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Title:
SOLID ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITOR FOR USE AT HIGH TEMPERATURES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/113047
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A capacitor that comprises a capacitor element that includes an anode that contains a dielectric formed on a sintered porous body, a solid electrolyte overlying the anode that contains manganese dioxide, and a cathode coating is provided. The cathode coating includes a barrier layer overlying the solid electrolyte and a metallization layer overlying the barrier layer. The barrier layer contains a valve metal and the metallization layer contains a metal that exhibits an electrical resistivity of about 150 nΩ. or less (at a temperature of 20°C) and an electric potential of about -0.5 V or more.

Inventors:
BILER, Martin (One AVX BoulevardFountain Inn, South Carolina, 29644, US)
PETRZILEK, Jan (One AVX BoulevardFountain Inn, South Carolina, 29644, US)
Application Number:
US2018/063819
Publication Date:
June 13, 2019
Filing Date:
December 04, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
AVX CORPORATION (One AVX Boulevard, Fountain Inn, South Carolina, 29644, US)
International Classes:
H01G9/042; H01G9/08; H01G9/15
Foreign References:
US20160225532A12016-08-04
JP2006352172A2006-12-28
US20150287538A12015-10-08
JP2006261360A2006-09-28
JP2007227465A2007-09-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOHNSTON, Jason, W. (DORITY & MANNING, P.A.P O BOX 144, Greenville South Carolina, 29602-1449, US)
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A capacitor comprising a capacitor element that includes:

an anode that contains a dielectric formed on a sintered porous body;

a solid electrolyte overlying the anode that contains manganese dioxide; and

a cathode coating that includes:

a barrier layer overlying the solid electrolyte, wherein the barrier layer contains a valve metal; and

a metallization layer overlying the barrier layer, wherein the metallization layer contains a metal that exhibits an electrical resistivity of about 150 hW-m or less (at a temperature of 20°C) and an electric potential of about -0.5 V or more.

2. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the metallization layer includes gold, nickel, silver, tin, copper, platinum, iridium, palladium, or an alloy thereof.

3. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the metallization layer has a thickness of from about 0.1 to about 10 micrometers.

4. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the metallization layer is formed from a single layer.

5. The capacitor of claim 4, wherein the single layer includes nickel or an alloy thereof.

6. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the metallization layer contains a first sublayer that overlies the barrier layer and a second sublayer that overlies the first sublayer.

7. The capacitor of claim 6, wherein the second sublayer contains a noble metal.

8. The capacitor of claim 7, wherein the noble metal is gold or an alloy thereof.

9. The capacitor of claim 6, wherein the first sublayer contains nickel or an alloy thereof.

10. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the valve metal of the barrier layer includes tungsten, titanium, tantalum, vanadium, zinc, aluminum, molybdenum, hafnium, and zirconium, or an alloy thereof.

11. The capacitor of claim 10, wherein the valve metal of the barrier layer includes an alloy of tungsten.

12. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the capacitor element has a carbon content of about 2,000 ppm or less.

13. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the cathode coating has a carbon content of about 2,000 ppm or less.

14. The capacitor of claim 1 , further comprising:

an anode termination in electrical contact with the anode; and

a cathode termination in electrical contact with the cathode coating.

15. The capacitor of claim 14, wherein a conductive adhesive electrically connects the cathode termination toPP the cathode coating.

16. The capacitor of claim 15, wherein the conductive adhesive includes sinterable metal particles.

17. The capacitor of claim 16, wherein the metal particles include silver.

18. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the anode body includes tantalum.

19. The capacitor of claim 1 , wherein the capacitor exhibits a capacitance of about 30 nanoFarads per square centimeter or more, an equivalence series resistance of about 500 mohms or less, and/or a dissipation factor of from about 1 % to about 25%.

20. The capacitor of claim 19, wherein the capacitor exhibits a capacitance of about 30 nanoFarads per square centimeter or more, an equivalence series resistance of about 500 mohms or less, and/or a dissipation factor of from about

1 % to about 25%, after being exposed to a temperature of 250°C for about 500 hours.

21. The capacitor of claim 1 , further comprising a housing within which the capacitor element is enclosed.

22. The capacitor of claim 21 , wherein the housing is formed from a resinous material that encapsulates the capacitor element.

23. The capacitor of claim 21 , wherein the housing defines an interior cavity within which the capacitor element is positioned, wherein the interior cavity has a gaseous atmosphere.

24. The capacitor of claim 23, wherein the gaseous atmosphere contains an inert gas.

Description:
SOLID ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITOR FOR USE AT HIGH TEMPERATURES Cross Reference to Related Applications

The present application claims filing benefit of United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/594,609 having a filing date of December 5, 2017 and United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/619,159 having a filing dated of January 19, 2018, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

Background of the Invention

Solid electrolytic capacitors (e.g., tantalum capacitors) are typically made by pressing a metal powder (e.g., tantalum) around a metal lead wire, sintering the pressed part, anodizing the sintered anode, and thereafter applying a solid electrolyte (e.g., manganese dioxide) and a cathode coating that contains a carbon layer and silver resin layer. One problem associated with many conventional solid electrolytic capacitors, however, is that they are relatively sensitive to high temperatures. For example, at temperatures of 250°C or higher, it is believed that contaminant gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc.) can be generated from the carbon-based binders used in the cathode coating, which are believed to have an adverse impact on electrical performance. As such, a need currently exists for a capacitor that has improved performance at high temperatures.

Summary of the Invention

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a capacitor is disclosed that comprises a capacitor element that includes an anode that contains a dielectric formed on a sintered porous body, a solid electrolyte overlying the anode that contains manganese dioxide, and a cathode coating. The cathode coating includes a barrier layer overlying the solid electrolyte and a metallization layer overlying the barrier layer. The barrier layer contains a valve metal and the metallization layer contains a metal that exhibits an electrical resistivity of about 150 hW-m or less (at a temperature of 20°C) and an electric potential of about -0.5 V or more.

Other features and aspects of the present invention are set forth in greater detail below. Brief Description of the Drawings

A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth more particularly in the remainder of the specification, which makes reference to the appended figures in which:

Fig. 1 is a cross-sectional view of one embodiment of a capacitor of the present invention;

Fig. 2 is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of a capacitor of the present invention;

Fig. 3 is a cross-sectional view of yet another embodiment of a capacitor of the present invention; and

Fig. 4 is a top view of still another embodiment of a capacitor of the present invention.

Repeat use of references characters in the present specification and drawings is intended to represent same or analogous features or elements of the invention.

Detailed Description of Representative Embodiments

It is to be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the present discussion is a description of exemplary embodiments only, and is not intended as limiting the broader aspects of the present invention, which broader aspects are embodied in the exemplary construction.

