substrate is disposed opposing the interface area, the opposite edges thereof may be separated by a gap. The gap may encircle the support structure, either partially or a plurality of times.

Thus, the invention comprises an efficient arrangement for the assembly of a plurality of circuit components using a single circuit board. In the invention, however, the circuit board, rather than being a structural element on which circuit components are individually mounted, generally serves as a flexible connection means between non-coplanar sides and various levels of a self-supporting carrier package assembly of the circuit components housed in durable protective carrier packages, preferably of a standard size and shape. An exception arises in the embodiment of the invention in which the support structure takes the form of a plurality of rigid congruent circuit boards with attached electrical circuit components. The boards are disposed in a self-supporting manner parallel to and aligned with one another in a sequential stack. Electrical contacts are located on the peripheral edges of the circuit boards defining an interface area on the periphery of the support structure. A substrate as described above is then disposed opposing the interface area. In one embodiment, however, the electrical contacts comprise connector pins that extend from the peripheral edges of the circuit board and enter connector apertures therefor in the substrate opposed thereto. Given adequate mechanical integrity in the substrate, the circuit boards can be supported in their sequential stack by the substrate and the action of the connector pins in the connector apertures. The carrier packages may be of any convenient configuration, but should for best advantage be similar in size and shape to each other. The assembly of such carrier packages into a carrier package assembly can be facilitated through the provision of a register means which aligns successive carrier packages with the faces thereof in a mating relationship. In one form, the carrier packages may comprise a semiconductor integrated semiconductor chip exclusively, or comprise such a chip in association with a spacer plate having opposed parallel faces congruent with the semiconductor integrated chip.

Plural circuit component assemblies are interconnected to form a system for assembling a plurality of circuit components in close physical and electrical proximity by a coupling means for electrically connecting the electrical component in each carrier assembly. The coupling means may take the form of patterned conductive pins and corresponding apertures, or a planar connecting plate with patterned sets of pins or apertures at the opposite edges thereof. Alternately, a set of contact sites are provided on an exterior surface of each component assembly, and the contact sites are then interconnected by yet another flexible circuit board. It is also contemplated that two or more component assemblies may nest directly against each other to effect electrical interconnection. In one preferred form of such a system, one circuit component assembly is tubular and the other is installed as a core filling the cavity therethrough. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the manner in which the above-recited and other advantages and objects of the invention are obtained, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these depict only typical embodiments of the invention, and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, the subject invention will be described with additional specificity and detail through use of those drawings in which:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a three-dimensional circuit component assembly incorporating the teachings of the present invention; Fig. 1.1 is a detail view of a portion A of the surface of the circuit component assembly shown in Fig. 1; Fig. 2 is a partially disassembled perspective view of the circuit component assembly shown in Fig. 1;

Fig. 3 is a further disassembled perspective view of the circuit component carrier packages of the circuit component assembly of Figs. 1 and 2;

Fig. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a circuit component carrier package incorporating additional teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the circuit component carrier package shown in Fig. 4 taken along section line 5-5 therein and including in cross-section a portion of a circuit board suitable for use therewith; Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the circuit component carrier package shown in Fig. 4 taken along section line 6-6 therein and including in cross-section a portion of a circuit board suitable for use therewith; .- Fig. 7 is a perspective view in partial disassembly of an alternative embodiment of a circuit component assembly according to the teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 8 is a perspective view in partial disassembly of yet another embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 9 is a perspective view in partial disassembly of an additional embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention; Fig. 10 is a perspective view of the assembled configuration of the circuit component assembly shown in Fig. 9;

Fig. 11 is a perspective view in partial disassembly of an additional embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 12 is a perspective view of the disassembled components of another embodiment of a circuit component carrier package incorporating teachings of the present invention; Fig. 13 is a perspective view of the assembled configuration of the circuit component carrier package shown in Fig. 13;

Fig. 14 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a circuit component assembly illustrating additional teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 15 is a perspective view of an additional embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 16 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 17 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating by the teachings of the present invention a circuit board spiral-wrapped about the exterior thereof;

Fig. 18 is a plan view of the circuit board of Fig. 17 shown in an unrolled, planar condition; Fig. 19 is a cross-sectional view of the circuit component assembly shown in Fig. 17 taken along section line 19-19 therein;

Fig. 20 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention and a spiral-wrapped circuit board;

Fig. 21 is a cross-sectional view of the circuit component assembly of Fig. 20 taken along section line 21- 21 shown therein;

Fig. 22 is a perspective view of an additional embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 23 is a partially disassembled perspective view of an embodiment of a circuit component assembly illustrating additional teachings of the present invention; Fig. 24 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a circuit component assembly and plural-wrapped circuit board for use therewith incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 25 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a circuit component assembly and a composite of circuit boards for use therewith incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 26 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 27 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention; Fig. 28. is a perspective view in partial disassembly of an additional embodiment of a circuit component assembly incorporating teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 29 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a circuit component carrier package similar to that illustrated in Fig. 5.but in addition incorporating various forms of electrical shielding;

Fig. 30 is a perspective view in partial breakaway of an embodiment of a circuit component assembly according to the teachings of the present invention incorporating an additional form of electrical shielding;

Fig. 31 is a partially disassembled perspective view of' a plurality of circuit component assemblies incorporating teachings of the present invention and coupled in a system for assembling a plurality of circuit components in close physical and electrical proximity;

Fig. 32 is a perspective view in partial disassembly of another embodiment of a system for assembling a plurality of circuit components according to the teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 33 is a perspective view in partial disassembly of an additional embodiment of a system for assembling a plurality of circuit components according to the teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 34 is an exploded detail view of a portion B of the surface of the stack of component carrier packages in the core carrier assembly of the system of Fig. 33;

Fig. 35 is an exploded perspective view of the components of the carrier stack shown in the detail of Fig. 34;

Fig. 36.1 is a cross-sectional elevation view of the spacer plate of Fig. 35 taken along section line 36.1-36.1 therei ; Fig. 36.2 is a cross-sectional elevation view of the protective cover shown in Fig. 35 taken along section line 36.2-36.2 therein;

Fig. 36.3 is a cross-sectional elevation view of an integrated circuit semiconductor chip of Fig. 35 taken along section line 36.3-36.3 therein;

Fig. 37 is yet another embodiment of a system for assembling a plurality of circuit components according to the teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 38 is a perspective view of a pair of circuit component assemblies according to the teachings of the present invention illustrating a manner of effecting electrical interconnections therebetween;

Fig. 39 is a disassembled perspective view of another embodiment of a system for coupling a plurality of circuit component assemblies according to the teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 40 is a perspective view of a system for coupling a plurality of circuit component assemblies according to the teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 41 is a perspective view of yet another system for coupling a plurality of circuit component assemblies according to the teachings of the present invention;

Fig. 42 is a perspective view of yet another system for coupling a plurality of circuit component assemblies according to the teachings of the present invention; and

Fig. 43 is a perspective view of yet another system for assembling a plurality of circuit components according to the teachings of the present invention by coupling a plurality of electrical component assemblies.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT One embodiment of a three-dimensional circuit component assembly 10 incorporating teachings of the present invention is shown fully assembled in Fig. l. The constituent elements of circuit component assembly 10 will be illustrated and described subsequently by reference to Figs. 2 and 3 which illustrate some of those elements in a partially disassembled relationship. By reference to Fig. 1, however, circuit component assembly 10 can be seen to comprise a self-supporting prismatic central portion 12 which houses a plurality of circuit components (not shown) in a highly densified three-dimensional spatial relation- ship. Central portion 12 is in actuality cylindrical in shape. Nevertheless, the term "prismatic" used throughout this disclosure and the claims thereafter in relation to a three-dimensional circuit component assembly will mean all solids exhibiting congruent cross-sections in planes taken parallel one to another, including both solids, such as circuit component assembly 10 having curved sides, and solids as subsequently disclosed herein having straight sides.

On a first end 14 of central portion 12 is mounted a connector block 16 which is electrically coupled with the circuit components housed in central portion 12. Connector block 16 serves the dual functions of supporting circuit component assembly 10 when it is installed in an electronic device and of interconnecting the electrical circuit components housed in central portion 12 with circuitry exterior thereto. Toward this end the face of connector block 16 remote from first end 14 of central portion 12 is provided wj.th a plurality of installation pins 18 or any other suitable type of electrical connector which may be received in a correspondingly patterned receptacle when circuit component assembly 10 is installed in an electronic device.

On second end 20 of central portion 12 opposite from connector block 16 is mounted a cap 22. Where it is desirable to further interconnect the circuit- components housed in central portion 12 with circuitry exterior to circuit component assembly 10, cap 22 may be provided on the outer face 24 thereof remote from connector block 16 with a structure to which electrical interconnections may be selectively effected. Toward this end connector block 16 may include a connector of standard national or international pattern. Such structure may also take the form shown of a recess 26 having a floor 27 from which project a plurality of upstanding conductive posts 28. Posts 28 are electrically interconnected through block 22 to the circuit components housed in central portion 12. Cap 22 and connector block 16 may, depending on the application involved, be interchangeable one with another both functionally and physically with respect to first and second ends 14, 20, respectively, of central portion 12.

On the surface of central portion 12 a seam 30 extends in a straight line from cap 22 to connector block 16 between the opposed portions 31, 32 of the surface of central portion 12 to either side of seam 30 thereof. In many applications a seam, such as seam 30 might not be visually appreciable. Nevertheless, seam 30 has been included in Fig. 1 in order to afford an improved understanding of the structure of circuit component assembly 10. The surface of central portion 12 might also in some applications include structure omitted for clarity of explanation from Fig. 1, but shown in the detail view of seam 30 appearing in a portion A of the surface of central portion 12 illustrated in Fig. 1.1. In Fig. 1.1 it can be seen that the surface of central portion 12 on both sides of seam 30 includes a plurality of conductive pads interconnected on a selective basis by electrically conductive routing traces 34 which are in turn coupled to the electrical circuit components housed in central portion 12. Routing traces, such as routing traces 34A which approach the edge of portion 31 of the surface of central portion 12 and routing traces 34B which approach the edge of portion 32 of the surface of central portion 12 are electrically connected to each other by a conductive bead 35 joining opposed routing traces 34A and 34B and traversing seam 30. Conductive bead 35 may be produced in any conventional fusion or bonding process and may thus comprise solder or a conductive paste, epoxy, elastomer, or adhesive. Seam 30 itself may be created prior to the formation of conductive beads 35 by sealing or fusing opposed portions 31, 32 of the surface of central portion 12 to one another to create a single continuous surface about the circumference of central portion 12. The nature of seam 30 and the interior structure of circuit component assembly 10 will be explored in further detail by reference first to Fig. 2, wherein connector block 16 (not shown) and cap 22 have been detached from central portion 12 and portions 31, 32 of the surface of central portion 12 have been disconnected to open seam 30.

