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MEMS Packaging and Reliability

Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) have captured the interest of the public with their promise to miniaturize existing systems. Although much of the excitement surrounding MEMS has died down, real applications are beginning to emerge. MEMS accelerometers for games, automotive, and wireless applications have emerged. MEMS inkjet chips are now ubiquitous, and new applications for RF and sensors are in development. One of the most challenging aspects of MEMS is packaging. Forces that normally do not affect meso-scale objects must be understood and controlled at the micro-scale. This has created a number of challenges related to the packaging of these components. MEMS Packaging is a 2-day course that offers detailed instruction on the design and modeling of MEMS packages. We place special emphasis on surface-to-volume ratio issues, electrostatics, liquid wetting, inertia, and other parameters. This course is a must for every manager, engineer, and technician working in semiconductor packaging, using MEMS components in high performance applications or new packaging configurations, or supplying packaging tools to the industry.

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Refund Policy

If a course is canceled, refunds are limited to course registration fees. Registration within 21 days of the course is subject to $100 surcharge.

What Will I Learn By Taking This Class?

By focusing on the fundamentals of MEMS packaging, participants will learn why advances in the industry are occurring along certain lines and not others. Our instructor works hard to explain MEMS packaging without delving heavily into the complex physics and materials science that normally accompany this discipline.

Participants learn basic but powerful aspects about semiconductor packaging. This skill-building series is divided into four segments:

  1. MEMS Market Overview. Participants understand the driving market forces behind MEMS packaging. They review the technology trends, the market segments, and the major manufacturers and suppliers.
  2. MEMS Technical Basics. Participants review the basic wafer processing steps for MEMS devices, including deep reactive ion etching, wet etching, patterning, CMP, and more. They also discuss the major research activities occurring in the MEMS area.
  3. MEMS Assembly, Testing, and Packaging. Participants learn the fundamentals of packaging concepts for MEMS devices. They learn about bonding, printing, backgrinding, structural release, wirebonding, flip chip attach, cleaning, encapsulation, and basic testing. They discuss the challenges and tradeoffs associated with each topic.
  4. MEMS Reliability. Participants learn MEMS reliability issues and associated analysis and simulation techniques. They also learn about the physics and mechanics issues involved in reliability degradation of MEMS devices.

Course Objectives

  1. At the end of the course, participants will understand the major issues associated with MEMS Packaging.
  2. They will also know how MEMS devices are fabricated and packaged.
  3. Participants should be able to identify areas within MEMS Packaging where development is occurring.
  4. The attendees will gain an understanding of process activities like backgrinding, structural release, clean, and encapsulation.
  5. Participants will gain a basic understanding of testing MEMS devices.
  6. The participants will learn about reliability aspects of MEMS devices, in particular, reliability issues associated with the packaging process.
  7. Finally, the participants can interact with the instructor to discuss specific items and directions of interest at Kulicke and Soffa regarding MEMS assembly and test.

