Coupling & Crosstalk: Roller Coasters & Proverbs

Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Spring 2020 edition on pages 9-10.

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.

Roller Coasters & Proverbs

Are you the type of person who flips to the end of the book to see how the story ends before starting it? Or one who reads the online reviews with the plot summary – including the spoilers – before watching the movie? If so, do you want to know how the coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic turns out? Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Roller Coasters & Proverbs”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Trust your Paranoia!

Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Winter 2019 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.

Trust Your Paranoia!

President Ronald Reagan’s use of the Russian proverb “Doveryai, no proveryai was the perfect soundbite to describe the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. What does this and Andy Grove’s “only the paranoid survive” have to do with semiconductors? Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Trust your Paranoia!”

Coupling & Crosstalk: KGD Redux?

Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Fall 2019 edition on pages 9-10.

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.

KGD Redux?

Known Good Die (KGD) – Is this a case of “everything old is new again” or acid reflux from a mature semiconductor industry?  Today there is a greater need than ever to know that a given semiconductor die is good before proceeding to package it.  This particular quest for the holy grail has provided plenty of Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: KGD Redux?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: 5 Thoughts About 5G

Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Summer 2019 edition on pages 9-10.

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.

5 Thoughts About 5G

1 – Just in time.  The cell phone has Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: 5 Thoughts About 5G”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Project Management – What me worry?

Courtesy of Mr. Murphy!

Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Summer 2018 edition on pages 8-9.

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.

Project Management – What me worry?

Alfred E Neuman’s famous “What me worry?” quote should always be in your thoughts at the optimistic beginning of any project. As reality kicks in and the project grinds on-and-on you will finally start remembering Andy Rooney’s somber, pragmatic quotes.  Project success will depend on your team’s ability to Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Project Management – What me worry?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: “We are on fire!” – Good News, Bad News, or Both?

on_fire_canstockphoto44691393_300x240Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Fall 2017 edition on pages 7-8.

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.

“We are on fire!” – Good News, Bad News, or Both?

When a business is said to be on fire does strategy go out the window? It is curious that fire or fire-related terms are used to characterize two extreme states of business. A business on fire may think they are like a professional athlete Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: “We are on fire!” – Good News, Bad News, or Both?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Smoke and Mirrors? A Failure in Three Acts

credit card house of cards canstockphoto22380257_250x250Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Summer 2017 edition on pages 10-11.

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.

Smoke and Mirrors? A Failure in Three Acts

Wow, that’s cool and I really want one! In fact it is a perfect solution to _______. Those are typically my first Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Smoke and Mirrors? A Failure in Three Acts”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Quality, Meet Safety & Security!

Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Winter 2016 edition on pages 8-9.

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.

Quality, Meet Safety & Security!

What can be simpler to specify or install than a light bulb controlled by a wall switch? Over-engineered versions, especially when developed without engineers, can really cause you to lose sleep. However, the real nightmare is the danger of Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Quality, Meet Safety & Security!”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Avoiding Ruts and Nuts!

ruts-canstockphoto9368594_450x300Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Fall 2016 edition on page 8.

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.

Avoiding Ruts and Nuts!

We just completed a fantastic trans-Canadian family road trip! The highlights included Glacier National Park in Montana along with Banff & Jasper National Parks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The trip provided the right amount of “disconnecting” both physically, (or should I say wirelessly?), and mentally. During this time I observed a number of ruts of the repetitious, not the sexual Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Avoiding Ruts and Nuts!”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Engineering: The Solution to Software Quality!

house of cards canstockphoto10105769 200x300Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Winter 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.

Engineering: The Solution to Software Quality!

Who is an engineer? In a recent Atlantic article, “Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers”, Ian Bogost argues strongly that software developers should not be called engineers based upon several factors including quality, professional licensure, and liability. Mr. Bogost includes examples of where software has failed even as it has become critical infrastructure. Having struck a nerve, there are several notable rebuttal articles and thousands of comments on the original article.

But instead of arguing over who should be called an Engineer Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Engineering: The Solution to Software Quality!”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Headlines, trend lines, or expertise?

Shanghai Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower
Shanghai Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower
 
Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Fall 2015 edition on pages 10-11.

 
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.

Headlines, trend lines, or expertise?