Central portion 12 is thus revealed to be comprised of a structurally self-supporting prismatic core 40 or housing having parallel end surfaces 42, 44 and curvilinear sides 46 normal thereto. Prismatic core 40 is cylindrical in configuration. The circuit components housed in central portion 12 are thus more specifically located in core 40. Curvilinear sides 46 of core 40 are provided with a plurality of circumferentially arrayed rows of contacts 48 which are electrically interconnected with the circuit components housed in core 40. In the embodiment shown in Fig. 2 contacts 48 are depicted as circular conductive pads that are relatively flush with the surface of curvilinear sides 46 and are advantageously displaced about sides 46 of core 40 in a uniform manner. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, circuit component assembly 10 is provided with a tying means for electrically interconnecting selected ones of contacts 48, whereby to electrically interconnect the circuit components housed in core 40. As shown by way of example and not limitation, a flexible, electrically insulative substrate 50 encircles core 40 against curvilinear sides 46 thereof. The inner surface 51 of flexible substrate 50 engages core 40 and has printed or otherwise provided thereon a plurality of contact sites 52 corresponding in pattern to the layout of contacts 48. Conductive routing traces 54 selectively interconnect contact sites 52.

When flexible substrate 50 circumferentially encircles curvilinear sides 46 of core 40, contact sites 52 on substrate 50 engage contacts 48 on core 40. Through conductive routing traces 54 the circuit components housed within core 40 are thus in turn electrically interconnected with each other. This interconnection can occur both circumferentially of core 40, about curvilinear sides 46, and longitudinally of core 40 in a direction parallel to the axis thereof. As the circumferential interconnections are not linear, but instead curve about core 40, these circumferential interconnections in combination with interconnections longitudinal of core 40 offer three dimensions in which to effect electrical interconnections among the circuit components housed within core 40. Flexible substrate 50 with contact sites 52 and conductive routing traces 54 thereupon thus functions as a cylindrical circuit board for interconnecting the circuit components housed in core 40.

The uniform displacement of contacts 48 about the periphery of core 40 will result in contact sites 52 on flexible substrate 50 being arrayed in a uniform matrix thereon. This in turn simplifies the manufacturing processes associated with producing a circuit board, such as flexible substrate 50, as well as the assembly of the circuit board to a core in which circuit components are housed, but is not essential to the practice of the present invention.

A comment is in order pertaining to the tying means utilized in the present invention. While flexible substrate 50 shown in Fig. 2 engages curvilinear sides 46 of core 40 and encircles core 40 exactly one time, these features are examples, rather than limitations of structures suitable for functioning as the tying means of the present invention. As further embodiments disclosed herein will reveal, the inventive tying means need not itself in part or in whole make contact with the surface of the structure opposing which it is disposed. It is only required that electrical connections be effected between the two.

In addition, structures functioning as a tying means according to the teachings of the present invention need not be flexible as that term is commonly understood, but may include structures which are tubular and rigid or integrally formed but rigid in sections. The substrate may to some advantage be unitary in its construction, but may in the alternative be made up of a plurality of distinct insulative substrates which overlap or abut one another in order to perform a similar function. These will be described hereinafter.

Neither is it required according to the teachings of the present invention that the substrate utilized for electrically interconnecting electrical contacts, such as contacts 48, encircle a support structure, such as core 40, exactly one time, so as to permit the opposing edges of the substrate to abut in a seam, such as seam 30 shown in Figs. 1 and 1A. Instead, a substrate, such as flexible substrate 50, when embodied and utilized according to the teachings of the present invention may only partially encircle the support structure with which it is used, or may encircle that support structure a plurality of times. In doing the latter, the substrate may overlap itself on successful wrappings about the support structure or may not even have the opposing edges thereof meet at all.

At a minimum, the invention contemplates an electrically insulative substrate disposed opposing an interface area which comprises a plurality of non-coplanar portions of the surface or the periphery of the support structure with which it is utilized. The interface area can comprise curvilinear surfaces, a plurality of non- coplanar flat surfaces, or a combination of both.

To enhance the mechanical and electrical integrity of circuit component assembly 10, and to ease its manufacture, either or both of contacts 48 and contact sites 52, which may be copper or some solderable material, may be manufactured with a coating of reflowable solder. In this instance, after flexible substrate 50 is wrapped about core 40, the entire assembly is heated, whereupon the reflow solder flows to fill any gaps between desired electrical contacts, making a permanent electrical joint. In addition, inner surface 51 of flexible substrate 50 can be coated with a contact adhesive or one curable by heat or other catalyst. In the case of a contact adhesive, on the initial placement of flexible substrate 50 against core 40, an immediate cement bond would result. With a curable adhesive, the surfaces could be bonded at a later time. In the case of a heat curable adhesive, the additional provision of reflow solder on contacts 48 or contact sites 52 would permit the whole assembly to be treated for electrical and mechanical bonding simultaneously in a single process.

Fig. 2 illustrates one manner in which cap 22, as well as connector block 16 (not shown) , may be mechanically attached to and electrically interconnected with core 40. By way of example and not limitation, end surface 42 of core 40 may be provided with a centrally located female recess 60 into which snaps a similarly shaped centrally located male fitting 62 on cap 20. Male fitting 62 projects from the floor 63 of a cylindrical recess 64 in the face 65 of cap 20 adjacent to core 40. Snapping of male fitting 62 into female recess 60 brings end surface 42 of core 40 into contact with the floor 63 of recess 64. It is through such contact that an electrical interconnection is effected between cap 22 and the circuit components housed in core 40.

In the embodiment shown, female recess 60 and male fitting 62 are of a regular pentagonal shape. Accordingly cap 22 may be attached to core 40 in a variety of different angular orientations. This requires that the electrical interconnection between core 40 and cap 22 be angularly non-specific. By way of example, toward this end floor 63 of recess 64 is provided with a plurality of concentric, electrically conductive annular contacts 66 arrayed about male fitting 62 which are connected through block 22 to upstanding conductive posts 28 shown in Fig. 1. In Fig. 2 four such annular contacts 66 are shown.

Correspondingly, end surface 42 of core 40 includes a plurality of cap contacts 68 which are electrically coupled to the circuit components within core 40 and arrayed in concentric cap contact patterns 70 (shown in phantom) corresponding in size and location to annular contacts 66. Thus, when floor 63 of recess 64 engages end surface 42 of core 40, regardless of the angular orientation of cap 22, the desired electrical interconnections between cap 22 and core 40 are effected. If a plurality of cap contacts 68 are located on a single cap contact pattern 70, those plural cap contacts will be directly interconnected by the annular contact 66 corresponding to the specific cap contact pattern 70 involved. Connector block 16 may be attached to core 40 in a similar manner.

While core 40 may be a single, self-sustaining structural housing for circuit components in order to function as a support structure for upholding a plurality of electrical circuit components in a mutually fixed spatial relationship, in accordance with an additional teaching of the present invention, core 40 is advantageously comprised of a sequence of congruent plates 71 stacked against and parallel to one another. As better appreciated by reference to Fig. 3, each of plates 71 has a pair of opposed congruent parallel faces and at the periphery thereof sides normal thereto. It is upon these sides of plates 71 individually that contacts 48 are located. Each plate 71 houses one or more circuit components to be interconnected in circuit component assembly 10.

Accordingly, throughout the remainder of this disclosure and in the claims which follow plates 71 will be interchangeably referred to as component carrier packages, and core 40 comprised of component carrier packages 71 will be interchangeably referred to as a support structure or a carrier package assembly. The faces of different component carrier packages 71 in carrier package assembly 40 are congruent with each other. When assembled to form core 40, component carrier packages 71 are positioned adjacent one to another with faces of adjacent component carrier packages 71 in a mating relationship. In this manner component carrier packages 71 together form a prismatic carrier package assembly 40 having parallel end surfaces 42, 44, sides 46 normal thereto, and a transverse cross-section of that is substantially congruent to the faces of component carrier packages 71. In Figs. 2 and 3 prismatic carrier package assembly 40 takes the form of a cylindrical solid.

According to another aspect of the present invention register means are provided for aligning component carrier packages 71 with the faces thereof in the desired mating relationship. By way of example, in Fig. 3 successive component carrier packages 71A and 7IB have been separated to disclose adjacent faces 72, 74 thereof, respectively. Face 72 of component carrier package 71A is proved at one edge thereof with a set of patterned projecting alignment pins 76 and at the opposite edge thereof with a set of patterned alignment apertures 78. Similarly, adjacent face 74 of component carrier package 71B is provided at opposite edges thereof with a set of patterned alignment pins 80 and a set of patterned alignment apertures 82. Typically, in assembling component carrier packages 71A and 71B into carrier package assembly 40, alignment pins 76 on component carrier package 71A are received in alignment apertures 82 on component carrier package 71B, while alignment pins 80 are similarly received in alignment apertures 78. This precisely aligns adjacent faces 72, 74 and sides 46 of the constituent component carrier packages 71A, 71B, facilitating use of flexible substrate 50 and other structure described subsequently for the purpose of effecting electrical interconnections between the electrical circuit components in component carrier packages 71A and 71B in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of carrier package assembly 40.

Optionally, the fit of alignment pins 76, 80 into alignment apertures 78, 82 may be designed so that successive component carrier packages 71A, 7IB snap together and are retained in that relationship for easy handling and further processing. In this same manner the balance of component carrier packages 71 can be readily and precisely assembled one to another. Carrier packages 71 may be fully disassemblable or permanently secured one to the other with a locking adhesive.

