Product Information: Technical Topics

Conductive Polymer Aluminum Solid Electrolytic Capacitors "PZ-CAP"

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Under the concern on depletion of global resources due to global warming, radical growth of developing countries and population increase in cities and developing countries, effective utilization of energy is becoming to the common subject, for which many countries have started projects for smart grid, smart city and smart community.
In electric and electronic field, development of products contributing to global warming and reduction of CO2 emission is now popular. In such circumstances, the market is demanding downsizing and higher performance of electronic devices including aluminum electrolytic capacitor, which is the main product of Rubycon.
Conductive polymer aluminum solid electrolytic capacitor ("Solid Electrolytic Capacitor") has the advantages such as wide operation temperature range, compact, low ESR and high resistance against ripple current, but the only disadvantage is low working voltage under 35V. Then the applications of the capacitor have been restricted as a component of 25V or lower.
Rubycon has brought PZ-CAP (Photo-1) to the market realizing high withstand voltage with the original technologies, while many capacitor manufacturers have been developing Solid Electrolytic Capacitor at high operation voltage. PZ-CAP Series is described in this paper.

PZA Series / PAV Series
(Photo-1)Winding type Conductive Polymer
Aluminum Solid Electrolytic Capacitors
"PZA Series" / "PAV Series"
Rated Voltage25~63V.DC25~63V.DC
Capacitance Range10 ~ 220µF22 ~ 220µF
Category Temperature Range-55 ~ +105ºC-55 ~ +105ºC
Load Life105ºC 3,000hours105ºC 3,000hours

PZ-CAP Standard Size

PZA Series
Size : Φ D×L (mm)
Ripple : mA r.m.s/105ºC,100kHz
ESR : mΩ ,Max/20ºC,100kHz
Size ESR Ripple
25 100 8×10 29 2000
120 8×12.5 27 2400
180 10×10 27 2400
220 10×13 26 2800
35 22 6.3×8 64 900
33 8×8 55 1200
56 8×10 29 1900
82 8×12.5 27 2300
100 10×10 27 2400
150 10×13 26 2700
50 12 6.3×8 81 800
18 8×8 63 1100
33 8×10 32 1900
39 8×12.5 29 2200
47 10×10 29 2300
68 10×13 28 2600
63 10 8×8 75 1000
22 8×10 35 1800
27 8×12.5 33 2100
33 10×10 31 2200
47 10×13 29 2600
PAV Series
Size : Φ D×L (mm)
Ripple : mA r.m.s/105ºC,100kHz
ESR : mΩ ,Max/20ºC,100kHz
Size ESR Ripple
25 100 8×12 31 2000
120 8×15 29 2300
180 10×12 29 2400
220 10×15 28 2800
35 68 8×12 34 1900
82 8×15 31 2300
100 10×12 29 2300
150 10×15 28 2700
50 33 8×12 36 1700
39 8×15 34 2000
47 10×12 30 2200
68 10×15 29 2600
63 22 8×12 37 1700
27 8×15 35 2000
33 10×12 31 2200
47 10×15 30 2500
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Need of High Working Voltage for Solid Electrolytic Capacitor

Conventional aluminum non-solid electrolytic capacitor ("Al Electrolytic Capacitor") uses liquid electrolyte to work through ion conduction as transfer of electric charges. On the other hand, Solid Electrolytic Capacitor uses electron conduction for such transfer, so that conductivity is 4 or 5 digits higher than that for Al Electrolytic Capacitor, which means superior ESR. It is the reason why Solid Electrolytic Capacitor is good for electronic equipment requiring quick response or high resistance to ripple current.

However conventional Solid Electrolytic Capacitor had poor working voltage not higher than 25V because of less anodic oxide restoration ability of conductive polymer than liquid electrolyte, so that applicable circuits were restricted. Then expectation of high working voltage in Solid Electrolytic Capacitor has been increasing for down sizing and realization of higher performance in electronic equipment.

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Features of PZ-CAP

PZ-CAP is the product covering from 35 to 63V, which has realized high working voltage beyond the conventional limit voltage of 25V through Rubycon's original polymer technology. The capacitors of the series have the values of impedance and ESR at high frequency range much lower than those for Al Electrolytic Capacitors, so that the capacitors are applicable to high ripple current applications. The capacitors also have smaller characteristic changes where ambient temperature varies widely, as well as long life at actual operating temperature.