The recent stock market sell-off caused significant emotional distress to many investors who were caught off-guard. Looking past “the sky is falling” headlines, what business lessons Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Headlines, trend lines, or expertise?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Over Connected?

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 Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Over Connected?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Products or Services?

products-services-canstockphoto10272610-300x300Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Spring 2015 edition on pages 10-11.

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.

Products or Services?

Paper or Plastic?” A simple grocery store inquiry? Think again: this decision has many layers of complexity as does the examination of products versus services. There have been endless discussions as to the benefits and downsides of paper, versus plastic, bags. Everything from environmental concerns, to reusability, to biodegradability, and much more has been deliberated. Just when we thought that the paper bag had Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Products or Services?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: First World Problems

hurdles-canstockphoto10553904 800x475Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Winter 2014 edition on pages 10-11.

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.

 

First World Problems

Returning home with a carload of food for our Thanksgiving feast, we discovered our garage refrigerator had died. The only appropriate response other than panic was to Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: First World Problems”

Coupling and Crosstalk: Medically Deficient Technology

hosptial canstockphoto16671639 600x400
Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Fall 2014 edition on pages 10-11.

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.

 

Medically Deficient Technology

It has been a very challenging month helping my best friend who has been in an intensive care unit (ICU) following a stroke. It has been very difficult emotionally seeing him incapacitated as he makes a slow recovery with many ups and downs.

As expected, in a top-rated Silicon Valley hospital, technology abounds and permeates all aspects of patient care. However, I’ve observed many examples where Continue reading “Coupling and Crosstalk: Medically Deficient Technology”

Coupling & Crosstalk: MVP for Hardware Development?

feature box canstockphoto15992543 300x341Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Summer 2014 edition on page 8.

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.

MVP for Hardware Development?

Just like professional sports leagues, lean product management has MVPs! Sports teams try out players, compete, and then end the season with “Most Valuable Players” and champions. Unlike sports, winning product managers start out with Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) early on to Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: MVP for Hardware Development?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Priorities First! Or Last? Or Not At All?

pina colada - canstockphoto1826026
 Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Fall 2013 edition on page 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.

 

Priorities First! Or Last? Or Not At All?

Do I confuse being busy with being productive?

Does being efficient help me reach my goals?

What should my goals be?

Maybe I’m too much of a management geek since I spend my “lazy” summer days thinking about these topics instead of working on my tan.  Okay, truth be told Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Priorities First! Or Last? Or Not At All?”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Name Calling

good bad dice canstockphoto9654181 250x320Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Summer 2013 edition on pages 13-14.

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.

Name Calling

What’s in a name? A lot! A name itself might not mean much but it can trigger expectations and stereotypes. In the United States we have red states and blue states depending on which political party has the majority vote. Similarly, when someone labels themselves on the basis of their political party affiliation (Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, etc.) others Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Name Calling”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Measuring Up

bathroom scaleCoupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Spring 2013 edition on page 14-15.

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.

Measuring Up

Tap to turn on. Wait for it to zero. Step on. I haven’t lost any weight, still 205 pounds even with all this exercise and careful eating? Step off, step back on. 212 pounds. Damn, wrong answer. Step off, step back on. 206 pounds. Okay maybe the first reading was right. Optimistically record 205 pounds. Does this nightly dance sound familiar? Not only are bathroom scales the bearer of bad news, their Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Measuring Up”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Quality for the Long Haul?

Quality SealCoupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Winter 2012 edition on page 12-13.

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.

Quality for the Long Haul?

Does a manufacturer’s responsibility and interest in quality end when the warranty expires?

When is death premature? People have life expectations based upon family and societal statistics as well as their health. Mechanical devices, especially those with moving parts, have estimated lives and known wear out mechanisms. Cars currently have an average age of 11 to 13 years of useful life which allows consumers to set reasonable expectations of service life. What about electronics? What is a reasonable expectation of service life?

I had a few devices at home fail recently which makes me wonder about Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Quality for the Long Haul?”

MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 4

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  Continue reading “MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 4”

MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 3

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 Continue reading “MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 3”

MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 2

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 Continue reading “MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 2”

MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 1

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 Continue reading “MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 1”

Coupling & Crosstalk: Painting Lessons

Joseph and Della Ready to Paint

Coupling & Crosstalk is my new column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Fall 2012 edition on page 10.