In the arrangement shown in Fig. 3 adjacent faces 72, 74 engage one another in a mating relationship which is angularly specific. Nevertheless, under some circumstances angularly non-specific mating between adjacent faces of successive component carrier packages 71 may be acceptable. Then systems of pins and apertures can be devised which, like male fitting 62 and female recess 60, enable alignment to be angularly non-specific. Circumstances may exist which do not require the alignment of the adjacent faces of successive component carrier packages 71. In such cases, fittings such as male fitting 62 and female recess 60 may be omitted. Optionally, the retention of successive component carrier packages 71 in a carrier package assembly 40 may be accomplished exclusively through the use of an encircling circuit board, such as substrate 50.

The electrical interconnection between circuit components housed in successive component carrier packages 71A, 7IB are effected, either by the interconnection of contacts 48 on curvilinear sides 46 through contact sites 52 and conductive routing traces 54 on flexible substrate 50, or through the use of mating contacts on faces 72, 74 of each, respectively. Additionally, both means of interconnection may be employed. As shown in Fig. 3, face 72 of component carrier package 71A is provided at the periphery thereof intermediate alignment pins 76 and alignment apertures 78 with a plurality of contacts 84, which are shown in the embodiment illustrated as comprising circular conductive pads that are relatively flush with the surface of face 72. Correspondingly, face 74 of component carrier package 7IB is provided with a plurality of similarly configured and patterned contacts 86.

The positioning of contacts 84, 86 is not of substantial significance to their correct functioning, provided that they are electrically interconnected with corresponding circuit components and are brought to bear against each other when the faces on which they appear are in a mating relationship. The form of contacts 84, 86 and of contacts 48 can vary according to design convenience, as will be illustrated in the subsequent embodiments of the invention disclosed hereafter.

Optionally, to enhance the number of interconnection points between successive component carrier packages 71A, 71B, alignment pins 76 and alignment apertures 72 may be interconnected with the circuit component housed within component carrier package 71A. Where alignment pins 80 and alignment apertures 82 on component carrier package 7IB are similarly interconnected to the electrical circuit component housed therein, it is then possible, even without the provision of additional contacts, such as contacts 84, 86, to interconnect the circuit components in each of component carrier packages 71A, 71B. Additionally or alternatively, electrical interconnection between adjacent component carrier packages 71 may be effected using cooperating national or international connectors of standard design.

Where component carrier packages 71 are suitably structured, electrical contact effected between adjacent faces, such as adjacent faces 72, 74 of component carrier packages 71A, 7IB, respectively, may be sufficient to the requirements of the resulting circuit component assembly. In such cases, additional electrical interconnections parallel to the longitudinal axis of carrier package assembly 40 using cooperating flexible substrate 50 and contacts 48 on curvilinear sides 46 may not be required. Then, all electrical connections between successive component carrier packages 71 will be longitudinal of carrier package assembly 40, and other connections, particularly those circumferentially of carrier package assembly 40 will be effected within each component carrier package 71 individually in a manner to be illustrated subsequently in connection with Fig. 5.

Circumstances may also arise in which the electrical circuit components in one or more component carrier packages 71 in a carrier package assembly 40 need not be electrically coupled to the electrical circuit components in other component carrier packages 71. In such instances, it may nevertheless prove advantageous to stack such component carrier packages 71 adjacent one to another for structural or other reasons dictated by the specific application involved.

A clearer appreciation of the manner in which circuit components are housed in the component carriers of the present invention can be obtained by reference to Figs. 4, 5, and 6 taken together, which illustrate a second embodiment of a component carrier package 96. Component carrier package 96 is a flattened cylindrical disk having a pair of opposed congruent parallel faces 98, 100 and curved sides 102 therebetween. Faces 98, 100 are provided with a plurality of circular conductive pads 104 which are relatively flush with the surfaces in which they are formed. As seen in Fig. 6, conductive pads 104 on opposite faces 98, 100 of component carrier package 96 are electrically interconnected therethrough by rods 106. In addition, displaced about the., circumference of component carrier package 96 projecting from sides 102 thereof in an angularly uniform manner, are a plurality of connector pins 108 which function similarly to contacts 48 on the sides of core 40.

Conductive pads 104 and connector pins 108 afford sturdy electrical interconnections between circuitry exterior to component carrier package 96 and a possibly less sturdy circuit component 110 housed within component carrier package 96. While the circuit components housed in a circuit component carrier package of the present invention could include one or more discrete circuit components, such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, and diodes, as shown by way of example in Figs. 5 and 6, circuit component 110 comprises an integrated circuit semiconductor chip connected to a plurality of electrical leads 112, which may be printed traces. Leads 112 interconnect circuit component 110 with selective of contacts pins 108 and rods 106. In instances in which electrical interconnections are to be effected circumferentially of component carrier package 96, without the use of connector pins, such as connector pins 108 at the periphery thereof, selected of leads 112 can be interconnected within the body of component carrier package 96 using a circumferentially routed electrical interconnection 113.

In some instances, it may be desirable that the body of component carrier package 96 be hollow, so that circuit components may be installed therein and then enclosed by the sides and faces thereof. In the embodiment shown in Figs. 4-6, however, circuit component 110 is embedded in the body of component carrier package 96, thereby to produce a rigid, durable composite. The heat generating properties of circuit component 110, as well as other factors relating to the environment in which component carrier package 96 is to function, will dictate the material of which circuit component carrier package 96 is to be comprised. Various electrically non-conductive plastics and ceramics are suitable for use in forming component carrier package 96.

Component carrier package 96 is mechanically secured to and aligned in a mating relationship with an adjacent component carrier package through use of a patterned female receptacle 114 formed in face 98 and a similarly patterned male fitting (not shown) on the adjacent component carrier package. Correspondingly, face 100 of component carrier package 96 is provided with a similarly shaped male fitting 116 that is insertable into a female receptacle on another adjacent component carrier package.

The shape of male fitting 116 and female receptacle 114 ensures an angularly specific mating of faces 98, 100 with adjacent component carrier packages. As shown in Fig. 4, female receptacle 114 and any male receptacle corresponding thereto are trapezoidal in configuration, admitting of only a single angular interconnection. In this manner the correct alignment of conductive pads 104 with similar pads on adjacent component carrier packages can be insured. Figs. 5 and 6 include in cross-section portions of a flexible circuit board 118 appropriate for use to interconnect connector pins 108 of component carrier package 96, either with each other, or with similar contact pins on other component carrier packages in a carrier Q package assembly. Contact sites on flexible circuit board 118 for engaging connector pins 108 take the form of a plurality of connector apertures 120 formed through flexible circuit board 118 in a pattern dictated by the pattern of connector pins 108. Connector apertures 120 are 5 selectively interconnected, either on the inner surface 122 of flexible circuit board 118 that engages sides 102 of component carrier 96, or on the outer surface 124 remote therefrom. Means may be provided to ensure that the reception of connector pins 108 in connector apertures 120 results in a reliable electrical interconnection. For example, the bases of connector pins 108 at sides 102 of component carrier package 96 may be enlarged with a collar which engages a conductive border on inner surface 122 of flexible circuit board 118 about each of connector apertures 120. Alternatively, connector apertures 120 may be lined with a conductive material. As shown in Figs. 5 and 6, connector pins 108 can be of such a length as to extend through connector apertures 120 to outer surface 124 of flexible circuit board 118. Then the tips of connector pins 108 remote from component carrier package 96 can be individually and permanently interconnected with flexible circuit board 118 by the application thereto of discrete quantities of solder 124.

The housing of circuit components within a component carrier package, such as component carrier package 96, is a highly advantageous arrangement. Delicate circuit components and the leads therefor are thereby protected from damage, but in addition are rendered connectable one to another in a simple, standardized manner using contacts on the exterior of the component carrier package, such as conductive pads 104 and connector pins 108. The interconnection of conductive pads 104 on opposite faces of component carrier packages 96 and the use of a flexible circuit board to engage connector pins 108 on the sides thereof produces an assembly in which numerous circuit components can be densely located in close three- dimensional spatial and electrical proximity relationship. To accomplish this, the method of the present invention requires only that the circuit components involved are initially housed in a plurality of circuit component carrier packages having sides and normal thereto opposed parallel faces. Advantageously the faces of each component carrier packages are congruent with each other and to the faces of others of the carrier packages. The carrier packages are assembled adjacent one to another with faces in mating engagement to form a prismatic carrier package assembly that itself has parallel ends, sides normal thereto, and a cross-section that is substantially congruent to the faces of the carrier packages. As will be illustrated subsequently, however, the inventive concept disclosed herein includes even carrier package assemblies that are non-prismatic, but which incorporate other teachings disclosed herein pertaining to the invention. Finally, the circuit components in the individual component carrier packages are interconnected as needed on a selective basis, within each component carrier package and between component carrier packages in a direction parallel the longitudinal axis of the carrier package assembly.

The interconnection of circuit components is accomplished using contacts on the sides of each of the carrier packages electrically coupled to the circuit components housed therewithin in cooperation with an encircling circuit board having contact sites in a pattern corresponding to that of the contacts on the carrier packages. Selective of the contact sites are connected with conductive routing traces, and the flexible circuit board is installed about the carrier package assembly against the sides thereof with the contact sites engaging the contacts on the carrier packages. Alternatively or supplementally thereto, the interconnection of circuit components in different carrier packages can be effected by electrically coupling contacts on adjacent faces of successive carrier packages in the carrier package assembly to the circuit components housed therein. The carrier packages are aligned with the contacts on adjacent faces of successive carrier packages engaging one another.

The assembly of the components carrier packages of the invention ,can be facilitated by the use of patterned alignment .pins located on the faces of the carrier packages. The alignment pins are inserted into correspondingly patterned alignment apertures located on adjacent faces of successive component carrier packages in the carrier package assembly. Alternatively, male fittings located on one face can be inserted into correspondingly shaped female receptacles on an adjacent face of a successive carrier package.