Expectations of PZ-CAP is as follows:

  • Smaller size and lower ESR than Al Electrolytic Capacitor realize downsizing of electronic equipment.
  • Large capacitance relieves electronic equipment from use of multiple Al Electrolytic Capacitors, so as to cut costs.
  • Less characteristic change allows use of small Solid Electrolytic Capacitor instead of much larger Al Electrolytic Capacitor, so as to contribute to downsizing of electronic equipment.
  • Stable operation in low and ultra low temperature ranges allows removal of extra circuits required for Al Electrolytic Capacitor.
  • Long life at room temperature reduces maintenance costs of electronic equipment used in remote locations or at height.
  • Solid Electrolytic Capacitor is applicable to potting and use of desiccant, both of which have been restricted for Al Electrolytic Capacitor that uses liquid electrolyte.
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Technical Elements in High-voltage PZ-CAP

It is necessary to describe why withstand voltage of conventional Solid Electrolytic Capacitor has been low, in order to explain Rubycon’s original technology for improvement in the withstand voltage.

Many polymers have been examined for Solid Electrolytic Capacitor, since Dr. Shirakawa who won the Nobel Prize has discovered conductive polymer. One of such conductive polymers is poly-3,4-dioxithiophene (PEDOT).

In the conventional Solid Electrolytic Capacitor, conductive polymer was synthesized in the capacitor element. The polymerization reaction of conductive polymer is shown in Fig-1. Monomer ethylene dioxithiophene (EDOT) is synthesized into polymer (PEDOT) through oxidation polymerization. A highly acidic iron compound is used as an oxidant for the polymerization.

PEDOT Polymerization process
Fig-1 PEDOT Polymerization process

The polymerization affects capacitor's characteristics, reducing withstand voltage and life.

The cause of reduction in capacitor's withstand voltage is considered to be hydrogen ion produced in the polymerization, which attacks oxide film on the surface of anode foil.

The iron compound and the strong acid remain in the capacitor element even after the polymerization, which could cause increase of leakage current or short circuit in hot life test or humid life test. Then methods to remove such risks have been examined.

The key point in production of such capacitor is polymerization of highly conductive PEDOT and filling the polymer over the element. Stabilizing agents and reaction control agents are inevitable to obtain stable capacitor performance. But it is unable to use stabilizing agents and reaction inhibitors hindering such polymerization. Another problem is that addition of stabilizing agents is difficult after polymerization since element is fully covered with polymer.

The concept of development of PZ-CAP is effective filling of PEDOT and retention of high performance of capacitor element together with inclusion of stabilizing agents. Production factors of PZ-CAP are as follows:
(a) To remove attack of hydrogen ion to anode foil in polymerization
(b) To use PEDOT not including iron compounds or strong acid as well as residue of polymerization
(c) To effective fill PEDOT over capacitor element
(d) To add stabilizing agents and reaction inhibitors to maintain reliability of capacitor in hot life and humid life tests.

PZ-CAP Series adopting high-purity PEDOT realizes high working voltage with the minimum damage to capacitor element. The new filling method brings high capacitance and low ESR.

In the new series not accompanying polymerization within capacitor element, easy addition of stabilizing agents and reaction inhibitors drastically improves reliability of the capacitor. Such stabilizing agents and reaction inhibitors restore oxide film of anode foil as well as in Al Electrolytic Capacitor, if the oxide is damaged. The image of the new stabilizing agents is shown in Fig-2.

Aluminum anaolized film repair (Image) by characteristic stabilizing agent
Fig-2 Aluminum anaolized film repair (Image) by characteristic stabilizing agent

The stabilizing agents and reaction inhibitors have no adverse effect on capacitor in practical use and life tests as well as in initial characteristics, but keep capacitor in good performance. The amount of such agents has carefully been designed to be enough through the life of capacitor even with a severe environment.

Graph-1 shows the data (variation in capacitance and ESR) for 63V capacitors, which have first been realized. The graph reveals stable performance over the long period.