Generally speaking, the present invention is directed to a solid electrolytic capacitor containing a capacitor element that includes an anode, solid electrolyte overlying the anode, and cathode coating overlying the solid electrolyte. The overall carbon content of the capacitor element may be relatively low, such as about 2,000 parts per million (“ppm”) or less, in some embodiments about 1 ,000 ppm or less, and in some embodiments, from 0 to about 500 ppm. To help achieve such a low carbon content, a variety of different aspects of the capacitor element may be selectively controlled. For example, the solid electrolyte and cathode coating may be formed from inorganic materials. In one embodiment, for instance, the solid electrolyte contains manganese dioxide and the cathode coating contains one or more metal layers. For example, the cathode coating may contain a barrier layer that overlies the solid electrolyte and a metallization that overlies the barrier layer. The overall carbon content of the barrier layer and the metallization layer, as well as the entire cathode coating, may be relatively low, such as about 2,000 parts per million (“ppm”) or less, in some embodiments about 1 ,000 ppm or less, and in some embodiments, from 0 to about 500 ppm.

By selectively controlling the nature of the solid electrolyte and cathode coating, the present inventors have discovered that the resulting capacitor may exhibit excellent electrical properties even when exposed to high temperatures.

For example, the capacitor may be placed into contact with an atmosphere having a temperature of from about 150°C or more, in some embodiments about 200°C or more, and in some embodiments, from about 220°C to about 350°C (e.g., 250°C). Even at such high temperatures, the capacitance may be about 30 nanoFarads per square centimeter (“nF/cm 2 ”) or more, in some embodiments about 100 nF/cm 2 or more, and in some embodiments, from about 200 to about 30,000 nF/cm 2 , determined at a frequency of 120 Flz. The capacitor may also exhibit a relatively low equivalence series resistance (“ESR”), such as about 500 mohms or less, in some embodiments less than about 250 mohms, and in some

embodiments, from about 0.1 to about 200 mohms, determined at a frequency of 100 kHz. The dissipation factor of the capacitor may also be maintained at relatively low levels. The dissipation factor generally refers to losses that occur in the capacitor and is usually expressed as a percentage of the ideal capacitor performance. For example, the dissipation factor of the capacitor of the present invention is typically from about 1 % to about 25%, in some embodiments from about 3% to about 10%, and in some embodiments, from about 5% to about 15%, as determined at a frequency of 120 Hz. Notably, these values (e.g., capacitance, ESR, and dissipation factor) can also remain stable at such temperatures for a substantial period of time, such as for about 100 hours or more, in some

embodiments from about 300 hours to about 3000 hours, and in some

embodiments, from about 400 hours to about 2500 hours (e.g., about 500 hours).

In one embodiment, for example, the ratio of the capacitance value of the capacitor after being exposed to the hot atmosphere (e.g., 230°C) for about 500 hours to the respective capacitance value of the capacitor when initially exposed to the hot atmosphere may be from about 0.7 to 1.0, in some embodiments from about 0.75 to 1.0, and in some embodiments, from about 0.80 to 1.0. Various embodiments of the capacitor will now be described in more detail.

I. Capacitor Element

A. Anode Body

The capacitor element includes an anode that contains a dielectric formed on a sintered porous body. The porous anode body may be formed from a powder that contains a valve metal (i.e., metal that is capable of oxidation) or valve metal- based compound, such as tantalum, niobium, aluminum, hafnium, titanium, alloys thereof, oxides thereof, nitrides thereof, and so forth. The powder is typically formed from a reduction process in which a tantalum salt (e.g., potassium fluotantalate (foTaFz), sodium fluotantalate (Na2TaF7), tantalum pentachloride (TaCIs), etc.) is reacted with a reducing agent. The reducing agent may be provided in the form of a liquid, gas (e.g., hydrogen), or solid, such as a metal (e.g., sodium), metal alloy, or metal salt. In one embodiment, for instance, a tantalum salt (e.g., TaCIs) may be heated at a temperature of from about 900°C to about 2,000°C, in some embodiments from about 1 ,000°C to about 1 ,800°C, and in some embodiments, from about 1 , 100°C to about 1 ,600°C, to form a vapor that can be reduced in the presence of a gaseous reducing agent (e.g., hydrogen). Additional details of such a reduction reaction may be described in WO

2014/199480 to Maeshima et al. After the reduction, the product may be cooled, crushed, and washed to form a powder.

The specific charge of the powder typically varies from about 2,000 to about 800,000 microFarads*Volts per gram (“pF*V/g”) depending on the desired application. For instance, in certain embodiments, a high charge powder may be employed that has a specific charge of from about 100,000 to about 800,000 pF*V/g, in some embodiments from about 120,000 to about 700,000 pF*V/g, and in some embodiments, from about 150,000 to about 600,000 pF*V/g. In other embodiments, a low charge powder may be employed that has a specific charge of from about 2,000 to about 100,000 pF*V/g, in some embodiments from about 5,000 to about 80,000 pF*V/g, and in some embodiments, from about 10,000 to about 70,000 pF*V/g. As is known in the art, the specific charge may be

determined by multiplying capacitance by the anodizing voltage employed, and then dividing this product by the weight of the anodized electrode body. The powder may be a free-flowing, finely divided powder that contains primary particles. The primary particles of the powder generally have a median size (D50) of from about 5 to about 500 nanometers, in some embodiments from about 10 to about 400 nanometers, and in some embodiments, from about 20 to about 250 nanometers, such as determined using a laser particle size distribution analyzer made by BECKMAN COULTER Corporation (e.g., LS-230), optionally after subjecting the particles to an ultrasonic wave vibration of 70 seconds. The primary particles typically have a three-dimensional granular shape (e.g., nodular or angular). Such particles typically have a relatively low“aspect ratio”, which is the average diameter or width of the particles divided by the average thickness (“D/T”). For example, the aspect ratio of the particles may be about 4 or less, in some embodiments about 3 or less, and in some embodiments, from about 1 to about 2. In addition to primary particles, the powder may also contain other types of particles, such as secondary particles formed by aggregating (or agglomerating) the primary particles. Such secondary particles may have a median size (D50) of from about 1 to about 500 micrometers, and in some embodiments, from about 10 to about 250 micrometers.

Agglomeration of the particles may occur by heating the particles and/or through the use of a binder. For example, agglomeration may occur at a

temperature of from about 0°C to about 40°C, in some embodiments from about 5°C to about 35°C, and in some embodiments, from about 15°C to about 30°C. Suitable binders may likewise include, for instance, poly(vinyl butyral); poly(vinyl acetate); poly(vinyl alcohol); poly(vinyl pyrollidone); cellulosic polymers, such as carboxymethylcellulose, methyl cellulose, ethyl cellulose, hydroxyethyl cellulose, and methylhydroxyethyl cellulose; atactic polypropylene, polyethylene;

polyethylene glycol (e.g., Carbowax from Dow Chemical Co.); polystyrene, poly(butadiene/styrene); polyamides, polyimides, and polyacrylamides, high molecular weight polyethers; copolymers of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide; fluoropolymers, such as polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, and fluoro- olefin copolymers; acrylic polymers, such as sodium polyacrylate, poly(lower alkyl acrylates), poly(lower alkyl methacrylates) and copolymers of lower alkyl acrylates and methacrylates; and fatty acids and waxes, such as stearic and other soapy fatty acids, vegetable wax, microwaxes (purified paraffins), etc. The resulting powder may be compacted to form a pellet using any conventional powder press device. For example, a press mold may be employed that is a single station compaction press containing a die and one or multiple punches. Alternatively, anvil-type compaction press molds may be used that use only a die and single lower punch. Single station compaction press molds are available in several basic types, such as cam, toggle/knuckle and eccentric/crank presses with varying capabilities, such as single action, double action, floating die, movable platen, opposed ram, screw, impact, hot pressing, coining or sizing. The powder may be compacted around an anode lead, which may be in the form of a wire, sheet, etc. The lead may extend in a longitudinal direction from the anode body and may be formed from any electrically conductive material, such as tantalum, niobium, aluminum, hafnium, titanium, etc., as well as electrically conductive oxides and/or nitrides of thereof. Connection of the lead may also be accomplished using other known techniques, such as by welding the lead to the body or embedding it within the anode body during formation (e.g., prior to compaction and/or sintering).

