Tantalum capacitors with polymer cathode systems (sometimes called Polymer Electrolytic Capacitors) have outstanding characteristics that make them the preferred choice, from a technical point of view, for many applications. However, historical concerns over the sourcing of raw materials, and the stable supply and pricing of components continue – sometimes, and in some companies – to overrule engineering judgement. These concerns can force designers to choose a second-best solution instead of ensuring that the best available technology is designed into each project to deliver superior performing products to the market.
Technical advances, improvements in the tantalum supply chain, and discoveries of new and commercially reachable deposits of tantalum ore have taken away any justification for choosing a substitute technology in applications where tantalum would be the ideal solution.
Developments in Tantalum Supply Chain
The first section of this paper describes the technical advantages of tantalum polymer capacitors, and how and why they offer a superior solution to other capacitor technologies. The second section looks at the reasons behind some companies’ reluctance to use tantalum capacitors and discusses how these fears have been eliminated by developments in the supply chain in recent years. Today’s tantalum capacitors are better by design and safe for business.