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Using Via-in-Pad Technology: What You Need to Know, Design Guidelines, and More…

Blog  /  Using Via-in-Pad Technology: What You Need to Know, Design Guidelines, and More…

Using Via-in-Pad Technology: What You Need to Know, Design Guidelines, and More…

June 27, 2024

In the world of multi-layer PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design, vias are essential parts that connect different layers of a board. As electronic devices become more compact and complex, designers must employ advanced technologies to optimize board space and performance. One such technology is via-in-pad technology, which has become increasingly popular in high-density and high-performance PCB designs. This article explores the essentials of via-in-pad technology, including guidelines for its implementation and the scenarios in which it is most beneficial.

Understanding Vias in PCB Design

Vias are conductive pathways that allow electrical connections between different layers of a PCB. They are typically created by drilling holes through the board and then plating them with conductive material.

Types of Vias

1. Through-Hole Vias:

These vias penetrate the entire thickness of the PCB, connecting all layers. They are the most common type and are used for general purposes.

2. Blind Vias:

These vias connect the outer PCB layer to one or more inner layers, but do not go through the entire board. They are used in high-density designs to save space.

3. Stacked Vias:

These vias are drilled and plated before stacking on top of another. They involve more steps than staggered vias.

4. Staggered Vias:

These vias connect different layers of the PCB, but do not come in contact with each other. Their position is offset on the adjacent layers.

5. Buried Vias:

Buried vias connect only the inner layers of the PCB, remaining invisible from the outer layers. They are used to maximize the surface area available for component placement.

6. Microvias:

Microvias are very small vias typically used in HDI (High-Density Interconnect) PCBs. They are created using laser drilling and can connect adjacent layers or multiple layers in stacked configurations.

What is a Via-in-Pad?

Via-in-pad is a technology where the via is placed directly into the pad of a component, rather than in the spaces between pads. This approach helps in reducing the inductance and resistance of the connection, enhancing signal integrity, and saving board space. Via-in-pad is particularly useful in designs requiring high-speed and high-frequency signal transmission.

When to Use Via-in-Pad in Design?

Via-in-pad technology is advantageous in several scenarios:

● High-Density Interconnect (HDI) PCBs:

These PCBs have a higher wiring density per unit area, necessitating the use of space-efficient via-in-pad technology.

● Small Form Factor Devices:

Devices such as smartphones and wearables benefit from via-in-pad as it allows for more compact and efficient designs.

● Improved Electrical Performance:

Via-in-pad can enhance signal integrity by minimizing the path length and reducing inductive and capacitive parasitics.


Design Considerations

1. Material Selection:

Choose materials with suitable dielectric properties to ensure signal integrity and thermal performance.

2. Thermal Management:

Proper thermal vias must be used to dissipate heat effectively, especially in high-power applications.

3. Signal Integrity:

Minimize the number of vias to reduce signal reflection and loss. Ensure vias are correctly filled and capped to avoid solder wicking and voids.

Manufacturing Considerations

1. Plating and Filling Techniques:

Use advanced plating techniques such as copper filling or conductive epoxy filling to ensure reliable connections and avoid issues like voids.

2. Cost Implications:

Be aware that via-in-pad technology can increase manufacturing costs due to the need for precise drilling and filling processes.

3. Reliability Concerns:

Ensure that the vias are adequately filled and plated to withstand thermal cycling and mechanical stress.

Common Issues

1. Solder Wicking:

Solder can wick into the via during assembly, leading to insufficient solder on the pad.

2. Voids and Cracks:

Improper filling and plating can lead to voids and cracks, affecting the reliability of the connection.

3. Increased Costs:

Advanced manufacturing processes for via-in-pad can increase costs.


1. Solder Masking:

Use solder mask dams around the vias to prevent solder wicking.

2. Proper Filling Techniques:

Employ reliable filling methods and inspect vias for voids and cracks.

3. Cost-Benefit Analysis:

Perform a thorough cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the advantages of via-in-pad justify the increased manufacturing costs.


Via-in-pad technology represents a significant advancement in PCB design, offering substantial benefits in terms of space savings, signal integrity, and overall performance. By understanding the scenarios where via-in-pad is most beneficial and following best practices for its implementation, designers can leverage this technology to create more efficient and reliable PCBs. Despite the challenges associated with via-in-pad, careful planning and execution can mitigate these issues, making it a valuable tool in the arsenal of modern PCB design techniques.

Traditionally, the via-in-pad process has been expensive due to the specialized equipment and materials required. However, JLCPCB now provides this advanced capability for free on 6-20 layer PCB orders.

This unprecedented free offering from JLCPCB is a true breakthrough for the industry, allowing all design teams to boost their PCB layout productivity and create more sophisticated, reliable board designs. Electronic engineers who may have previously hesitated to utilize via-in-pad are now highly encouraged to take advantage of this transformative technology at no extra cost.