Any binder may be removed after pressing by heating the pellet under vacuum at a certain temperature (e.g., from about 150°C to about 500°C) for several minutes. Alternatively, the binder may also be removed by contacting the pellet with an aqueous solution, such as described in U.S. Patent No. 6,197,252 to Bishop, et al. Thereafter, the pellet is sintered to form a porous, integral mass.

The pellet is typically sintered at a temperature of from about 700°C to about 1600°C, in some embodiments from about 800°C to about 1500°C, and in some embodiments, from about 900°C to about 1200°C, for a time of from about 5 minutes to about 100 minutes, and in some embodiments, from about 8 minutes to about 15 minutes. This may occur in one or more steps. If desired, sintering may occur in an atmosphere that limits the transfer of oxygen atoms to the anode. For example, sintering may occur in a reducing atmosphere, such as in a vacuum, inert gas, hydrogen, etc. The reducing atmosphere may be at a pressure of from about 10 Torr to about 2000 Torr, in some embodiments from about 100 Torr to about 1000 Torr, and in some embodiments, from about 100 Torr to about 930 Torr. Mixtures of hydrogen and other gases (e.g., argon or nitrogen) may also be employed. B. Dielectric

The anode is also coated with a dielectric. The dielectric may be formed by anodically oxidizing (“anodizing”) the sintered anode so that a dielectric layer is formed over and/or within the anode. For example, a tantalum (Ta) anode may be anodized to tantalum pentoxide (Ta20s). Typically, anodization is performed by initially applying a solution to the anode, such as by dipping anode into the electrolyte. A solvent is generally employed, such as water (e.g., deionized water). To enhance ionic conductivity, a compound may be employed that is capable of dissociating in the solvent to form ions. Examples of such compounds include, for instance, acids, such as described below with respect to the electrolyte. For example, an acid (e.g., phosphoric acid) may constitute from about 0.01 wt.% to about 5 wt.%, in some embodiments from about 0.05 wt.% to about 0.8 wt.%, and in some embodiments, from about 0.1 wt.% to about 0.5 wt.% of the anodizing solution. If desired, blends of acids may also be employed.

A current is passed through the anodizing solution to form the dielectric layer. The value of the formation voltage manages the thickness of the dielectric layer. For example, the power supply may be initially set up at a galvanostatic mode until the required voltage is reached. Thereafter, the power supply may be switched to a potentiostatic mode to ensure that the desired dielectric thickness is formed over the entire surface of the anode. Of course, other known methods may also be employed, such as pulse or step potentiostatic methods. The voltage at which anodic oxidation occurs typically ranges from about 4 to about 250 V, and in some embodiments, from about 5 to about 200 V, and in some embodiments, from about 10 to about 150 V. During oxidation, the anodizing solution can be kept at an elevated temperature, such as about 30°C or more, in some embodiments from about 40°C to about 200°C, and in some embodiments, from about 50°C to about 100°C. Anodic oxidation can also be done at ambient temperature or lower. The resulting dielectric layer may be formed on a surface of the anode and within its pores.

Although not required, in certain embodiments, the dielectric layer may possess a differential thickness throughout the anode in that it possesses a first portion that overlies an external surface of the anode and a second portion that overlies an interior surface of the anode. In such embodiments, the first portion is selectively formed so that its thickness is greater than that of the second portion. It should be understood, however, that the thickness of the dielectric layer need not be uniform within a particular region. Certain portions of the dielectric layer adjacent to the external surface may, for example, actually be thinner than certain portions of the layer at the interior surface, and vice versa. Nevertheless, the dielectric layer may be formed such that at least a portion of the layer at the external surface has a greater thickness than at least a portion at the interior surface. Although the exact difference in these thicknesses may vary depending on the particular application, the ratio of the thickness of the first portion to the thickness of the second portion is typically from about 1.2 to about 40, in some embodiments from about 1.5 to about 25, and in some embodiments, from about 2 to about 20.

To form a dielectric layer having a differential thickness, a multi-stage process is generally employed. In each stage of the process, the sintered anode is anodically oxidized (“anodized”) to form a dielectric layer (e.g., tantalum

pentoxide). During the first stage of anodization, a relatively small forming voltage is typically employed to ensure that the desired dielectric thickness is achieved for the inner region, such as forming voltages ranging from about 1 to about 90 volts, in some embodiments from about 2 to about 50 volts, and in some embodiments, from about 5 to about 20 volts. Thereafter, the sintered body may then be anodically oxidized in a second stage of the process to increase the thickness of the dielectric to the desired level. This is generally accomplished by anodizing in an electrolyte at a higher voltage than employed during the first stage, such as at forming voltages ranging from about 50 to about 350 volts, in some embodiments from about 60 to about 300 volts, and in some embodiments, from about 70 to about 200 volts. During the first and/or second stages, the electrolyte may be kept at a temperature within the range of from about 15°C to about 95°C, in some embodiments from about 20°C to about 90°C, and in some embodiments, from about 25°C to about 85°C.

The electrolytes employed during the first and second stages of the anodization process may be the same or different. Typically, however, it is desired to employ different solutions to help better facilitate the attainment of a higher thickness at the outer portions of the dielectric layer. For example, it may be desired that the electrolyte employed in the second stage has a lower ionic conductivity than the electrolyte employed in the first stage to prevent a significant amount of oxide film from forming on the internal surface of anode. In this regard, the electrolyte employed during the first stage may contain an acidic compound, such as hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, polyphosphoric acid, boric acid, boronic acid, etc. Such an electrolyte may have an electrical conductivity of from about 0.1 to about 100 mS/cm, in some embodiments from about 0.2 to about 20 mS/cm, and in some embodiments, from about 1 to about 10 mS/cm, determined at a temperature of 25°C. The electrolyte employed during the second stage typically contains a salt of a weak acid so that the hydronium ion concentration increases in the pores as a result of charge passage therein. Ion transport or diffusion is such that the weak acid anion moves into the pores as necessary to balance the electrical charges. As a result, the concentration of the principal conducting species (hydronium ion) is reduced in the establishment of equilibrium between the hydronium ion, acid anion, and undissociated acid, thus forms a poorer-conducting species. The reduction in the concentration of the conducting species results in a relatively high voltage drop in the electrolyte, which hinders further anodization in the interior while a thicker oxide layer, is being built up on the outside to a higher formation voltage in the region of continued high conductivity. Suitable weak acid salts may include, for instance, ammonium or alkali metal salts (e.g., sodium, potassium, etc.) of boric acid, boronic acid, acetic acid, oxalic acid, lactic acid, adipic acid, etc. Particularly suitable salts include sodium tetraborate and ammonium pentaborate. Such electrolytes typically have an electrical conductivity of from about 0.1 to about 20 mS/cm, in some

embodiments from about 0.5 to about 10 mS/cm, and in some embodiments, from about 1 to about 5 mS/cm, determined at a temperature of 25°C.