The carrier package assembly with circuit components therein may be provided on one end thereof with a connector block that supports the carrier package assembly and interconnects the electrical components thereof with circuitry *exterior to the carrier package assembly. Several s ch carrier package assemblies, supported by connector blocks, can be installed adjacent one to another in the same electronic device.

While component carrier packages 71 of Figs. 1-3 and component carrier package 96 of Figs. 4-6 are depicted as being circular plates, the present invention is equally workable using components carrier packages having other configurations. For example component carrier packages of the type already described may be of any convenient polygonal shape and, if congruent, assembled into a prismatic carrier package assembly having a similar transverse cross-section. Alternatively, as will be disclosed below, the component carrier packages need not have congruent cross-sections or result when assembled one with another in a carrier package assembly that is prismatic as that term is used herein.

As shown for example in Fig. 7, a circuit component assembly 128 comprises a plurality of component carrier plates or packages 130 each housing one or more circuit components and having rectangular, or more specifically square, opposed parallel faces 132. A plurality of component carrier packages 130 are assembled adjacent one to another with faces 132 thereof in a mating relationship to form a carrier plate assembly 134 in the form of a square column. The corners 136 of component carrier plates 130 where the sides 138 thereof intersect may be rounded as convenient, and sides 138 are provided with a plurality of electrical contacts 140 coupled to the circuit components in each respective component carrier plate 130.

In contrast to the arrangement of contacts 48 on carrier packages 71 in Figs. 2 and 3, electrical contacts 140 on each component carrier plate 130 are arrayed in a plurality of circumferentially disposed rows. In this manner the number of electrical connections to each component carrier plate 130 may be increased, and such component carrier plates are thus rendered capable of enclosing either a large number of electrical circuit components or large scale integrated circuit semiconductor chips having a substantial number of leads.

Wrapped around carrier plate assembly 134, but shown in a partially opened condition in Fig. 7, is an electrically nonconductive substrate 142 which functions in the same manner as flexible circuit board 118 of Figs. 5 and 6. On the inner surface 144 of substrate 142 adjacent to sides 138 of component carrier plates 130 are a plurality of contact sites 146 corresponding in pattern to the arrangement of contacts 140. Contact sites 146 are interconnected on a selective basis according to the requirements of carrier plate assembly 134 by conductive routing traces 148.

With polygonal-shaped component carrier packages, such as component carrier plates 130, the substrate used to wrap the resulting carrier plate assembly need not be flexible in every point thereof in order to make adequate physical contact with the sides of the carrier plate assembly. Substrate 142 can thus be relatively rigid at the portions thereof opposing sides 138 of component carriers 13, if yet rendered flexible in the regions 150 corresponding to corners 136. By bending at regions 150, substrate 142 can be otherwise rigid and bring contact sites 146 thereon into engagement with contacts 140, thereby interconnecting the components of carrier plate assembly 134, both about the periphery of each component carrier plate 130 and along the length of carrier assembly 134.

Naturally, substrate 142 may be flexible throughout in the fashion of flexible circuit board 118. Nevertheless, the term "flexible", as used herein in relation to a substrate or circuit board for encircling the sides of a housing enclosing circuit components, should be understood to include a substrate, such as substrate 142, which because of the geometry of the housing it is to encircle need only to be flexible at specific locations in order to adequately engage the sides of that housing.

The precise alignment of substrate 142 and carrier plate assembly 134 can be facilitated by elevating contacts 140 slightly above the surface of sides 138 and forming contact sites 146 in depressions or dimples 152 in substrate 142.

As is frequently the case in fabricating highly densified circuit boards, conductive routing traces 148 on substrate 142 may be arrayed in a plurality of layers in order to facilitate routing. As is illustrated in the case of flexible substrate 50 in Figs. 1A and 2, such plural layers of conductive routing traces can be formed on opposite sides of a circuit board. In addition, however, as illustrated in Fig. 7, a circuit board, such as substrate 142 can include layers of conductive routing traces other than those on the exterior opposite sides of substrate. Thus, one longitudinal edge of substrate 142 is shown peeled apart to reveal that substrate 142 is a laminate of a plurality of electrically nonconductive strata 153 each supporting one or more layers of conductive routing traces 148.

Once substrate 142 has been assembled so as to wrap sides 138 of component carrier plates 130 in carrier plate assembly 134, the ends of carrier plate assembly 134 can be provided with an appropriate cap and connector block to support carrier plate assembly 134 and interconnect the electrical components therewithin to external electrical components. Toward this end, the exposed face 132 of component carrier plate 130A, has been provided with a plurality of contact pads 152 electrically coupled to the circuit components housed within carrier plate assembly 134 and with pins 154 for alignment purposes. Optionally, pins 154 may be electrically interconnected to the circuit components housed within component carrier plate 13OA.

In Fig. 8 is depicted yet another embodiment of a circuit component assembly 160 utilizing circuit component carrier packages 162 having hexagonal faces 164. Component carrier packages 162 are assembled adjacent one to another with adjacent faces 162 in a mating relationship to form a carrier package assembly 163 taking the form of a hexagonal rod. The sides 166 of component carrier packages 162 are provided with a plurality of contacts 168 interconnected with electrical circuit components housed or embedded in component carrier packages 162. In turn, contacts 168 are engaged and electrically interconnected on a selective basis by contact sites 170 and conductive routing traces 172 on the inner surface 174 of a thin substrate 176.

In circuit component assembly 160, the corners 178 where faces 164 of component carrier packages 162 intersect have not been rounded, as were corners 136 in carrier plate assembly 134 of Fig. 7. As a result, substrate 176 need be flexible only in narrow longitudinal regions or folds 180 which coincide with corners 178 of component carrier packages 162. Nevertheless, it should be understood that the expression "flexible", as applied herein to substrates used in tiBe present invention to encircle housings for electrical circuit components, includes substrates, such as substrate 176, which are comprised of relatively rigid sections: interconnected by folds which enable that substrate to encircle a carrier package assembly so that opposite edges of the substrate can be brought into electrical contact with each other.

Thus, in the instance of substrate 176, longitudinal edges 182, 184 will meet one another at a seam similar to seam 30 shown in Fig. 1 to create a single continuous member. This aspect of encirclement by a flexible circuit board provides one of the distinct advantages of the present invention, in that the length of the conductive routing traces on substrate 176 that are required to connect contact sites 170 disposed angularly about carrier package assembly 163 is reducible by almost half. For any two angularly displaced contact sites 170, the shorter of the two circumferential routes about carrier package assembly 163 may be used for interconnection purposes. It makes no difference whether that route would require crossing edges 182, 184, since those edges are fused to create a single continuous member at the outside of carrier package assembly 163.

Thus, for example, contact site 17OA adjacent to edge 182 of substrate 176 can be connected to a corresponding contact site (not shown) adjacent to edge 184 by a conductive routing trace 172A that crosses edges 182 and 184 when substrate 176 is folded back and joined to itself at edges 182, 184. Were this contact not made, a conductive routing trace connecting the two contact sites involved would necessarily follow a much longer route in the opposite circumferential direction around carrier package assembly 163, along the otherwise unbroken surface of substrate 176. The result is highly advantageous in terms of circuit board design, substantially reducing the complexity of the interconnections between any given number of contact sites.

While component carrier packages 162 may, in the manner of component carrier package 96 of Fig. 4, be provided with register means on faces 164 thereof, the alignment of component carrier packages 162 in carrier package assembly 163 is facilitated to a degree by the polygonal shapes involved. Thus, the flat sides 162 and corners 178 of component carrier packages 162 provide a significant degree of lateral and angular certainty in assembling component carrier packages 162 adjacent one to another. Nevertheless, the resulting alignment is not angularly specific, in that corners 178 of two component carriers 162 could be aligned in any of a number of angularly different orientations. Accordingly, while the alignment of component carrier packages having polygonal faces is not as difficult as in the case of the alignment of circular component carrier packages, supplemental means may be required to align polygonal component carrier packages, if such register means such as pins and apertures, or male fittings and female receptacles, are not to be utilized. Such supplemental register means can include the provision of visual patterning or color coding on sides 166 of component carrier packages 162. These would indicate to an assembly worker that component carrier packages 162 have been stacked in a correct, angularly specific orientation one to another.

In this regard, in Fig. 8, inner surface 174 of substrate 176 has been provided with a linear alignment rib 186 oriented parallel the longitudinal axis of carrier package assembly 163. Correspondingly, the periphery of each component carrier package 162 includes an alignment groove 188, also oriented parallel the longitudinal axis of carrier package assembly 163. When substrate 176 is wrapped about carrier package assembly 163, precise alignment among component carrier packages 162 is insured by the urging of alignment rib 186 into each of alignment grooves 188. According to the teachings of the present invention, additional electrical circuit components that are physically located radially outward of carrier package assembly 163 may be electrically interconnected with those electrical circuit components housed therein. Thus, by way of example, a semiconductor integrated chip 189 or other correspondingly thin electrical circuit component is shown attached to inner surface 174 of substrate 176. Integrated chip 189 is connected by conductive routing traces 172 to selected of contact sites 170 and accordingly therethrough to contacts 168 and the electrical circuit components in carrier package assembly 163.

Appearing in Figs. 9 and 10 is an illustration of yet another type of wrapping means used according to the teachings of the present invention to interconnect electrical circuit components in a housing to be encircled by the wrapping means. As shown by way of example and not limitation, an electrical component housing 190 which may or may not be comprised of individual electrical component carrier packages such as those discussed earlier, houses a plurality of electrical circuit components and is provided on the sides 192 thereof with a plurality of electrical contact sites 194. Electrical contact sites 194 are electrically coupled to the electrical circuit components contained in electrical component housing 190 and may take any convenient form, such as those discussed already above. For effecting the selective interconnection between contact sites 194, a tubular substrate 196 is installed about electrical component housing 190 with inner surface 198 of tubular substrate 196 opposing sides 192 of electrical component housing 190. Inner surface 198 is provided with a plurality of electrical contacts 200 which correspond to contact sites 194 on electrical component housing 190. Electrical contacts 200 are selectively interconnected by conductive traces 202. An additional layer of conductive traces 204 are shown on the exterior surface 206 of tubular substrate 196.

