Coupling & Crosstalk: Over Connected?

July 15, 2015

Apple-Watch-Shinya_Suzuki_flickr17078894786_ec2467b9e6_o_crop_600x551Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Summer 2015 edition on pages 11-12.

Electronic coupling is the transfer of energy from one circuit or medium to another. Sometimes it is intentional and sometimes not (crosstalk). I hope that this column, by mixing technology and general observations, is thought provoking and “couples” with your thinking. Most of the time I will stick to technology but occasional crosstalk diversions may deliver a message closer to home.

Over Connected?

I’m torn. Should I buy an Apple Watch? Is this an ego trip or clearly a left versus right brain decision? Regular readers of my column know how much I appreciate Jony Ive’s designs and that Apple generally does an excellent job of both engineering and marketing. However, those who are familiar with my work and personality know Read the rest of this entry »


MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 4

December 6, 2012

Can reliability and production testing keep pace with the explosive growth in  microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based product volumes? Soon it will be the rare consumer product that does not include a MEMS device bringing us closer to the possibility of a $1 trillion MEMS market. In order to achieve greater adoption of the technology, cost and quality goals will need to be met through testing and reliability. This was the focus of the MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 conference produced by MEMS Journal and MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Council (MEPTEC).

 

Session 4

Mervi Paulasto-Kröckel (Professor, Aalto University) in “On the Reliability Characterization of MEMS Devices” examined the current methods for reliability assessment in MEMS devices and identified necessary improvements. Currently, the reliability of MEMS devices are evaluated in the functioning state. A sensor is tested by applying a known stimulus and comparing the sensor output while varying the test conditions such as temperature, humidity, etc. MEMS actuators are similarly tested by providing a known input and measuring the output of the actuator over the range of test conditions. Significant deviation between the expected and measured result indicates a failure. Simple functional test is appropriate for manufacturing quality testing however it is inadequate for measuring and improving device reliability.

Professor Paulasto-Kröckel compared these processes commonly used to estimate MEMS reliability to those used in the microelectronics industry. She identified major methodology changes required  Read the rest of this entry »


MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 3

November 13, 2012

Can reliability and production testing keep pace with the explosive growth in  microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based product volumes? Soon it will be the rare consumer product that does not include a MEMS device bringing us closer to the possibility of a $1 trillion MEMS market. In order to achieve greater adoption of the technology, cost and quality goals will need to be met through testing and reliability. This was the focus of the MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 conference produced by MEMS Journal and MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Council (MEPTEC).

 

Session 3

Pavan Gupta (Vice President of Operations, SiTime) provided a cautionary tale in “Packaging and Reliability Qualification of MEMS Resonator Devices”. Historically many MEMS companies have failed to start the device and package co-design as early as possible even though packaging was upwards of 80% of the product cost. [Perhaps they aren’t really using a concurrent engineering methodology?] Even though the cost of packaging has dropped significantly, the complexities and risks related to packaging remain high.

There are many challenges related to MEMS packaging since without a reliable and qualified package, it is not possible for one’s customers to easily and confidently integrate a MEMS product into their end product. In SiTime’s case they had a double challenge of Read the rest of this entry »


MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 2

November 6, 2012

Can reliability and production testing keep pace with the explosive growth in  microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based product volumes? Soon it will be the rare consumer product that does not include a MEMS device bringing us closer to the possibility of a $1 trillion MEMS market. In order to achieve greater adoption of the technology, cost and quality goals will need to be met through testing and reliability. This was the focus of the MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 conference produced by MEMS Journal and MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Council (MEPTEC).

Session 2

Mårten Vrånes (Director of Consulting Services, MEMS Journal) in “A Test-centric Approach to MEMS ASIC Development” discussed alternatives to the traditional co-design of the MEMS element and application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). As many MEMS devices require an ASIC to control and/or sense the MEMS element the most logical approach is to design both parts in parallel. However the scope of such a development effort is often beyond the resources – both in terms of talent and funding – for many companies especially startups.

Mr. Vrånes started with the challenges and pitfalls of ASIC development for MEMS devices. There are challenges regardless of Read the rest of this entry »


MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 1

October 31, 2012

It was my pleasure to attend the MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 conference to see the considerable progress made in these areas as microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based product volumes accelerate. We may soon get to the point where it will be the rare consumer product that does not include a MEMS device bringing us closer to the possibility of a $1 trillion MEMS market. But in order to achieve greater adoption of the technology, cost and quality goals will need to be met through testing and reliability, the focus of this conference produced by MEMS Journal and MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Council (MEPTEC).

Session 1

Mario Correa (MEMS Test Engineering Manager of Fairchild Semiconductor) started with “Evolution of MEMS Test Solutions” reviewing how test equipment and processes have evolved from the 1960’s to today. There have been major changes to test methods developed for non-MEMS sensors first used with military and aerospace MEMS sensors in the late 1960’s where the annual volume was measured in thousands of units to those used today for over three billion units shipped yearly to the consumer electronics market. It has been a challenge keeping up with the high triple digit growth rates from 2009 to 2012 including gyroscopes +189%, microphones +347%, and digital compasses +778%. MEMS accelerometers grew “only” +78% during this period. (Growth data per Yole)

These changes include Read the rest of this entry »