If desired, each stage of anodization may be repeated for one or more cycles to achieve the desired dielectric thickness. Furthermore, the anode may also be rinsed or washed with another solvent (e.g., water) after the first and/or second stages to remove the electrolyte.

C. Solid Electrolyte

A solid electrolyte overlies the dielectric and generally functions as the cathode for the capacitor element. Typically, the total thickness of the solid electrolyte is from about 1 to about 50 pm, and in some embodiments, from about 5 to about 20 pm. In general, the solid electrolyte includes a manganese dioxide. As is known in the art, manganese dioxide may be formed by the pyrolytic decomposition of manganese nitrate (Mn(N03)2), such as described in U.S. Patent No. 4,945,452 to Sturmer, et al. Heating may occur, for instance, in a furnace at a temperature of from about 150°C to about 300°C, in some embodiments from about 180°C to about 290°C, and in some embodiments, from about 190°C to about 260°C. Heating may be conducted in a moist or dry atmosphere. The time for the conversion depends on the furnace temperature, heat transfer rate and atmosphere, but generally is from about 3 to about 5 minutes. After pyrolysis, the leakage current may sometimes be high due to damage suffered by the dielectric film during the deposition of the manganese dioxide. To reduce this leakage, the capacitor may be reformed in an anodization bath as is known in the art. For example, the capacitor may be dipped into an electrolyte such as described above and then subjected to a DC current.

D. Cathode Coating

A. Metallization Laver

As indicated, the cathode coating contains a metallization layer that defines an outer surface of the coating and is configured for contact with the cathode termination. Any of a variety of known techniques may generally be employed to apply such a layer, such as sputtering, electrolytic plating, vapor deposition, electroless plating, etc. as described in U.S. Patent Nos. 4,780,797 to Libby and 3,628,103 to Booe. Generally speaking, the metallization layer contains at least one metal that is highly conductive yet resistant to galvanic corrosion. In this regard, the metallization layer may contain a metal that exhibits an electrical resistivity of about 150 nanoohms-meter (“hW-m”) or less, in some embodiments about 100 hW-m or less, and in some embodiments, from 1 to about 75 hW-m, as determined at a temperature of 20°C. Likewise, the metal may have a relatively high electric potential, such as about -0.5 V or more, in some embodiments about - 0.3 V or more, and in some embodiments, from about -0.3 to about 2.0 V.

Particularly suitable metals for the metallization layer may include, for instance, gold (resistivity of about 22 hW-m, electric potential of about 1.6 V); nickel

(resistivity of about 69 hW-m, electrical potential of about -0.2 V); silver (resistivity of about 16 hW h, electrical potential of about 0.8 V); tin (resistivity of about 115 hW-m, electrical potential of about -0.1 V); copper (resistivity of about 17 hW-m, electrical potential of about 0.3 V); platinum (resistivity of about 105 hW-m, electric potential of about 1.2 V), iridium (resistivity of about 47 hW-m, electric potential of about 1.2 V), palladium (resistivity of about 105 hW-m, electric potential of about 1.0 V), etc., as well as alloys thereof.

The thickness of the metallization layer may range from about 0.1 to about 10 micrometers, in some embodiments from about 0.2 to about 5 micrometers, and in some embodiments, from about 0.5 to about 1 micrometer. The metallization layer may be formed from a single layer containing one or more metals as described above. In one particular embodiment, for example, the metallization layer may be formed form a single layer that contains nickel or an alloy thereof. Alternatively, the metallization layer may be formed from one or more sublayers, each of which may contain one or more metals as described above. In one particular embodiment, for instance, the metallization layer may contains a first sublayer that overlies the barrier layer (discussed below) and a second sublayer that overlies the first sublayer and define the outer surface of the cathode coating. In such embodiments, the thickness of the second sublayer may range from about 10 nanometers to about 1 ,000 nanometers, in some embodiments from about 20 nanometers to about 500 nanometers, and in some embodiments, from about 50 nanometers to about 250 nanometers, and the thickness of the first sublayer may range from about 0.1 to about 10 micrometers, in some embodiments from about 0.2 to about 5 micrometers, and in some embodiments, from about 0.5 to about 1 micrometer. While the nature of the metals within each layer may vary, it is typically desired that the second sublayer contains a noble metal, such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, iridium, etc., as well as alloys thereof, and that the first sublayer contains a non-noble metal, such as tin, copper, nickel, etc., as well as alloys thereof. Preferably, the first sublayer contains nickel or an alloy thereof, and the second sublayer contains gold or an alloy thereof.

B. Barrier Laver

To reduce the likelihood that the metal(s) within the metallization layer will diffuse into the solid electrolyte, the cathode coating may also contain a barrier layer that overlies the solid electrolyte and is thus positioned between the metallization layer and the solid electrolyte. Typically, at least one valve metal is employed in the barrier layer to enhance the ability of the layer to adhere to the solid electrolyte. Examples of suitable valve metals may include, for instance, tungsten, titanium, tantalum, vanadium, zinc, aluminum, molybdenum, hafnium, and zirconium, etc., as well as alloys thereof. Alloys of tungsten with one or more other valve metals are particularly suitable for use in the barrier layer, such as alloys containing tungsten and titanium. The thickness of the barrier layer may range from about 0.2 to about 10 micrometers, in some embodiments from about 0.5 to about 5 micrometers, and in some embodiments, from about 0.5 to about 2 micrometers. The barrier layer may be formed from a single layer containing one or more metals as described above. In one particular embodiment, for example, the metallization layer may be formed form a single layer that contains a tungsten alloy. Alternatively, the barrier layer may be formed from one or more sublayers, each of which may contain one or more metals as described above. Regardless, any of a variety of known techniques may generally be employed to apply such a layer, such as sputtering, electrolytic plating, vapor deposition, electroless plating, etc.

II. Terminations

Once formed, the capacitor element may be provided with terminations, particularly when employed in surface mounting applications. For example, the capacitor may contain an anode termination to which an anode lead of the capacitor element is electrically connected and a cathode termination to which the cathode of the capacitor element is electrically connected. Any conductive material may be employed to form the terminations, such as a conductive metal (e.g., copper, nickel, silver, nickel, zinc, tin, palladium, lead, copper, aluminum, molybdenum, titanium, iron, zirconium, magnesium, and alloys thereof).

Particularly suitable conductive metals include, for instance, copper, copper alloys (e.g., copper-zirconium, copper-magnesium, copper-zinc, or copper-iron), nickel, and nickel alloys (e.g., nickel-iron). The thickness of the terminations is generally selected to minimize the thickness of the capacitor. For instance, the thickness of the terminations may range from about 0.05 to about 1 millimeter, in some embodiments from about 0.05 to about 0.5 millimeters, and from about 0.07 to about 0.2 millimeters. One exemplary conductive material is a copper-iron alloy metal plate available from Wieland (Germany). If desired, the surface of the terminations may be electroplated with nickel, silver, gold, tin, etc. as is known in the art to ensure that the final part is mountable to the circuit board. In one particular embodiment, both surfaces of the terminations are plated with nickel and silver flashes, respectively, while the mounting surface is also plated with a tin solder layer. In yet another embodiment, the terminations may be formed from a noble metal (e.g., gold) or have a mounting surface that is plated with a noble metal (e.g., gold).