Tubular substrate 196 is fabricated of a shrinkable material so as to have an original inner diameter before shrinking that is larger than the outer diameter of electrical component housing 190. Such shrinkable materials include materials permanently shrinkable by exposure to specific chemical conditions or to extremes of hot or cold temperatures. Thus, for example, tubular substrate 196 could be comprised of a conventional heat- shrinkable material. After installation of such a tubular substrate 196 about electrical component housing 190, the application of a threshold amount of heat to tubular substrate 196 would result in the permanent contraction of tubular substrate 196 into tight engagement with sides 192 of electrical component housing 190. In this manner a continuous, seamless wrapping of electrical component housing 190 for the purpose of interconnecting contact sites 194 thereon can be effected as shown in Fig. 10, wherein tubular substrate 196 has been thusly contracted about electrical component housing 190. In the arrangements shown in Figs. 9 and 10, tubular substrate 196 may, but need not be flexible. An alternate manner of assembling tubular substrate 196 in close engagement with the exterior sides 192 of an electrical component housing 190 involves fabricating tubular substrate 196 and electrical component housing 190 sized so as to fit tightly together as shown in Fig. 10 at customary operating environment temperature. Thereafter, at least one of the housing or tubular substrate is exposed to an environment at such a temperature as to temporarily modify the size of that component and permit the housing to be inserted within the tubular substrate. Thus, electrical component housing 190 could be cooled, resulting in its contraction to such a degree as to permit electrical component housing 190 to be inserted within tubular substrate 196. Thereafter, a warming of electrical component housing 190 to an operating environment temperature would reverse the contraction resulting in electrical component housing 190 expanding to tightly fit within tubular substrate 196. Alternatively, tubular substrate 196 could be heated, increasing its size to permit the insertion of electrical component housing 190 therein. Then cooling tubular substrate 196 to an operating environment temperature would reverse the expansion of tubular substrate 196, bringing it into tight engagement with electrical component housing 190. Fig. 11 illustrates yet another circuit component assembly 210 incorporating teachings of the present invention. Circuit component assembly 210 comprises a core carrier package assembly 212 made up of a plurality of carrier packages 214 stacked adjacent one to another. Significantly, carrier package assembly 212 is non- prismatic. Carrier package assembly 112 and each of carrier packages 114 thereof are in the form of conical frustrums, illustrating that the present invention can be obtained using carrier packages that house electrical circuit components but yet are not congruent in cross- section one to another have sides that are not normal to the opposing faces thereof. Additionally, it should be observed that the thickness of carrier packages 214 is not uniform. Nevertheless, the sides of carrier package assembly 112 are provided with a plurality of contact sites 216 electrically coupled to the electrical circuit components housed in each of carrier packages 214. Contact sites 216, however, while irregularly disposed about the periphery of carrier package assembly 212 are still considered to be within the scope of the present invention.

Circuit component assembly 210 includes a flexible circuit board 218 with electrical contacts 220 and routing traces 222 on the inner surface 224 thereof which faces carrier package assembly 212. As with the other wrapping means disclosed above, flexible circuit board 218 serves to selectively interconnect contact sites 216 on carrier package assembly 212 for the purpose of coupling the electrical circuit components housed therein. Figs. 12 and 13 taken together illustrate an optional embodiment of an electrical component carrier package 230 effective in the context of the present invention and employing the teachings thereof. Carrier package 230 is a flattened circular disk comprised of a number of discreet carrier package subcomponents 232, 234, 236 each housing various electrical circuit components. Carrier package subcomponents 232, 234, 236 are joined together to form carrier package 230 by cooperating assembly pins 238 and assembly apertures 240. Assembly pins 238 and assembly apertures 240 may in addition serve to interconnect electrically the electrical circuit components housed in each of the carrier packages subcomponents. For interconnecting those electrical circuit components to others of a carrier package assembly in which carrier package 230 is utilized, the surface of carrier package 230 is provided at sides 242 thereof with a plurality of connector pins 244 which are electrically coupled to the electrical circuit components within carrier package 230. Figs. 14-16 illustrate additional aspects of the present invention. Fig. 14 depicts a circuit component assembly 250 comprising a central portion 252 housing electrical circuit components and encircled by a flexible circuit board 254 for enabling electrical interconnections therebetween. The exterior of flexible circuit board 254 includes printed conductive routing traces 256 to which are attached in a conventional manner discreet electrical circuit components 258. The circuit boards of the present invention can thus be utilized to interconnect electrical circuit components not housed in the component carrier package assembly encircled by those circuit boards. Such additional electrical circuit components 258 can merely be attached to printed circuitry on the exterior surface of the circuit board. One end of central portion 252 of circuit component assembly 250 is provided with a connector block 260 for interconnecting the electrical circuit components in central portion 252 with additional electrical circuitry exterior thereto. The end of central portion 252 opposite from connector block 260 is provided with an end cap 262 having cooling fins 264 thermally coupled to the electrical circuit components within central portion 252. It is the purpose of cooling fins 264 to dissipate from circuit component assembly 252 heat generated by the electrical circuit components therein.

Fig. 15 illustrates a circuit component assembly 270 in which heat generated by the electrical circuit components thereof is dissipated in a different manner. Circuit component assembly 270 includes a central portion 272 having on opposite ends thereof a connector block 274 and an end cap 276. The outer surface of central portion 272 is provided with a plurality of elongated cooling fins 278 disposed parallel to the longitudinal axis of central portion 272. Cooling fins 278 may be attached to a circuit board encircling central portion 272 or thermally coupled, directly or through such a circuit board, to heat-generating electrical circuit components within circuit component assembly 270. Through the circulation of cooling air past cooling fins 278, heat generated by those electrical circuit components can be dissipated from circuit component assembly 270.

Shown in Fig. 16 is yet an additional circuit component assembly 290 which comprises a plurality of disk- shaped electrical circuit component carrier packages 292 stacked one atop the other in a free-standing cylindrical carrier package assembly 294. The base carrier package 292A in carrier package assembly 294 is provided with installation pins 296 for interconnecting electrical circuit components housed within carrier packages 292 to other electrical circuitry. No circuit board encircles carrier package assembly 294, as all electrical interconnections between the electrical circuit components housed therein are effected through the contacting faces between each adjacent carrier packages 292. At the end of carrier package assembly 294 opposite from base carrier package 292A is a heat-dissipating cap 298 thermally coupled to the electrical circuit components in carrier package assembly 294 by posts 300 that pass longitudinally through carrier packages 292. Heat-dissipating cap 298 is provided with a pair of parallel, disk-shaped cooling fins 302 for accelerating the removal of heat from circuit component assembly 290. Other means of cooling the circuit component assembly, such as circuit component assembly 290 may prove equally effective.

Fig. 17 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a three dimension circuit component assembly 310 embodying specific additional teachings of the present invention. Circuit component assembly 310 includes a central support structure 312 which upholds a plurality of electrical circuit components in a mutually fixed spacial relationship. Support structure 312 is shown by way of convenience as being a cylindrical solid, but may in the alternative take a number of prismatic and nonprismatic forms. Optionally, support structure 312 can be made up of an assembly of correspondingly circular carrier packages of the types already disclosed. The outer surface of support structure 312 includes electrical contacts (not shown) such as those described already, which are coupled electrically to the electrical components held by support structure 312. These electrical contacts define an interface area that comprises a plurality of non-coplanar portions of the periphery of support structure 312. In circuit component assembly 310, that interface area comprises the curvilinear portions of the sides of support structure 312.

According to the teachings of the present invention, circuit component assembly 310 include a tying means for electrically interconnecting such electrical contacts. As shown in Fig. 17, by way of example and not limitation, an electrically insulative substrate 314 is disposed about support structure 312 opposing the interface area (not visible) defined by the electrical contacts. Substrate 314 includes contact sites (not shown) on the side thereof that engages the electrical contact on the outer surface of support structure 312 and electrically conductive routing traces (also not shown) for interconnecting individual ones of the those contact sites. Substrate 314 is a flexible planar member the structure of which is more readily appreciated by reference to Fig. 18 in which substrate 314 is illustrated in its planar unrolled condition. Substrate 314 can be seen to comprise an elongated ribbon-shaped parallelogram having a height H corresponding to that of support structure 312 and base or width W approximately equal to the circumference C of support structure 312. Where the width W of substrate 314 is less than circumference C of support structure 312, then a gap G is manifest between opposed edges AEC and BFD of substrate 314 when it is disposed about support structure 312. This gap G is shown for additional clarity in the cross section of Fig. 19. Where width W of substrate 314 is substantially equal circumference C of support structure 312, however, then opposite edges AEC and BFD of substrate 314 will abut to form a seam, such as seam 30 shown in Figs. 1 and 1A.

As illustrated in Figs. 17-19, however, substrate 314 encircles support structure 312 a plurality of times without forming such a seam. Instead, a gap 316 having an extent G spirals about support structure 312 a plurality of times. Substrate 314 can effect electrical interconnections between electrical contacts on support structure 312, both circumferentially about support structure 312 and longitudinally thereof, much in the same manner as does rectangular flexible substrate 50 shown in Figs. 1 and 2. The extent to which substrate 314 and gap 316 encircle support structure 312 is determined largely by the width W of substrate 314 in combination with the Λeasure of acute angle 0 formed between adjacent edges of substrate 314, such as sides BA and AEC.

Fig. 20 illustrates another embodiment of a circuit component assembly 330 embodying teachings of the present invention, including the use of a ribbon-like electrical interconnection substrate 332 spirally wrapped about a central support structure 334 having a circumference C. In this instance, substrate 332 has a width W' which is less than the width W of substrate 314 in Fig. 17. As a result, between opposite edges A'E'C and B'F'D* of substrate 332 a substantial gap 336 is created having an extent equal to G*. Gap 336 is shown for additional clarity in*the cross-section of Figure 21. Through gap 336 support structure 334 can be seen to be comprised of a plurality - of congruent circuit component carrier packages 338 stacked in a mating relationship with each other. Substrate 332 encircles support structure 334 a plurality of times, but because the measure of angle 0' between adjacent edges A'B1 and A'E'C1 of substrate 332 is greater than the measure of angle 0 between adjacent edges BA and AEC of substrate 314 in Fig. 17, the number of times that gap 336 spirals about support structure 334 is less than the number of times that gap 316 spirals about support structure 312.