Course Outline

  1. MEMS Market Overview (downplay this activity, but do enough to get everyone on the same page)
    1. Types of devices, applications, volumes, growth rates
    2. Technology trends
    3. Major device manufacturers
    4. Major assembly and test equipment manufacturers
  2. MEMS Technical Basics
    1. Overview of Device Processing and Manufacturing Techniques
      1. Summary of MEMS fabrication processes
      2. Overview of what’s going on at R&D Centers in MEMS
      3. Major equipment suppliers by process step
      4. Backend/packaging level – who is doing what?
      5. Environmental considerations in MEMS fabrication and assembly processes
    2. The Impact of Packages and Assembly Processes in MEMS Device Operation
    3. High-level method of operation of device types and the role of packaging for each
      1. Pressure Sensors and microphones
      2. Inertial sensors: accelerometers and gyroscopes
      3. Magnetic sensors: compasses and Hall sensors
      4. Optical MEMS: displays and imagers
      5. RF MEMS: switches, time bases, and relays
      6. Fluidic MEMS: ink jets, Lab on a chip, DNA analysis
  3. Assembly, Packaging and Testing Processes (this should be the major portion of the course)
    1. Material topics for MEMS packaging
      1. Classes of materials used in MEMS packaging
      2. Critical material parameters for MEMS packages
    2. Bonding, Joints and Adhesion Processes
      1. Theory of bonding and adhesion
      2. Wafer bonding
      3. Thermocompression bonding and welding
      4. Soldering and brazing
      5. Sealing glasses and frit bonding
      6. Polymer bonding processes
    3. Printing, Plating and Dispensing
      1. Screen and stencil printing
      2. Metallic plating
      3. Dispensing processes
    4. Wafer Backgrind, Singulation and MEMS Release
      1. MEMS structural release
      2. Wafer backgrinding processes
      3. Wafer singulation (dicing) topics
      4. Interaction and tradeoffs between release and singulation
    5. Considerations in MEMS Die Attach
      1. Die attach process overview
      2. Unique factors in MEMS die attach
      3. Interaction between MEMS types/structure and process requirements
      4. MEMS die attach materials and processes
    6. Wirebonding MEMS devices
      1. Wirebond process overview
      2. Unique factors in MEMS wirebonding
      3. Interaction between MEMS types/structure and process requirements
      4. MEMS wirebonding materials and processes
    7. Flip Chip technologies as applied to MEMS
      1. Flip Chip process overview
      2. Unique factors in MEMS Flip Chip
      3. Flip chip materials and processes for MEMS
    8. Hermetic package assembly
      1. Principles of hermeticity, permeability and outgassing
      2. Vacuum and specialty gas sealing and gettering
      3. Hermetic packages styles
    9. Non-Hermetic Package Assembly
      1. Molding and encapsulation
      2. Plastic and substrate package styles
    10. Chip Scale and Wafer Scale Packages
      1. Wafer-level packaging process overview
      2. Types of wafer-level packages
      3. Thru-Silicon Vias (TSVs)
    11. Tradeoffs in MEMS Packaging and Assembly Processes
      1. Hermetic vs. non-hermetic packages
      2. Wirebond vs. flip chip vs. TSV
      3. Integration of MEMS release in the assembly process
      4. Wafer-scale vs. component scale packaging
      5. One chip vs. two chip solutions – what are the drivers?
    12. MEMS Inspection
      1. Special Cleaning Requirements
    13. MEMS Test Considerations
      1. Wafer-level MEMS testing considerations
      2. MEMS testing during product development
      3. End of Line MEMS testing
    14. Throughput requirements per process step
      1. Handling formats and systems
      2. Handoffs between steps
  4. MEMS Reliability
    1. Overview of reliability and qualification test types
    2. Typical failure mechanisms
    3. Materials related issues
    4. Process related issues
    5. Assembly equipment features that improve reliability

Instructional Strategy

Our courses are dynamic. We use a combination of instruction by lecture, problem solving, and question/answer sessions to give you the tools you need to excel. From the very first moments of the seminar until the last sentence of the training, the driving instructional factor is application. The course notes offer hundreds of pages of reference material that the participants can apply during their daily activities.

Our instructors are internationally recognized experts. Our instructors have years of current and relevant experience in their fields. They're focused on answering your questions and teaching you what you need to know.

Instructor Profile

Leland “Chip” Spangler Ph.D.

Leland 'Chip' Spangler

Dr. Spangler received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from The University of Michigan in 1988 after receiving his BSE(82) and MSE(84) also from Michigan. He is currently CTO and Vice President of Development at Treehouse Design, Inc. where he is responsible for leveraging electronic technologies to provide unique product solutions to a wide variety of customers. Dr. Spangler maintains a business, Advanced Microsystems, LLC, that provides consulting services to military, aerospace and medical customers for microsystem design, advanced packages and assembly processes.

Prior to joining Treehouse Design, Chip was the President and CTO of Aspen Technologies. By focusing on creating unique and effective solutions for customers using advanced semiconductor assembly technologies, he created engineering and manufacturing organizations that provided package solutions to customers. Through this effort he was able to help the company quadruple in size in just 8 years. Some of the most successful programs that he was responsible for at Aspen include very high performance IC packages for Agilent, ultra-miniature hermetic packages for medical applications, microfluidic devices for DNA analysis, packages for harsh environments including underwater and down-hole applications, as well as a wide range of optical MEMS devices including the key MEMS component for the world’s highest pixel count laser displays (>60 Meg pixels). Dr. Spangler and his partners sold Aspen Technologies in January of 2011.

Prior to working at Aspen Technologies, Chip was employed at Ford Microelectronics where he had responsibility for a wide range of microelectronic programs including analog ICs, pressure sensors, micro- machined fuel injectors, as well as airbag and chassis accelerometers. Many of these devices were qualified and manufactured in high volume. Dr. Spangler headed up the team that designed, engineered and qualified the world’s first plastic packaged MEMS airbag accelerometer.

Dr. Spangler is the author of over 30 technical publications and 10 patents. He is currently an Associate Editor for the IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (JMEMS). He serves on the International Steering Committee for the IEEE Transducers Conference, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Transducers Research Foundation. He has served on Technical Program Committees for the MEMS Conferences, SPIE Meetings, as well as other conferences. He was the General Chair for the 2008 Hilton Head Solid State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems Workshop, and he was the Technical Program Chair for the 2006 Hilton Head Meeting. More recently he was the Local Arrangements Chair for the 2009 Transducers Conference, which was held in Denver, Colorado.