The terminations may be connected to the capacitor element using any technique known in the art. In one embodiment, for example, a lead frame may be provided that defines the cathode termination and anode termination. To attach the electrolytic capacitor element to the lead frame, a conductive adhesive may initially be applied to a surface of the cathode termination. Generally speaking, it is desirable to use an adhesive that has a relatively low organic content to minimize the presence of carbon in the resulting capacitor element. In this regard, the conductive adhesive may employed sinterable particles that contain a conductive metal, such as copper, nickel, silver, nickel, zinc, tin, lead, copper, aluminum, molybdenum, titanium, iron, zirconium, magnesium, and alloys thereof. Silver is a particularly suitable conductive metal for use in the layer. The particles may be initially provided in the form of a paste that contains metal particles of a relatively small size, such as an average size of from about 0.01 to about 50 micrometers, in some embodiments from about 0.1 to about 40 micrometers, and in some embodiments, from about 1 to about 30 micrometers. Due to in part to the relatively small size of the particles, the paste may have a relatively low viscosity, allowing it to be readily handled and applied to an anode lead and/or anode component during manufacture of the capacitor. The viscosity may, for instance, range from about 5 to about 250 Pascal-seconds (Pa-s), in some embodiments from about 20 Pa-s to about 200 Pa-s, and in some embodiments, from about 30 Pa-s to about 150 Pa-s, as measured with a Brookfield DV-1 viscometer (cone and plate) operating at a speed of 5 or 0.5 rpm and a temperature of 25°C. If desired, thickeners or other viscosity modifiers may be employed in the paste to increase or decrease viscosity. Further, the thickness of the applied paste may also be relatively thin and still achieve the desired binding of the lead to the anode component. For example, the thickness of the paste may be from about 0.01 to about 50 micrometers, in some embodiments from about 0.5 to about 30

micrometers, and in some embodiments, from about 1 to about 25 micrometers.

The metal particles used in the paste may be constituted primarily by a metal or from a composition that contains a metal as a component. Suitable metal particles may, for instance, be formed from ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, silver, osmium, iridium, platinum, gold, tantalum, niobium, aluminum, nickel, hafnium, titanium, copper, etc., as well as alloys thereof. Desirably, the metal particles are formed from a noble metal, such as ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, silver, osmium, iridium, platinum, and gold. Silver is particularly suitable. Typically, the metal particles constitute from about 50 wt.% to about 99 wt.%, in some embodiments from about 60 wt.% to about 95 wt.%, and in some embodiments, from about 70 wt.% to about 90 wt.% of the paste.

To form the paste, the particles may be initially dispersed in a solvent. Any solvent of a variety of solvents may be employed, such as water; glycols (e.g., propylene glycol, butylene glycol, triethylene glycol, hexylene glycol, polyethylene glycols, ethoxydiglycol, and dipropyleneglycol); glycol ethers (e.g., methyl glycol ether, ethyl glycol ether, and isopropyl glycol ether); ethers (e.g., diethyl ether and tetrahydrofuran); alcohols (e.g., methanol, ethanol, n-propanol, iso-propanol, and butanol); triglycerides; ketones (e.g., acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl isobutyl ketone); esters (e.g., ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, diethylene glycol ether acetate, and methoxypropyl acetate); amides (e.g., dimethylformamide,

dimethylacetamide, dimethylcaprylic/capric fatty acid amide and N- alkylpyrrolidones); nitriles (e.g., acetonitrile, propionitrile, butyronitrile and benzonitrile); sulfoxides or sulfones (e.g., dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and sulfolane); and so forth.

In addition to the metal particles, the paste may also include other ingredients to aid in application of the layer and/or in the sintering process, such as binders, sintering aids, dispersants, wetting agents, plasticizers, and so forth. For example, a sintering aid may be employed that is a metallic compound, such as an organometallic compound, metal-organic salt, metal mercaptan, metal resinate, etc. Desirably, the sintering aid includes the same metal as the metal particles.

For instance, when silver particles are employed, the sintering aid may be a silver mercaptan (e.g., silver t-dodecylmercaptan or silver diethyldithiocarbamate), organosilver compound (e.g., bis-(r|1-4-phenyl-r|2-1 -butene)silver(l)), organic silver salt (e.g., silver (I) hexafuoropentane-dionatecyclooctadiane complex, silver neodecanoate, silver 2, 4-pentafluoropropionate, silver 2, 4-pentanedionate, silver tosylate, etc.), and so forth. Suitable binders may likewise include, for instance, epoxy compounds (e.g., two-component UHU epoxy adhesive); poly(vinyl butyral); poly(vinyl acetate); poly(vinyl alcohol); poly(vinyl pyrrolidone); cellulosic polymers, such as carboxymethylcellulose, methyl cellulose, ethyl cellulose, hydroxyethyl cellulose, and methylhydroxyethyl cellulose; atactic polypropylene, polyethylene; polyethylene glycol (e.g., Carbowax from Dow Chemical Co.); silicon polymers, such as poly(methyl siloxane), poly(methylphenyl siloxane); polystyrene, poly(butadiene/styrene); polyamides, polyimides, and polyacrylamides, high molecular weight polyethers; copolymers of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide; fluoropolymers, such as polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, and fluoro- olefin copolymers; and acrylic polymers, such as sodium polyacrylate, poly(lower alkyl acrylates), poly(lower alkyl methacrylates) and copolymers of lower alkyl acrylates and methacrylates.

Any of a variety of techniques may generally be employed to apply the conductive adhesive, such as heat treating, thermal sintering, sputtering, screen- printing, dipping, electrophoretic coating, electron beam deposition, spraying, roller pressing, brushing, doctor blade casting, vacuum deposition, coating, etc. Once applied, the metal paste may be optionally dried to remove any various

components, such as solvents. For instance, drying may occur at a temperature of from about 20°C to about 150°C, in some embodiments from about 50°C to about 140°C, and in some embodiments, from about 80°C to about 130°C. The paste is thereafter sintered so that the particles can form a bond with each other. The temperature at sintering occurs may vary, but is typically from about 150°C to about 500°C, in some embodiments from about 180°C to about 350°C, and in some embodiments from about 200°C to about 300°C. Sintering may also occur at any desired pressure. In certain embodiments, for example, sintering may occur under pressure, such as a pressure of from about 1 Megapascal (MPa) to about 50 MPa, in some embodiments from about 2 to about 30 MPa, and in some

embodiments, from about 5 to about 25 MPa. The total time of sintering may vary depending on the temperature and pressure employed, but typically ranges from about 1 minute to about 350 minutes, in some embodiments from about 50 to about 300 minutes, and in some embodiments, from about 80 minutes to about 250 minutes. The atmosphere used during sintering may also vary. In certain embodiments, for example, sintering may occur in an inert atmosphere (e.g., nitrogen, etc.), an oxidizing atmosphere (e.g., air or oxygen), or a reducing atmosphere (e.g., hydrogen).

