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 »


Green on the Industrial Scale

May 21, 2012

Molecular Layer Deposition of Polymers – George, Yoon & Dameron [4]

Many exotic materials or materials with special properties are processed using extreme temperature and pressure often with toxic starting materials. In semiconductors, molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to build single crystal structures and sputtering are common methods of physical deposition to deposit thin films. Both are done using a very high vacuum. MBE heats the atomic materials until they sublimate and land on the desired surface. Sputtering uses a gas plasma to knock a few atoms of material off a “target” and onto the desired surface. There are also different chemical deposition processes including electroplating which uses metal salts dissolved in a solution bath, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) which uses high vacuum, and atomic layer deposition (ALD) which is similar to CVD but uses two half-reactions of gas phase precursors

Limitations imposed by extreme temperature, extreme pressure, and toxic materials combined with a typically slow deposition rate make it is difficult to economically run these processes on an industrial scale for high volume manufacturing. But what if there was a process that  Read the rest of this entry »


Memory Technology – Off to the Races!

April 17, 2012

Speed and Power

If we were focused on just these two parameters, we could be talking about horses, cars, or airplanes. But throw in density, endurance, and price and it is a horse race of different color. Not only does the winning technology have to balance speed and power, it needs to pack more functionality per area at a lower cost than existing solutions. Along with the endurance to last ten or more years.

With annual revenues once exceeding $60 B and now running $45 B due to dropping demand and prices, the global market for semiconductor memory is an exciting race. It is hard to believe that NAND Flash has grown to Read the rest of this entry »


IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Session 1 – Energy Generation and Storage

June 7, 2011

US Energy Flow 2009 (LLNL)

Here are the highlights from Session 1 – Energy Generation and Storage of the recent IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council Symposium:

Dr. Dania Ghantous, V.P. Technology of Qnovo: “Lithium-Ion Batteries: Opportunities and Challenges”

Dr. Ghantous provided an overview of lithium-Ion (Li-ion) battery technology and market since Qnovo is still in “stealth mode”. She did say that battery life, charge time, and cost are Read the rest of this entry »


IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium 2011 – Keynote

May 19, 2011

Dr. Narayan

The IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council held their 7th annual symposium this week. As in the past, the council presents an excellent program. This year’s program focused was “Nanotechnology – Consumer Applications.”

Here are my notes from the keynote presentation by Dr. Spike Narayan, Functional Manager IBM, “Nanotechnology: Leveraging Semiconductor Technologies to Address Global Challenges.”

He asks: can we leverage semiconductor technology to address global challenges of environment, energy, healthcare, and water? Others have made a compelling argument that Read the rest of this entry »