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 like this one may deliver a message closer to home!

Painting Lessons

It is time for our nine-year old twins to have their own bedrooms. The first step was to paint the rooms since the last time they were painted was well over ten years ago. Throughout the process I was reminded of many management and life lessons. Is this a worthwhile do-it-yourself (DIY) project? Does this first question set off the alarm bells? Can you Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Painting Lessons”

Thinking Big: $1 Trillion MEMS Market – Part 2

Part 1 described Janusz Bryzek‘s ambitious goal of a $1 trillion market for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that was the focus of the MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Council (MEPTEC) 10th annual MEMS Technology Symposium. In addition, sensor swarms, road mapping and market numbers were covered. Challenges, example applications, and key takeaways are discussed here along with a final score card on the $1 T market.

Continue reading “Thinking Big: $1 Trillion MEMS Market – Part 2”

Thinking Big: $1 Trillion MEMS Market – Part 1

Usual business advice includes thinking big to win big. Some organizations create Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Others like to find new markets that are underserved and grow to be number one. The semiconductor industry has Moore’s Law – the premise that the minimum cost point is achieved by doubling the number of transistors per chip every two years – driving it forward for almost fifty years.

Janusz Bryzek set a dramatic and ambitious goal of $1 trillion sales for the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) market in 2022. Even though the MEMS market is expected to have “only” $12 billion in revenue in 2012, he isn’t being called a fool. Having cofounded eight seminal Silicon Valley MEMS companies and currently the Vice President of MEMS Development at Fairchild Semiconductor (which recently acquired his last company), Janusz is taken quite seriously.

Yes, at last week’s MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Council (MEPTEC) 10th annual MEMS Technology Symposium there were some who  Continue reading “Thinking Big: $1 Trillion MEMS Market – Part 1”

Big Numbers – The Semiconductor Supply Chain

…To make sense of the big picture, one needs to follow the money and then head to China.

Ed Pausa the primary author of PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) recently published report “Continued Growth: China’s Impact on the Semiconductor Industry – 2011 Update” provided an overview at this month’s MEPTEC luncheon. His presentation was a helpful tour to start digesting this impressive report, now it its seventh annual update. The report runs 112 pages in length and is packed with figures, data and most importantly analysis. Building a cohesive picture from many disparate data sources is a major undertaking and PwC should be applauded for making available this excellent work.

After listening to this presentation and reading the report, I find two items that really stand out as primary market forces. Unraveling the convoluted web of the semiconductor supply chain to examine these items will lead to greater understanding of the industry. They are, Continue reading “Big Numbers – The Semiconductor Supply Chain”

Semiconductor Packaging: 2.5D, 3D, and Beyond!

MEPTEC's 2.5D, 3D and Beyond Packaging Conference

The MEPTEC2.5D, 3D and Beyond – Bringing 3D Integration to Packaging Mainstream” conference was a mixed-bag. Yes, it is always exciting to hear about new suppliers and progress. But it is disconcerting to realize that the price of progress is an ongoing burden on our industry’s supply chain.

Subramanian Iyer (IBM) and Theresa Sze (Oracle) started with Continue reading “Semiconductor Packaging: 2.5D, 3D, and Beyond!”

Semiconductor Wafer Test Technology and Trends: Lessons for MEMS Test Engineers

Lessons for MEMS Test Engineers
Click image to download presentation

The MEMS Testing and Reliability 3rd Annual Conference gets high marks: excellent speakers focused on an emerging topic and it was large enough to have “critical mass” while allowing everyone to interact. It was well produced by MEMS Investor Journal and MEPTEC.

My presentation, “Semiconductor Wafer Test Technology and Trends: Lessons for MEMS Test Engineers“, covered the differences between testing semiconductors and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). I reviewed the progress in test technology over the last fifty plus years, from simple cantilever probe cards to large full wafer contact probe cards, developed to reduce the cost of test.

I discussed lower cost solutions that appear counter-intuitive since they require increased technical and operational complexity. Challenges of testing MEMS devices while still on wafer (prior to packaging and singulation) were discussed along with a review of MEMS solutions at this year’s IEEE Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop.

With the proper skills, experience, and perspective it is possible to avoid “re-inventing the wheel” and to develop the best strategy to profitably introduce new technologies to high volume manufacturing.