The anode lead may also be electrically connected to the anode termination using any technique known in the art, such as mechanical welding, laser welding, conductive adhesives, etc. Upon electrically connecting the anode lead to the anode termination, the conductive adhesive may then be cured to ensure that the electrolytic capacitor element is adequately adhered to the cathode termination.

III. Housing

Due to the ability of the capacitor to exhibit good electrical performance at high temperatures, it is not necessary for the capacitor element to be hermetically sealed within a housing. Nevertheless, in certain embodiments, it may be desired to hermetically seal the capacitor element within a housing. In one embodiment, for example, the capacitor element may be hermetically sealed within a housing in the presence of a gaseous atmosphere that contains an inert gas.

The capacitor element may be sealed within a housing in various ways. In certain embodiments, for instance, the capacitor element may be enclosed within a case, which may then be filled with a resinous material, such as a thermoset resin (e.g., epoxy resin) that can be cured to form a hardened housing. Examples of such resins include, for instance, epoxy resins, polyimide resins, melamine resins, urea-formaldehyde resins, polyurethane resins, phenolic resins, polyester resins, etc. Epoxy resins are also particularly suitable. Still other additives may also be employed, such as photoinitiators, viscosity modifiers, suspension aiding agents, pigments, stress reducing agents, non-conductive fillers, stabilizers, etc. For example, the non-conductive fillers may include inorganic oxide particles, such as silica, alumina, zirconia, magnesium oxide, iron oxide, copper oxide, zeolites, silicates, clays (e.g., smectite clay), etc., as well as composites (e.g., alumina- coated silica particles) and mixtures thereof. Regardless, the resinous material may surround and encapsulate the capacitor element so that at least a portion of the anode and cathode terminations are exposed for mounting onto a circuit board. When encapsulated in this manner, the capacitor element and resinous material form an integral capacitor.

Of course, in alternative embodiments, it may be desirable to enclose the capacitor element within a housing that remains separate and distinct. In this manner, the atmosphere of the housing can possess a certain degree of moisture such that it is considered a humid atmosphere. For example, the relative humidity of the atmosphere may be about 40% or more, in some embodiments about 45% or more, and in some embodiments, from about 50% to about 95% (e.g., about 50%). In alternative embodiments, however, the atmosphere may be relatively dry so that it has a relative humidity of less than about 40%, in some embodiments about 30% or less, in some embodiments about 10% or less, and in some embodiments, from about 0.001 to about 5%. For example, the atmosphere may be gaseous and contain at least one inert gas, such as nitrogen, helium, argon, xenon, neon, krypton, radon, and so forth, as well as mixtures thereof. Typically, inert gases constitute the majority of the atmosphere within the housing, such as from about 50 wt.% to 100 wt.%, in some embodiments from about 75 wt.% to 100 wt.%, and in some embodiments, from about 90 wt.% to about 99 wt.% of the atmosphere. If desired, a relatively small amount of non-inert gases may also be employed, such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, water vapor, etc. In such cases, however, the non-inert gases typically constitute 15 wt.% or less, in some embodiments 10 wt.% or less, in some embodiments about 5 wt.% or less, in some embodiments about 1 wt.% or less, and in some embodiments, from about 0.01 wt.% to about 1 wt.% of the atmosphere within the housing.

Any of a variety of different materials may be used to form the housing, such as metals, plastics, ceramics, and so forth. In one embodiment, for example, the housing includes one or more layers of a metal, such as tantalum, niobium, aluminum, nickel, hafnium, titanium, copper, silver, steel (e.g., stainless), alloys thereof (e.g., electrically conductive oxides), composites thereof (e.g., metal coated with electrically conductive oxide), and so forth. In another embodiment, the housing may include one or more layers of a ceramic material, such as aluminum nitride, aluminum oxide, silicon oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, glass, etc., as well as combinations thereof. The housing may have any desired shape, such as cylindrical, D-shaped, rectangular, triangular, prismatic, etc. Referring to Fig. 1 , for example, one embodiment of a capacitor 100 is shown that contains a housing 122 and a capacitor element 120. In this particular embodiment, the housing 122 is generally rectangular. Typically, the housing and the capacitor element have the same or similar shape so that the capacitor element can be readily accommodated within the interior cavity. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, both the capacitor element 120 and the housing 122 have a generally rectangular shape.

If desired, the capacitor of the present invention may exhibit a relatively high volumetric efficiency. To facilitate such high efficiency, the capacitor element typically occupies a substantial portion of the volume of an interior cavity of the housing. For example, the capacitor element may occupy about 30 vol.% or more, in some embodiments about 50 vol.% or more, in some embodiments about 60 vol.% or more, in some embodiments about 70 vol.% or more, in some

embodiments from about 80 vol.% to about 98 vol.%, and in some embodiments, from about 85 vol.% to 97 vol.% of the interior cavity of the housing. To this end, the difference between the dimensions of the capacitor element and those of the interior cavity defined by the housing are typically relatively small.

Referring to Fig. 1 , for example, the capacitor element 120 may have a length (excluding the length of the anode lead 6) that is relatively similar to the length of an interior cavity 126 defined by the housing 122. For example, the ratio of the length of the anode to the length of the interior cavity ranges from about 0.40 to 1.00, in some embodiments from about 0.50 to about 0.99, in some

embodiments from about 0.60 to about 0.99, and in some embodiments, from about 0.70 to about 0.98. The capacitor element 120 may have a length of from about 5 to about 10 millimeters, and the interior cavity 126 may have a length of from about 6 to about 15 millimeters. Similarly, the ratio of the height of the capacitor element 120 (in the -z direction) to the height of the interior cavity 126 may range from about 0.40 to 1.00, in some embodiments from about 0.50 to about 0.99, in some embodiments from about 0.60 to about 0.99, and in some embodiments, from about 0.70 to about 0.98. The ratio of the width of the capacitor element 120 (in the -x direction) to the width of the interior cavity 126 may also range from about 0.50 to 1.00, in some embodiments from about 0.60 to about 0.99, in some embodiments from about 0.70 to about 0.99, in some embodiments from about 0.80 to about 0.98, and in some embodiments, from about 0.85 to about 0.95. For example, the width of the capacitor element 120 may be from about 2 to about 7 millimeters and the width of the interior cavity 126 may be from about 3 to about 10 millimeters, and the height of the capacitor element 120 may be from about 0.5 to about 2 millimeters and the width of the interior cavity 126 may be from about 0.7 to about 6 millimeters.

Although by no means required, the capacitor element may be attached to the housing in such a manner that an anode termination and cathode termination are formed external to the housing for subsequent integration into a circuit. The particular configuration of the terminations may depend on the intended

application. In one embodiment, for example, the capacitor may be formed so that it is surface mountable, and yet still mechanically robust. For example, the anode lead may be electrically connected to external, surface mountable anode and cathode terminations (e.g., pads, sheets, plates, frames, etc.). Such terminations may extend through the housing to connect with the capacitor.

