Surface Mount Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors

5 min read Jun 26, 2024
Surface Mount Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors

Surface Mount Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors: A Comprehensive Guide



Surface Mount Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors (SMD MLCCs) are a type of electronic component widely used in modern electronics. They offer a unique combination of high capacitance, small size, and low cost, making them an essential component in many electronic devices. In this article, we will delve into the world of SMD MLCCs, exploring their construction, characteristics, applications, and limitations.



SMD MLCCs consist of multiple layers of ceramic material, electrodes, and terminations. The ceramic material, typically made of barium titanate (BaTiO3), is layered with electrodes made of metal, usually silver or nickel. The layers are then terminated with a metal layer on each end, forming a capacitor. The multilayer structure allows for a high capacitance in a small package.

Layers of an SMD MLCC:

  • Ceramic dielectric layers: Provide the capacitance and insulate the electrodes.
  • Electrodes: Made of metal, they connect the ceramic layers and provide a path for current to flow.
  • Terminations: Metal layers on each end that connect the capacitor to the PCB.



SMD MLCCs possess several characteristics that make them an attractive choice for electronic design:

  • High capacitance density: MLCCs can store more energy per unit volume than other capacitor types.
  • Small size: SMD MLCCs are compact, making them ideal for high-density PCB designs.
  • Low equivalent series resistance (ESR): ESR is the internal resistance of a capacitor, and MLCCs have very low ESR, resulting in minimal energy loss.
  • Low cost: Compared to other capacitor types, SMD MLCCs are relatively inexpensive.



SMD MLCCs are used in a wide range of applications, including:

  • Decoupling and filtering: MLCCs are used to filter and decouple power supply lines, reducing noise and electromagnetic interference (EMI).
  • Coupling and bypassing: MLCCs are used to couple and bypass signals in audio, video, and radio frequency (RF) applications.
  • Resonant circuits: MLCCs are used in resonant circuits, such as oscillators and filters, due to their high Q factor (quality factor).
  • Power supply and energy storage: MLCCs are used in power supply systems, such as DC-DC converters and energy storage systems.



While SMD MLCCs are an excellent choice for many applications, they do have some limitations:

  • Voltage rating: MLCCs have a limited voltage rating, typically up to 100V.
  • Temperature range: MLCCs are sensitive to temperature, and their capacitance can vary significantly with temperature changes.
  • Moisture sensitivity: MLCCs can absorb moisture, leading to reduced capacitance and reliability issues.
  • Equivalent series inductance (ESL): ESL is the internal inductance of a capacitor, and MLCCs can have a significant ESL, affecting high-frequency performance.



Surface Mount Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors are an essential component in modern electronics, offering high capacitance, small size, and low cost. Their applications are diverse, from decoupling and filtering to resonant circuits and power supply systems. While they have some limitations, careful selection and design consideration can ensure reliable and high-performance operation.