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Ceramics Used in Electronic Applications

Key Takeaways

  • Ceramics, such as aluminum oxide, are crucial in multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) and resistors, providing insulation and dissipating energy as heat.

  • Ceramics, such as aluminum oxide, are crucial in multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) and resistors, providing insulation and dissipating energy as heat.

  • Ceramic substrates and packaging, including materials like aluminum oxide and beryllium oxide, offer low dielectric loss, high thermal conductivity, and chemical stability.

Ceramics used in electronics

Ceramics used in electronics range from passive components to IC packaging solutions and more.

Ceramics used in electronics are everywhere. For instance, ferroelectrics are used to create high-dielectric capacitors and non-volatile memory devices. Ferrites play a crucial role in storing data and information. Solid electrolytes are instrumental in the storage and conversion of energy. Piezoelectrics are essential for sonar technology, while semiconducting oxides have been pivotal in monitoring environmental conditions.

Let’s explore some common ways ceramics are used in electronics.

Ceramics Used in Electronics


Ceramic Examples


Why Used

Passive Components

Aluminium oxide (Al2O3)

MLCCs, resistors

Al2O3 is used in MLCCs for its low electrical conductivity to insulate different electrode layers, and in resistors for its ability to dissipate energy as heat.

Piezo- Electrics

Lead zirconate titanate (PZT), Barium titanate (BaTiO3)

Piezoelectric devices

PZT and BaTiO3 are favored for their high piezoelectric coefficients and mechanical properties, ideal for converting mechanical stress into electrical signals and vice versa.


Various ceramics

Spark plugs, hermetic packaging, coil bobbins, electronic tube holders

Provide high insulation resistivity, low dielectric loss, and optimal dielectric properties across temperatures and frequencies, essential for ensuring electrical insulation.

ICs and Semiconductors

Al2O3, AlN, BeO

Substrates and packaging, crucibles for silicon ingots, wafer carriers

Low dielectric constant and loss, high thermal conductivity, and chemical stability, crucial for the performance and reliability of IC substrates and semiconductor manufacturing.


Ferrite-based magnets, ITO, SLT, SYT

Permanent magnets, thin-film transistors

Electronic conductive properties in creating efficient magnetic and electronic components, including low- and high-temperature co-fired ceramics and thin-film transistors for various electronic devices.

Ceramic PCBs


High-frequency electronics, LED lighting, power electronics

Ceramics provide low signal loss and high dielectric constants beneficial for RF and microwave circuits, efficient heat dissipation for LED modules, and thermal stability for power electronics.



Display panels, flexible devices, protective seals

Glass is utilized for its versatility in manufacturing display panels and flexible devices, and for providing protective seals against environmental factors,.

Ceramics Used in Passive Components

Ceramics are used in multiple ways for passive SMD components:

  • Aluminum oxide, known for its low electrical conductivity, is essential in multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) to insulate different electrode layers and in resistors for energy dissipation as heat.  These capacitors work by using a ceramic dielectric to store electrical charges between metal layers.
  • Ceramics are used in thermistors, inductors (where magnetically permeable ceramics generate magnetic fields), and circuit protection devices (using semiconducting ceramics to shield against voltage spikes).

Ceramics Used in Electronics — Piezo-Electrics

Ferroelectric ceramics, often synonymous with piezoelectric ceramics due to their piezoelectric properties, are primarily employed in the creation of piezoelectric devices, showcasing the significant application of these materials. Lead zirconate titanate (PZT) and barium titanate (BaTiO3) are favored in production for their high piezoelectric coefficients and mechanical properties. 


Ceramic products are widely used in consumer electronics:

  • As insulators in various applications, including spark plugs, hermetic packaging, ceramic arc tubes, and protective elements like beads and tubing for bare wires and power lines. 
  • As coil bobbins, electronic tube holders, band switches, and support brackets.

These electronic ceramics must meet several critical criteria: 

  1. A low dielectric constant 
  2. Low dielectric loss
  3. High insulation resistivity
  4. High breakdown strength
  5. Optimal dielectric properties across different temperatures and frequencies. 
  6. Superior mechanical strength and chemical stability to perform effectively in their roles as insulators.

Ceramics Used in ICs and Semiconductors

IC Substrates

Ceramic substrates are thin and flat-fired materials that can be used in ICs. Three ceramic substrate materials are common:

  • Aluminum oxide (Al2O3)
  • Aluminum nitride (AlN)
  • Beryllium oxide (BeO)

Ceramic substrates have the advantage of a low dielectric constant and dielectric loss, high thermal conductivity, and good chemical stability.

IC Packaging

Integrated circuits, consisting of interconnected components on silicon chips, can use packages for electrical insulation and hermetic support. 

Semiconductor Manufacturing

Fused silica is the the primary ceramic in the semiconductor sector. It is used in:

  1. Crucibles for silicon ingots
  2. Reactors for epitaxial silicon deposition
  3. Wafer carriers
  4. Single-wafer processing tools
  5. Wet etch tanks

Alumina, known for its electrical and thermal insulation properties, is also heavily utilized in semiconductor wafer processing equipment. 


Electroceramics extend beyond the commonly known types to include ferrite-based permanent magnets and circuit devices designed for high-reliability applications, such as low- and high-temperature co-fired ceramics and ceramic electronic substrates. Additionally, electronically conductive ceramics like indium tin oxide (ITO), lanthanum-doped strontium titanate (SLT), and yttrium-doped strontium titanate (SYT) are used in thin-film transistors.

Ceramic PCBs

Ceramics, known for their poor electrical conductivity, are excellent insulators that prevent the free flow of electrical current. Ceramic Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) utilize ceramics as their substrate material. Applications include:

  • High-frequency electronics like RF devices, microwave circuits, and radar systems, where ceramic PCBs' low signal loss and high dielectric constants are advantageous. 
  • In LED lighting, ceramic PCBs underpin LED modules, enhancing heat dissipation to prolong LED lifespan and performance. 
  • In power electronics, ceramic PCBs manage high temperatures and ensure thermal stability, crucial for efficient heat dissipation.

Glass Ceramics Used in Electronics

Glass also falls under the category of ceramics. 

  • It is used for manufacturing display panels for televisions, computers, and mobile devices.
  • Glass powder is incorporated into thick film paste for the metallization of electronic components.
  • Glass seals are employed in applications to safeguard electronic devices from environmental factors. 
  • The production of flexible glass is advancing, aimed at the development of flexible devices like organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

As we’ve discovered, there are many different ceramics used in electronics. If you are using ceramics in your packaging designs, explore packaging solutions with Allegro X Advanced Package Designer. Unlock the full potential of your electronic packaging today!

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