High temperature load test result of PZ-CAP(Capacitance change/ESR)
Graph-1:High temperature load test result of PZ-CAP(Capacitance change/ESR)

Graph-2 shows temperature characteristics from -55 to +105ºC. Variation of capacitance and impedance for PZ-CAP is quite small over the temperature range, while capacitance and impedance of Al Electrolytic Capacitor start reducing at -25ºC and are very low under -40ºC.

ESR - Temperature Characteristics
Graph-2:ESR - Temperature Characteristics

We have successfully developed high voltage Solid Electrolytic Capacitor that fully utilizes withstand voltage of capacitor element itself from production process to the end of life, through improvement in resistance to short circuit and provision of high film restoration ability.

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Applications of High Voltage PZ-CAP

Downsizing and reduction in component count of electronic equipment are expected as major applications of this series. Then we conducted comparison of output noise for our power supplies.
PZA capacitor (35V-150µF Φ10×13L) was used as output filter capacitor, while 3pcs of non-solid electrolytic capacitor (35V-680µF Φ12.5×30L) was used in parallel as the control.(Fig-3,Fig-4)
The level of output noise for a PZA capacitor was almost equal to one for the three electrolytic capacitors, so that PZA capacitor can take over conventional electrolytic capacitors. As shown in Photo-2, substitution with PZA capacitor reduces occupation on circuit board so as to contribute to downsizing of the instrument.

Output noiseof  Polymer aluminum Electrolytic capacitors

Fig-3:Output noise of
Polymer aluminum
Electrolytic capacitors 3pcs
Vp-p = 97mV

Output noise of PZA 1pc

Fig-4:Output noise of "PZA" 1pc
Vp-p = 81mV

Loading example to Rubycon’s power supplys
Photo-2 : Loading example to Rubycon’s power supply

Conductive polymer has less characteristic variation as the change in ambient temperature, so that less-volume solid electrolytic capacitor takes over aluminum electrolytic capacitor having much larger size. It also contributes to downsizing of equipment.

Comparison of output noise was conducted with actual circuit board.(Fig-5,Fig-6)
The used circuit is a universal output circuit. A PZA capacitor(35V-82µF,Φ8×12.5L) was compared with a non-solid electrolytic capacitor(35V-220µF,Φ10×12.5L).
Level of output noise for the PZA capacitor was equivalent to one for the electrolytic capacitor at, but the difference at -40ºC was remarkable such that noise of PZA was almost equivalent to at +25ºC, while noise of electrolytic capacitor was 8 times higher.
The temperature of -40ºC is reasonably expected as an atmosphere at high altitude or in a high-latitude region. Then it is quite important and advantageous that circuit for lighting unit, outdoor base station and automobile instrument covers from room temperature to -40ºC.

Load output circuit example
Fig-5: Load output circuit example

Comparison of Output ripple noise
Fig-6: Comparison of Output ripple noise

Circuit drive frequency is increasing, and lower ESR and impedance are required as semiconductor material has been changed into GaN from Si or SiC. PZ-CAP is ideal for such circuits.
An inverter circuit is shown in Fig-7 as an example. PZ-CAP having low ESR and impedance is quite useful to filters of Gate Drive Circuit and DC Brushless Motor, both of which are DC circuits.
In addition to the above applications, PZ-CAP having higher working voltage than conventional conductive polymer capacitor will expand to further fields requiring low ESR, high ripple current and low-temperature characteristics.

Proposal example in the inverter circuit by PZ-CAP
Fig-7 : Proposal example in the inverter circuit by PZ-CAP


PZ-CAP covers high voltage range that has never been covered by conventional Solid Electrolytic Capacitor, and is expected as a high-performance capacitor for the applications such as low ESR, high ripple current, stability in low temperature and long life.

We, at Rubycon, are expanding lineup of Solid Electrolytic Capacitor as an electronic device for wide applications.

Downsizing of electronic equipment will further advance in the views of costs, performance and environment preservation. Then we are proactively addressing to developments of non-solid capacitor, film capacitor and electric double layer capacitor, in addition to Solid Electrolytic Capacitor.

* This article was published in the column "High technology" on the Dempa Shimbun dated on Jan. 30, 2013 and Aug 8,2013 with some additions and amendments made later on.

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