In Fig. 22, in relation to the substrates 314 in Fig. 17 and 332 in Fig. 20, a circuit component assembly 340 is illustrated comprising a central support structure 342 partially closed or wrapped by a flexible substrate 344. As the width W" of flexible circuit board 344 is substantially less than the circumference C" of support structure 346 about which flexible circuit board 344 is wrapped, a substantial gap 346 having an extent equal to G" is formed between opposite edges B"F"D" and A"E"C" of substrate 344. The angle 0" between top edge A'B' and adjacent edge A'C of substrate 344 is, however, larger than the angle ø1 of substrate 332 and substantially larger than angle 0 of circuit component assembly 310. As a result, gap 346 spirals very gently about the non- coplanar, curvilinear sides of circuit component assembly 340.

Through gap 346, the circuit component carrier packages 350 that make up central support structure 348 are observable. The peripheral edges of circuit component carriers 350 visible through gap 346 are devoid of electrical contacts, such as contacts 48 shown on core 40 of Figs. 2 and 3. The absence of the need to extend such contacts around the full periphery of circuit component carriers 350 means correspondingly that flexible substrate 344 need not be coextensive with the entire exterior of support structure 348. This results in an economy of the material from which flexible circuit board 344 is constructed and affords direct access to the periphery of circuit component carriers 350, free of the interposition of any tying means, such as flexible circuit board 344.

Fig. 23 illustrates yet another embodiment of a circuit component assembly 360 incorporating teachings of the present invention and shown in a partially a disassembled state for illustrative purposes. A plurality of electrical circuit components 362 are upheld in a mutually fixed spatial relationship in circuit component assembly 360 by a central support structure 364 comprising a plurality of rigid congruent circuit boards 366 to which circuit components 362 are attached on one or both sides thereof. Circuit boards 366 are disposed parallel to and aligned with one another in a sequential stack utilizing four upstanding alignment posts 368 secured at the bottom ends thereof to the corners of circuit board 366A. Alignpent posts 368 pass through eyes 369 correspondingly located at the corners of the remainder of circuit boards 366, while spacer sleeves 370 slip over alignment posts 368 between each pair of circuit boards 366 to support these one above each other. For improved understanding, circuit board 366B is shown disassembled from its normal position in the stack.

Circuit components 362 on circuit boards 366 are electrically coupled to electrical contacts on three peripheral edges of circuit boards of 366 which take the form of connector pins 371. Connector pins 371 define on the periphery of support structure 364 an interface area comprising a plurality of non-coplanar portions of that periphery. In the case of Fig. 23, three such non-coplanar portions are included in the interface area, corresponding to each of the three peripheral edges of circuit boards 366 upon which connector pins 371 are located.

Disposed opposing this interface area is a unitary flexible planar substrate 372 having a pattern of contact apertures 374 formed therethrough corresponding to the pattern of connector pins 371 on the periphery of support structure 364. Apertures 374 are interconnected on a selective basis by wiring traces 376 and receive connector pins -371 when substrate 372 is positioned opposing the interface area defined by connector pins 371. Where substrate 372 is adequately substantial, and connector pins 371 are correspondingly sturdy, alignment posts 368 may prove superfluous. Under such circumstances, circuit boards 366 are capable of being supported in a stack by substrate 372 and the cooperating action of connector pins 371 received in apertures 374.

Figs. 24 and 25 illustrate alternative embodiments of flexible circuit boards for interconnecting electrical components in a core circuit component assembly according to the teachings of the present invention. In Fig. 24, circuit component assembly 380 comprises a rectangular central support structure 382 which may either be a unitary structure or a prismatic assembly of individual circuit component carrier packages. It should be noted that the surface of support structure 382 includes electrical contacts 384 and interconnecting electrical wiring traces 386 directly imprinted on support structure 382. Where support structure 382 is comprised of a stacked assembly of circuit component carrier packages, each of such carrier packages could advantageously employ electrical contacts and electrical wiring traces like traces 368 directly on the surface thereof for interconnecting the electrical circuit components housed therein. Directly imprinted wiring traces 368 should be insulated by an overlying thin film to enhance reliability.

An elongated electrically insulative substrate 388 functioning as a flexible circuit board encircles support structure 382 a plurality of times. Each successive wrap of substrate 388 thereabout overlaps the previous wrap, building up electrical contacts and potential electrical circuit components, such as semiconductor chip 189 shown in Fig. 8 or discrete electrical circuit components 258 shown in Fig. 14, in an axial direction outwardly from support structure 382. Thus, while wrap 388A of substrate 388 is adjacent to support structure 382, the next or second wrap 388B, overlaps first wrap 388A and is in turned itself overlapped by a third wrap 388C of substrate 388. Under such circumstances, opposite edges 390, 392 of substrate 388 do not meet, but are separated instead by intermediate wrapping layers of substrate 388 itself.

In Fig. 25, a similar axial buildup of flexible circuit boards is observed using, however, a composite of several individual circuit boards, rather than a single circuit board, as in Fig. 24. In Fig. 25, circuit component assembly 400 include a central support structure 402 about which is disposed a first substrate 404 contacting support structure 402 about substantially all of the periphery thereof, a second substrate 406 disposed about only a portion of the periphery of support structure 402 but contacting the surface thereof in the gap between the opposite ends 408, 410 of first substrate 404, and a fully encircling third substrate, the opposite ends of which form a seam 414 on the outer side of first substrate 404. The arrangement shown in Fig. 25 affords many of the design advantages of the device depicted in Fig. 24, with some additional flexibility due to the potential use of differing interchangeable first, second, and third substrates. Naturally the principles embodied in the substrates of Figs. 24 and 25 can be employed in any number of alternative embodiments without departing from the teachings of the present invention.

Figs. 26 and 27 illustrate additional variations of a tying means suitable for use in electrically interconnecting in a circumferential and a longitudinal direction electrical circuit components housed in a central support structure. In Fig. 26, another embodiment of a circuit component assembly 420 is shown having a cylindrical support structure 422 with a plurality of electrical contacts coupled to those electrical circuit components. The contacts take the form of elongated, projecting connector pins 424 that extend radially from the outer surface 425 of support structure 422 around the full periphery thereof.

As in other embodiments of the inventive circuit component assembly disclosed herein, support structure 422 may be a unitary housing or a stack of plate-like circuit component carrier packages. Disposed about support structure 422 opposing the curvilinear outer surface 425 thereof, is a substrate 426 which engages and is held above outer surface 425 by contact pins 424. In cooperation, substrate 426 is provided with a plurality of contact sites 427 in a pattern corresponding to that of contact pins 424. Contact sites 427 may take the form of dimples, apertures, or conductive pads coated with reflow solder. Substrate 426 is a flexible rectangular planar member with edges that meet to form a seam 426. In the alternative, substrate 426 can be of a tubular construction, such as tubular substrate 196 shown in Fig. 9 and by being made of a heat shrinkable material be brought into contact with the tips of contact pins 424 through heat treatment. In either case, however, the support of substrate 426 above outer surface 425 of support structure 422 offers a number of advantages. Among these are the opportunity to cool support substrate 422 by inducing a flow of cooling fluid in the space between substrate 426 and support structure 422. The annular space between substrate 426 and support structure 422 provides additional freedom for mounting circuit components radially outwardly of support structure 422, either on outer surface 425 thereof or on the side of substrate 426 adj cent thereto. Fig. 27 depicts yet another embodiment of a circuit component assembly 430 incorporating teachings of the present invention introduced in relationship to Fig. 26. Circuit component assembly 430 comprises an elongated rectangular carrier plate assembly 432 made up of a plurality of congruent electrical component carrier packages 434 stacked against and parallel one to another. Contact pins 436 extend from an interface area on the periphery of carrier plate assembly 432 comprising portions of the periphery of carrier plate assembly 432 located on opposite sides thereof. An electrically insulative substrate 438 provided with selectively interconnected contact sites taking the form of dimples 440 encircles carrier plate assembly 432 in a longitudinal manner so that dimples 440 are disposed opposing the interface area containing contact pins 436. In the process, at the ends 442, 444 of carrier plate assembly 432 substrate 438 engages the periphery of carrier plate assembly 432 directly. The portions of substrate 438 there-between are upheld separated from carrier plate assembly 432 by contact pins 436. The opposite edges of substrate 438 meet in a seam 446 at end 444 of carrier plate 434, where a pair of electrical leads 448 provide for interconnecting circuit component assembly 430 to other electronic devices. Fig. 28 depicts a circuit component assembly 450 made up of a support structure 452 of hexagonal cross section and a cap or connector block 454 be attached to one end 455 thereof in the manner of cap 22 shown in Fig. 2. Carrier plate assembly 452 is made up of a plurality of carrier packages 456 each housing one or more electrical circuit components and stacked against and parallel one to another in a mating relationship. This results in a carrier plate assembly having six non-coplanar sides at the peripheries thereof. These sides of carrier plate assembly 452 include electrical contacts in the form of conductive pads 458 that are electrically coupled to the circuit components in each carrier package 456.

Electrical routing traces 460 connect selective of conductive pads 458. By contrast, however, to earlier disclosed embodiments of the present invention, routing traces 460 together comprise a printed circuit pattern that is imposed directly upon the non-coplanar side surfaces of carrier package assembly 452. In this manner, the need for a substrate to electrically couple conductive pads 458 on those surfaces is obviated, producing an immediate economy in constituent components and reducing the radial size of circuit component assembly 450, at least by the thickness of such an unnecessary substrate. in printing routing traces 460 upon carrier plate assembly 452, conductive pads 458 are first machined flush therewith. Thereafter suitable preparation is made of that surface to receive a pattern of conductive routing traces. These are then printed on the exterior of carrier plate assembly 452. In the process, it may be desirable at each conductive pad 458 to form an open or annular terminus to the routing trace ending at that point. The eye in that annular end point may thereafter be closed with solder or other suitable conductive bond to achieve a secure electrical interconnection.

