What Materials are Used for RF Inductors?

Now that we’ve covered a general overview of RF Inductors, our blog series continues with the materials that are used in these inductors.

Typically, in power inductors we concentrate on discussing the permeability of the materials. Depending on the material, we can increase the permeability of an inductor, and its induction. So in the case of RF inductors, we don't use core materials that have a high permeability.

Typically, if we switch RF inductors, or any kind of inductor, on a very high frequently, we will have very big energy losses. They will be halted very quickly. This happens because the cores cannot handle the signal and the energy gets dissipated. Thus, we have to use different materials for RF applications.

Perhaps the most intuitive one and the most readily available would be to use an air core, but of course that's not the only material out there we use. We have all that material like ceramic.

At high surging frequencies, it's best to use materials with low permeability close to a value of one. But we also have ceramic material. They are not necessarily ceramics that you use to make pottery, but there's a little bit of a similarity between those two.

There are different types of ceramic formula. There are Oxide, non-Oxide, like Carbides or Borides, and then there are composite material, which can be fiber reinforced. These materials have a very low permeability, and therefore it can be ideal for high switching frequencies, and therefore, ideal to build RF inductors.

In general, the construction of an RF inductor is the same as it would be with any other power inductor. In this case, made of ceramic, a copper foil and then some solver pads.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for more posts about the definition of RFC’s, the importance of the Q factor, applications and constructions, types of products, availability of models, tutorials, and general questions.

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