Although by no means required, connective members may optionally be employed within the interior cavity of the housing to facilitate connection to the terminations in a mechanically stable manner. For example, referring again to Fig. 1 , the capacitor 100 may include a connection member 162 that is formed from a first portion 167 and a second portion 165. The connection member 162 may be formed from conductive materials similar to the external terminations. The first portion 167 and second portion 165 may be integral or separate pieces that are connected together, either directly or via an additional conductive element (e.g., metal). In the illustrated embodiment, the second portion 165 is provided in a plane that is generally parallel to a lateral direction in which the lead 6 extends (e.g., -y direction). The first portion 167 is“upstanding” in the sense that it is provided in a plane that is generally perpendicular the lateral direction in which the lead 6 extends. In this manner, the first portion 167 can limit movement of the lead 6 in the horizontal direction to enhance surface contact and mechanical stability during use. If desired, an insulative material 7 (e.g., Teflon™ washer) may be employed around the lead 6.

The first portion 167 may possess a mounting region (not shown) that is connected to the anode lead 6. The region may have a“U-shape” for further enhancing surface contact and mechanical stability of the lead 6. Connection of the region to the lead 6 may be accomplished using any of a variety of known techniques, such as welding, laser welding, conductive adhesives, etc. In one particular embodiment, for example, the region is laser welded to the anode lead 6.

Regardless of the technique chosen, however, the first portion 167 can hold the anode lead 6 in substantial horizontal alignment to further enhance the

dimensional stability of the capacitor 100.

Referring again to Fig. 1 , one embodiment of the present invention is shown in which the optional connective member 162 and capacitor element 120 are connected to the housing 122 through anode and cathode terminations 127 and 129, respectively. More specifically, the housing 122 of this embodiment includes an outer wall 123 and two opposing sidewalls 124 between which a cavity 126 is formed that includes the capacitor element 120. The outer wall 123 and sidewalls 124 may be formed from one or more layers of a metal, plastic, or ceramic material such as described above. In this particular embodiment, the anode termination 127 contains a first region 127a that is positioned within the housing 122 and electrically connected to the connection member 162 and a second region 127b that is positioned external to the housing 122 and provides a mounting surface 201. Likewise, the cathode termination 129 contains a first region 129a that is positioned within the housing 122 and electrically connected to the solid electrolyte of the capacitor element 120 and a second region 129b that is positioned external to the housing 122 and provides a mounting surface 203. It should be understood that the entire portion of such regions need not be positioned within or external to the housing.

In the illustrated embodiment, a conductive trace 127c extends in the outer wall 123 of the housing to connect the first region 127a and second region 127b. Similarly, a conductive trace 129c extends in the outer wall 123 of the housing to connect the first region 127a and second region 127b. The conductive traces and/or regions of the terminations may be separate or integral. In addition to extending through the outer wall of the housing, the traces may also be positioned at other locations, such as external to the outer wall. Of course, the present invention is by no means limited to the use of conductive traces for forming the desired terminations.

Regardless of the particular configuration employed, connection of the terminations 127 and 129 to the capacitor element 120 may be made using any known technique, such as welding, laser welding, conductive adhesives, etc. In one particular embodiment, for example, a conductive adhesive 131 is used to connect the second portion 165 of the connection member 162 to the anode termination 127. Likewise, a conductive adhesive 133 is used to connect the cathode of the capacitor element 120 to the cathode termination 129.

Optionally, a polymeric restraint may also be disposed in contact with one or more surfaces of the capacitor element, such as the rear surface, front surface, upper surface, lower surface, side surface(s), or any combination thereof. The polymeric restraint can reduce the likelihood of delamination by the capacitor element from the housing. In this regard, the polymeric restraint may possesses a certain degree of strength that allows it to retain the capacitor element in a relatively fixed positioned even when it is subjected to vibrational forces, yet is not so strong that it cracks. For example, the restraint may possess a tensile strength of from about 1 to about 150 MPa, in some embodiments from about 2 to about 100 MPa, in some embodiments from about 10 to about 80 MPa, and in some embodiments, from about 20 to about 70 MPa, measured at a temperature of about 25°C. It is normally desired that the restraint is not electrically conductive. Referring again to Fig. 1 , for instance, one embodiment is shown in which a single polymeric restraint 197 is disposed in contact with an upper surface 181 and rear surface 177 of the capacitor element 120. While a single restraint is shown in Fig.

1 , it should be understood that separate restraints may be employed to accomplish the same function. In fact, more generally, any number of polymeric restraints may be employed to contact any desired surface of the capacitor element. When multiple restraints are employed, they may be in contact with each other or remain physically separated. For example, in one embodiment, a second polymeric restraint (not shown) may be employed that contacts the upper surface 181 and front surface 179 of the capacitor element 120. The first polymeric restraint 197 and the second polymeric restraint (not shown) may or may not be in contact with each other. In yet another embodiment, a polymeric restraint may also contact a lower surface 183 and/or side surface(s) of the capacitor element 120, either in conjunction with or in lieu of other surfaces.

Regardless of how it is applied, it is typically desired that the polymeric restraint is also in contact with at least one surface of the housing to help further mechanically stabilize the capacitor element against possible delamination. For example, the restraint may be in contact with an interior surface of one or more sidewall(s), outer wall, lid, etc. In Fig. 1 , for example, the polymeric restraint 197 is in contact with an interior surface 107 of sidewall 124 and an interior surface 109 of outer wall 123. While in contact with the housing, it is nevertheless desired that at least a portion of the cavity defined by the housing remains unoccupied to allow for the inert gas to flow through the cavity and limit contact of the solid electrolyte with oxygen. For example, at least about 5% of the cavity volume typically remains unoccupied by the capacitor element and polymer restraint, and in some embodiments, from about 10% to about 50% of the cavity volume.

Once connected in the desired manner, the resulting package is

hermetically sealed as described above. Referring again to Fig. 1 , for instance, the housing 122 may also include a lid 125 that is placed on an upper surface of side walls 124 after the capacitor element 120 and the polymer restraint 197 are positioned within the housing 122. The lid 125 may be formed from a ceramic, metal (e.g., iron, copper, nickel, cobalt, etc., as well as alloys thereof), plastic, and so forth. If desired, a sealing member 187 may be disposed between the lid 125 and the side walls 124 to help provide a good seal. In one embodiment, for example, the sealing member may include a glass-to-metal seal, Kovar® ring (Goodfellow Camridge, Ltd.), etc. The height of the side walls 124 is generally such that the lid 125 does not contact any surface of the capacitor element 120 so that it is not contaminated. The polymeric restraint 197 may or may not contact the lid 125. When placed in the desired position, the lid 125 is hermetically sealed to the sidewalls 124 using known techniques, such as welding (e.g., resistance welding, laser welding, etc.), soldering, etc. Hermetic sealing generally occurs in the presence of inert gases as described above so that the resulting capacitor is substantially free of reactive gases, such as oxygen.

It should be understood that the embodiments described are only

exemplary, and that various other configurations may be employed in the present invention for hermetically sealing a capacitor element within a housing. Referring to Fig. 2, for instance, another embodiment of a capacitor 200 is shown that employs a housing 222 that includes an outer wall 123 and a lid 225 between which a cavity 126 is formed that includes the capacitor element 120 and polymeric restraint 197. The lid 225 includes an outer wall 223 that is integral with at least one sidewall 224. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, two opposing sidewalls 224 are shown in cross-section. The outer walls 223 and 123 both extend in a lateral direction (-y direction) and are generally parallel with each other and to the lateral direction of the anode lead 6. The sidewall 224 extends from the outer wall 223 in a longitudinal direction that is generally perpendicular to the outer wall 123. A distal end 500 of the lid 225 is defined by the outer wall 223 and a proximal end 501 is defined by a lip 253 of the sidewall 224.