Through routing traces 460 printed directly on the side surfaces of carrier plate assembly 452, the circuit components housed within the core of circuit component assembly 450 are thus in turn electrically interconnected with each other. This interconnection advantageously occurs both circumferentially of carrier plate assembly 452 and longitudinally thereof. As the circumferential interconnections pass from one flat side surface of carrier plate assembly 452 to another, they are in a sense curved about carrier plate assembly 452. These circumferential interconnections in combination with interconnections longitudinal of carrier plate assembly 452 offer three dimensions in which to effect electrical interconnections among the circuit components housed therewithin. In the instance of circuit component assembly 450, however, no substrate, flexible or otherwise, is required to be disposed on or opposing the exterior of carrier plate assembly 452. Circuit component assembly 450, is therefore, exemplary of a highly advantageous form of the present invention.

Figs. 29 and 30 are included primarily to illustrate forms of electrical shielding useful according to the teachings of the present invention to prevent field-induced interference with the correct operation of electrical circuit component in an inventive electrical circuit component assembly. Fig. 29 is an illustrative cross section through a single carrier package 470 in which is embedded an electrical circuit component 472. About the periphery of carrier package 470 is disposed a substrate 474 for bearing routing traces to interconnect electrical circuit component 472 with electrical circuit components in other carrier packages of a carrier package assembly. Interposed between substrate 474 and the sides of carrier package 470 is an electrical shield 476 made of a conductive material. Electrical shield 476 has the effect of field isolating signals on substrate 474 from signals within carrier package 470.

Another form of electrical shielding can be observed in relation to the vias 478 that pass between the parallel faces 479 of carrier package 470 to carry signals or power longitudinally through successive of carrier packages 470. Vias 478 thus function in a manner similar to rods 106 shown in Fig. 6. Nevertheless, housed within vias 478 is a central conductive core 480 having on one end thereof a pin 482 and on the other end thereof a receptacle 484 for receiving a similar pin from a carrier package stacked adjacent to carrier package 470. Conductive core 480 is encircled by an insulative layer 486 and then an electrical shield layer 488 which contacts similar electrical shield layers in carrier packages adjacent to carrier package 470. The structures housed in vias 478 thus serve as a coaxial conductor for signals. Such signal will be field isolated from the circuit components, such as electrical circuit component 472, housed in carrier package 470.

Fig. 30 depicts a circuit component assembly 490 mounted on a connector block 492 similar to connector block 16 shown in Fig. 1. Through the breakaway portions of Fig. 30, circuit component assembly 490 can be seen to be made up of a plurality of disk-shaped carrier packages 494 having at the peripheries thereof electrical contacts 496. The stack of carrier packages 494 is encircled by a tightly fitting substrate 497 for interconnecting electrical contacts 496 in a circumferential and longitudinal direction. To shield all of the electrical circuitry of circuit component assembly 490 from fields exterior thereto, as well as to retain in circuit component assembly 490 all fields generated by the electrical circuitry therein, the entire exterior surface of assembly 490 is covered with a conductive layer 498, which may advantageously and efficiently be formed by dipping the assembly in molten solder. Building on the principles disclosed thus far, the present invention includes a system for assembling large numbers of circuit component in an extended array in close physical and electrical proximity one to the other. As a general proposition, this involves various methods and structures for interconnecting pluralities of circuit component assemblies, such as those already disclosed above. According to the teachings of the present invention, coupling means are provided for electrically connecting electrical components in a first circuit component carrier assembly with electrical components in a second electrical component assembly.

As shown in Fig. 31 by way of example and not limitation, a compound circuit component assembly 500 is depicted in a partially disassembled state. Compound circuit component assembly 500 include a prismatic, tubular circuit -component assembly 502 made up of a plurality of annular carrier packages 504. Longitudinally formed through the center of tubular circuit component assembly 502 is a recess 506. Both the exterior and interior side surfaces of annular carrier packages 504 are provided with electrical contacts coupled to the circuit component housed therein. An electrically insulative substrate 508 partially wraps the exterior surface of tubular circuit component assembly 502 for interconnecting the electrical circuit components within tubular circuit component assembly 502 circumferentially and longitudinally.

A core circuit component assembly 510 made up of a central support structure 512 and an encircling substrate 514 is tightly fitted into recess 506. The exterior _of substrate 514 is provided with electrical contacts which correspond in pattern to that of electrical contacts in recess 506 on the inner walls of tubular circuit -component assembly 502. In this manner, the electrical circuit components in core circuit component assembly 510 become interconnected with those in tubular circuit component assembly 502, forming an extended three dimensional matrix of electrical circuit components constructed radiating outwardly from core circuit component assembly 5^0. As required, compound circuit component assembly 500. is provided with a connector block 516 and a cap 518 by which compound circuit component assembly 500 can be interconnected with other electrical circuit components exterior thereto.

Core circuit component assembly 510 may be entered into recess 506 in tubular circuit component assembly 502 either by constructing tubular circuit component assembly 502 about core circuit component assembly 510 in a manner to be disclosed hereinafter, by expansion fitting. In this process, core circuit component assembly 510 is reduced in size by cooling, inserted into recess 506, and then allowed to warm and expand into contact with the inner sides of tubular circuit component assembly 502. Alternatively, tubular circuit component assembly 502 can be heated, causing expansion of recess 506, whereupon core circuit component assembly 510 is inserted thereinto. Once tubular circuit component assembly 502 cools to the same temperature as core circuit component assembly 510, the exterior of core circuit component assembly 510 and the interior of recess 506 will be tightly fitted one to the other. The process of adding circuit component assemblies to the exterior of a core circuit component assembly to form a compound circuit component assembly can be continued radially outward, either using this technique, or by simply nesting successive outer layers of circuit component assemblies against the sides of those interior thereto. For convenience, however, only two layers of such an aggregation are shown in Fig. 31 or the figures hereafter. Nevertheless, this is for convenience only, as the principles disclosed herein, even as repeatedly applied are considered to be within the scope of the present invention.

Fig. 32 gives further insight into the structural variability of a compound circuit component assembly constructed according to teachings of the present invention. Shown in Fig. 32 is a disassembled compound " circuit component assembly 520 which is comprised of a core circuit component assembly 522 and a tubular circuit component assembly 524 which is itself made up of a plurality of subassemblies 526, 528, 530, 532. In this instance, core circuit component assembly 522 is cylindrical, but any shape therefore with a correspondingly shaped tubular circuit component assembly exterior thereto will function adequately and is within the scope of the present invention. Wrapping core circuit component assembly 522 is a flexible substrate 534 which provides electrical interconnections among the circuit components housed in core circuit component assembly 522. In addition, contacts on the exterior of flexible substrate 534 enable electrical interconnections to be made between the two radial layers of compound circuit component assembly 520. Alternatively, however, flexible substrate 534 may be omitted, provided that the exterior of core circuit component assembly 522 is provided directly on the surface thereof with conductive routing traces, such as conductive routing traces 460 shown and printed directly upon the surface of carrier plate assembly 452 in Fig. 28.

Subassemblies 526, 528, 530, and 532 are interconnected one with each other to form tubular circuit component assembly 524 by any suitable method of electrical and mechanical interconnection. Shown by way of illustration in Fig. 32 are sets of cooperating pins 536 and apertures 538 located on the faces 539 of subassemblies 526, 528, 530, 532 that engage each other. While four such subassemblies are shown for illustrative purposes, two, three, or more than four subassemblies may be entirely appropriate, depending upon the diameter of the tubular assembly to be created. The exterior of tubular circuit component assembly 524 is shown as being encircled by a single second substrate 540.

Fig. 33 illustrates compound circuit component assembly 540 also instructed using these same principles, but consisting of a core circuit component assembly 542 having a rectangular or square cross section and being wrapped by a first substrate 544. Nesting against the exterior of first substrate 544 are a pair of subassemblies 546, 548 having L-shaped cross-sections. Subassemblies 546, 548 are each individually wrapped by second substrates 550, 552, respectively. Subassemblies 546, 548 are joined to each other at the mating surfaces thereof by cooperating sets of pins 554 and apertures 556, although alternate methods of interconnecting the subassemblies would be workable. Together, subassemblies 546 and 548 function as a tubular circuit component assembly. Both need not be used together, however. Rather, each may be used individually on a single side of core circuit component assembly 542 depending on the demands of the device to be configured.

The nature of the carrier packages in core circuit component assembly 542 will be explored in some detail by reference to Figs. 34, 35, 35.1, 35.2, and 35.3. Basically, core circuit component assembly 542 is made up of a highly densified arrangement of electronic circuit components in semiconductor integrated chip form exclusively. Seen in Figure 34 is a portion B of the surface of core circuit component assembly 542 contacted by first substrate 544. Individual semiconductor integrated chips 560 with solder pads 562 at the peripheries thereof are coated or overlain by a protective membrane 564 and then interspersed alternately with congruent spacer plates 566. Core circuit component assembly 542 is thus quite small in its lateral dimensions. As seen in Fig. 35, solder pads 562 are connected by wiring traces 568 imprinted upon semiconductor integrated chip 560 to electric circuitry 570 fabricated at the center thereof. Solder pads 562 at the peripheral surfaces of core circuit component assembly 542 function as electrical contacts to permit electrical circuitry 570 to be interconnected circumferentially and longitudinally when core circuit component assembly 542. Solder pads 562 are extremely close together, and accordingly one function of spacer plates 566 is to provide longitudinal separation between solder pads 562 on successive levels of core circuit component assembly 542, thereby to ease the process of making the required electrical interconnections therewith. Where maximum circuit component density is desired, spacer plates 566 are eliminated entirely.

The properties and dimensions of spacer plates 566 can vary according to the operational constraints of the device in which they are used. Spacer plates 566 can be fabricated as thermal insulators or, by being made of a yielding material, can absorb mechanical shock to protect semiconductor integrated chips 560.

Figures 35.1, 35.2 and 35.3 illustrate that formed longitudinally through core circuit component assembly 542 and each of the constituent components therein are a pair of vias 572 which can be filled by an electrical conductor for transmitting signals and power longitudinally through core circuit component assembly 542. To ease assembly, each semiconductor integrated chip 560 can optionally be adhered to an adjacent spacer block 566 and protective membrane 564.