The lip 253 extends from the sidewall 224 in the lateral direction, which may be generally parallel to the lateral direction of the outer wall 123. The angle between the sidewall 224 and the lip 253 may vary, but is typically from about 60° to about 120°, in some embodiments from about 70° to about 110°, and in some embodiments, from about 80° to about 100° (e.g., about 90°). The lip 253 also defines a peripheral edge 251 , which may be generally perpendicular to the lateral direction in which the lip 253 and outer wall 123 extend. The peripheral edge 251 is located beyond the outer periphery of the sidewall 224 and may be generally coplanar with an edge 151 of the outer wall 123. The lip 253 may be sealed to the outer wall 123 using any known technique, such as welding (e.g., resistance or laser), soldering, glue, etc. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, a sealing member 287 is employed (e.g., glass-to-metal seal, Kovar® ring, etc.) between the components to facilitate their attachment. Regardless, the use of a lip described above can enable a more stable connection between the components and improve the seal and mechanical stability of the capacitor.

Still other possible housing configurations may be employed in the present invention. For example, Fig. 3 shows a capacitor 300 having a housing

configuration similar to that of Fig. 2, except that terminal pins 327b and 329b are employed as the external terminations for the anode and cathode, respectively. More particularly, the terminal pin 327a extends through a trace 327c formed in the outer wall 323 and is connected to the anode lead 6 using known techniques (e.g., welding). An additional section 327a may be employed to secure the pin 327b. Likewise, the terminal pin 329b extends through a trace 329c formed in the outer wall 323 and is connected to the cathode via a conductive adhesive 133 as described above.

The embodiments shown in Figs. 1 -3 are discussed herein in terms of only a single capacitor element. It should also be understood, however, that multiple capacitor elements may also be hermetically sealed within a housing. The multiple capacitor elements may be attached to the housing using any of a variety of different techniques. Referring to Fig. 4, for example one particular embodiment of a capacitor 400 that contains two capacitor elements is shown and will now be described in more detail. More particularly, the capacitor 400 includes a first capacitor element 420a in electrical communication with a second capacitor element 420b. In this embodiment, the capacitor elements are aligned so that their major surfaces are in a horizontal configuration. That is, a major surface of the capacitor element 420a defined by its width (-x direction) and length (-y direction) is positioned adjacent to a corresponding major surface of the capacitor element 420b. Thus, the major surfaces are generally coplanar. Alternatively, the capacitor elements may be arranged so that their major surfaces are not coplanar, but perpendicular to each other in a certain direction, such as the -z direction or the -x direction. Of course, the capacitor elements need not extend in the same direction.

The capacitor elements 420a and 420b are positioned within a housing 422 that contains an outer wall 423 and sidewalls 424 and 425 that together define a cavity 426. Although not shown, a lid may be employed that covers the upper surfaces of the sidewalls 424 and 425 and seals the capacitor 400 as described above. Optionally, a polymeric restraint may also be employed to help limit the vibration of the capacitor elements. In Fig. 4, for example, separate polymer restraints 497a and 497b are positioned adjacent to and in contact with the capacitor elements 420a and 420b, respectively. The polymer restraints 497a and 497b may be positioned in a variety of different locations. Further, one of the restraints may be eliminated, or additional restraints may be employed. In certain embodiments, for example, it may be desired to employ a polymeric restraint between the capacitor elements to further improve mechanical stability. In addition to the capacitor elements, the capacitor also contains an anode termination to which anode leads of respective capacitor elements are electrically connected and a cathode termination to which the cathodes of respective capacitor elements are electrically connected. Referring again to Fig. 4, for example, the capacitor elements are shown connected in parallel to a common cathode termination 429. In this particular embodiment, the cathode termination 429 is initially provided in a plane that is generally parallel to the bottom surface of the capacitor elements and may be in electrical contact with conductive traces (not shown). The capacitor 400 also includes connective members 427 and 527 that are connected to anode leads 407a and 407b, respectively, of the capacitor elements 420a and 420b. More particularly, the connective member 427 contains an upstanding portion 465 and a planar portion 463 that is in connection with an anode termination (not shown). Likewise, the connective 527 contains an upstanding portion 565 and a planar portion 563 that is in connection with an anode termination (not shown). Of course, it should be understood that a wide variety of other types of connection mechanisms may also be employed.

The present invention may be better understood by reference to the following examples.

Test Procedures

Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR)

Equivalence series resistance may be measured using a Keithley 3330 Precision LCZ meter with Kelvin Leads 2.2 volt DC bias and a 0.5 volt peak to peak sinusoidal signal. The operating frequency may 100 kHz and the

temperature may be 23°C + 2°C.

Capacitance (CAP)

The capacitance may be measured using a Keithley 3330 Precision LCZ meter with Kelvin Leads with 2.2 volt DC bias and a 0.5 volt peak to peak sinusoidal signal. The operating frequency may be 120 Hz and the temperature may be 23°C + 2°C.

Temperature Life Testing

The capacitors have been stored under life conditions 250°C/0.5Ur and tested for electrical performance (ESR and CAP tests conducted at 23°C + 2°C).

EXAMPLE 1 A tantalum anode (5.35 mm x 3.70 mm x 1.00 mm) was anodized at 115V in a liquid electrolyte to 10 pF. A conductive coating was then formed by dipping the entire anode into an aqueous solution of manganese(ll) nitrate and then

decomposed at 250°C. The part was coated with titanium-tungsten alloy barrier layer followed by nickel and gold metallization layers using Baltec sputter coater.

A copper-based leadframe material was used to finish the assembly process. The tantalum wire of the capacitor element was then laser welded to an anode connective member. The cathode connective member was then glued with the silver adhesive to a gold cathode termination and the anode connective member was then welded to a gold anode termination located inside a ceramic housing having a length of 11.00 mm, a width of 6.00 mm, and a thickness of 2.20 mm.

The adhesive for the connections was a paste that contains sintered silver particles (Loctite SSP2020). The adhesive was applied between cathode connective member and gold-plated solder pad and was dried at 250°C for 60 minutes. The resulting assembly was placed into a welding chamber and purged with nitrogen gas before seam welding between the seal ring and the lid was performed. Multiple parts (20) of 10 pF / 35V rated capacitors in ceramic case were made in this manner.

EXAMPLE 2

Capacitors were formed in the manner described in Example 1 , except that the part was coated with graphite and silver instead of barrier and metallization layers. Multiple parts (20) of 10 pF / 35V rated capacitors in ceramic case were made in this manner.

The finished capacitors of Examples were then tested for electrical performance under life conditions 250°C/0.5Ur. The median results of CAP and ESR are set forth below in Table 1. The fails represented parts with CAP drop more than 50%. Table 1 : Electrical Properties

These and other modifications and variations of the present invention may be practiced by those of ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In addition, it should be understood that aspects of the various embodiments may be interchanged both in whole or in part. Furthermore, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the foregoing description is by way of example only, and is not intended to limit the invention so further described in such appended claims.