Sandwiching semiconductor integrated chips between insulators of this type is highly advantageous. Delicate cireuit components and the leads therefor are protected from damage but are in addition rendered connectable to one another in a simple manner. Standardization of the size of the circuit components or semiconductor chips result in the positioning of the contacts at the periphery of the semiconductor chip in a uniform matrix to facilitate electrical interconnection with adjacent semiconductor chips in the resultant stack. The interconnection of solder pads 562 through a flexible circuit board or by directly imprinting conductive leads on the outer surface of the resultant stack produces an assembly in which numerous circuit components can be densely located in close three-dimensional spatial and electrical proximity.

To accomplish this, the method of the present invention requires only that the circuit components involved have sides and normal thereto opposed parallel faces. Advantageously the faces of each semiconductor integrated chip are congruent with each other and to the faces of others of the chips. The chips are assembled adjacent one to another with faces in mating engagement separated by electronic insulating sheets to form a prismatic, so-called chip assembly, that itself has parallel ends, sides normal thereto, and a cross-section that is substantially congruent to the faces of the chips. The inventive concept disclosed herein includes even chip assemblies that are non-prismatic, but which incorporate other teachings disclosed herein pertaining to the invention.

The interconnection of circuit components is accomplished using contacts on the sides of each of the chips that are electrically coupled to the circuit components in cooperation with an encircling circuit board having contact sites in a pattern corresponding to that of the contacts on the chips. Selective of the contact sites are connected with routing traces, and the flexible circuit board is installed about the chip assembly against the sides thereof with the contact sites engaging the contacts on the chips.

The chip assembly of circuit components may be provided on one end thereof with a connector block that supports the carrier package assembly and interconnects the electrical components thereof with circuitry exterior to the carrier package assembly. Several such carrier package assemblies, supported by connector blocks, can be installed adjacent on to another in the same electronic device. Connector flanges may also be provided on the sides thereof for the chip assembly to both connect to adjacent connector flanges of other chip assemblies or other electronic devices and also act a cooling fins or heat sinks for the chip assemblies attached. Such connector flanges may also serve a support for connections of the chip assembly in two of three dimensional networks of assemblies and or electronic components.

Shown in Fig. 37 is an alternate arrangement of a system for assembling a plurality of circuit components in close physical and electrical proximity. A plurality of four circuit component assemblies 580 each wrapped by suitable substrate 582 have been placed in contact in a two-by-two matrix. The contacting surfaces between circuit component assemblies 580 may be provided with mating electrical contacts. In this manner, placing circuit component assemblies 580 in direct contact with each other will result in electrical interconnection of the various electrical circuit components housed in each. Alternatively or in addition thereto, electrical contacts 584 can be provided on the side surfaces of circuit component assemblies 580 that are exterior to the two-by-two matrix, and then these can be interconnected by an exterior substrate 586. The ends of circuit component assemblies 580 normal to exterior substrate 586 are shown as being provided with pins 588 and apertures 590 for interconnecting the assemblies shown in Fig. 37 with other electrical circuit components. Naturally, other methods of interconnection are also workable. Shown in Fig. 38 is yet another method for interconnecting a pair of circuit component assemblies. In this instance, two rectangular circuit component assemblies 596 which are encircled by substrates 598 are provided with elongated pins 600 projecting from the side of each. Pins 600 pass through substrates 598 and are coupled with electrical circuit components housed in circuit component assemblies 596. Correspondingly, each of circuit component assemblies 596 includes receiving aperture 602 into which pins 600 are inserted as circuit component assemblies 596 are installed in contact adjacent one to another. Receiving apertures 602 are electrically coupled to the circuit component within circuit component assemblies 596 to complete the interconnection.

Shown in Fig. 39 is yet another system for interconnecting plural circuit component assemblies. There, a planar connector plate 610 includes a first set of patterned conductive pins 612 projecting from first edge 614 thereof and a second set of conductive pins 616 projecting from a second edge 618 of planar connector plate opposite from first edge 614. Connector plate 610, which may function as a cooling fin to stabilize the temperature of component assemblies with which it is used, is primarily intended to electrically interconnect first circuit component assembly 620 and second circuit component assembly 622. This is accomplished by providing each assembly with patterned receiving apertures, such as receiving apertures 624 shown on first circuit component assembly 620, into which pins 612 are inserted. Correspondingly, pins 616 are inserted into apertures (not shown) in second circuit component assembly 622.

Naturally, the position of pins 612, 616, and receiving aperture 624 could be reversed relative to connector plate 610 and circuit component assemblies 620, 622 to achieve the same result.

The system of Fig. 40 illustrates how the principles shown in Fig. 39 can be utilized to build complex systems of large numbers of circuit component assemblies. There, a system 630 is made up of four circuit component assemblies 632 spaced apart from one another in a two-by- two -matrix. Each circuit component assembly 632 is electrically and mechanically interconnected with two others by a connector plate 634, like connector plate 610 shown in Fig. 39. By providing each circuit component assembly 632 with additional arrays of aperture, such as receiving aperture 624 in Fig. 39, other circuit component assemblies can be interconnected therewith in a spoke-like fashion.

Fig. 41 illustrates an additional method for interconnecting electrical circuit components housed in two distinct circuit component assemblies 638, 640. Circuit component assembly 638 is shown in some detail as including an exterior circuit board substrate 642 with electrical contacts 644 thereon selectively interconnected by routing traces 646. A first connector plate 648 mechanically secured to circuit component assembly 638 is electrically interconnected to routing traces 646 and contact 644 through bracket connectors 648 that bridge between the surface of first connector plate 648 and substrate 642. Although not shown, circuit component assembly 640 is mechanically and electrically interconnected with a second connector plate 652 in a similar manner. In turn connector plates 648, 652 are coupled electrically and mechanically with each other using cooperating apertures and pins 654. Fig. 42 illustrates a system for providing end-to-end connection between plural circuit component assemblies. There, each of two circuit component assemblies 660 are provided on opposite ends thereof with a cap 662 and a connector block 664 which are each electrically coupled to a respective circuit component assembly and provided with complimentary, cooperating means of effecting electrical and mechanical interconnection. As shown by way of example, cap 662 includes a patterned set of apertures 666 which are designed to receive a similarly patterned set of pins 668 located on connector blocks 664.

Fig. 43 depicts a system 680 in which a plurality of circuit component assemblies 682 have been interconnected electrically and mechanically in a lateral direction by connector plates 684 and in a longitudinal direction by pairs of caps 686 and connector blocks 688. Circuit component assemblies 682 may comprise either single core support structures surrounded by one or another forms of the tying means of the present invention, or a compound circuit component assembly of the radially layered variety illustrated in Figs. 31-33. Utilizing all of the teachings disclosed herein, a vast number of circuit components can be assembled in close physical and electrical proximity, thereby to achieve the above-stated objects of the present invention.

The inventive circuit assembly enables the densified arrangement of a plurality of circuit components in close spatial disposition and three-dimensional electrical interconnection. The circuit components and the leads associated therewith are securely protected within each of the component carriers packages utilized in the assembly. The impact of such carrier packages with others involves no risk of dislodging leads or damaging the circuit component housed therein. The carrier packages may be thus stacked directly upon one another, eliminating the need for auxiliary support structures and effecting utilizing all of the space between each level of circuit components.

The circuit boards of the present invention, whether rigid and tubular or flexible throughout or at longitudinal regions between otherwise rigid sections, provides dramatic advantages. Less circuit board space is required to interconnect a given number of circuit components than would be the case using a traditional, rigid planar circuit board. The fact that the circuit board of the present invention completely encircles the circuit components with which it is used without a break reduces circumferentially oriented printed writing on the circuit board by up to fifty percent. Routing traces can travel the shorter of two circumferential paths about the carrier packages involved to connect any two points thereon. Thus, the longest circumferential distance to be traveled by a conductive routing trace is limited to a maximum one half of the dimension in the circumferential direction of the circuit board utilized.

A printed circuit board of cylindrical or other prismatic shape closely approaches a three-dimensional circuit board in cylindrical coordinate form. Conductive routing traces that extend axially of the carrier package assembly can interconnect different layers of the assembly, while conductive routing traces that run circumferentially about the carrier package assembly can interconnect circumferentially disposed contact points contained in planes that are normal to longitudinal axis of the carrier package assembly.

Additionally, while the placement of circuit components, such as integrated circuit semiconductor chips, on traditional printed circuit boards is a difficult and tedious task, in the inventive circuit component assembly, the uniform spacing of the contact sites on the flexible printed circuit board employed and the embedment in the component carrier packages of the leads for connecting the electrical circuit components, render it possible to effect all electrical interconnections between a plurality of circuit components and the circuit board of the present invention in a single wrapping action. This is far superior to prior methods of interconnecting electrical components using circuit boards. The uniformity of the spacing of contact sites on the circuit board of the present invention, while not required, also facilitates the manufacture of the circuit board itself.

A number of methods may be utilized to aggregate individual circuit component assemblies into complex and extensive systems for assembling pluralities of circuit components in close physical and electrical proximity. These methods include the formation of a compound circuit component assembly by nesting two or more circuit component assemblies directly against or even surrounding one another. Modular interconnection is available between circuit component assemblies in an end-to-end relationship through the use of cooperating caps and connector plates associated with each. Side-to-side connection can be effected by direct contact, through the use of connector plates, and by employing additional flexible circuit boards wrapped about an assembly of electrical circuit component assemblies.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope. What is claimed is:

Citas de patentes
Patente citada Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
FR2205803A1 * Título no disponible
US4833568 *29 Ene 198823 May 1989Berhold G MarkThree-dimensional circuit component assembly and method corresponding thereto
Otras citas
Referencia
1 *See also references of WO9015478A2
Clasificaciones
Clasificación internacionalH05K1/18, H05K1/02, H01L25/18, H05K1/14, H05K3/34, H01R12/04, H05K7/02, H01L25/11, H01L25/10
Clasificación cooperativaH05K1/189, H05K2201/09418, H05K2201/10515, H05K7/023, H05K2201/09018, H05K3/3447, H05K1/144, H05K2201/046
Clasificación europeaH05K1/18F, H05K7/02B
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