The Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering has established a world-class electronics miniaturization capability to facilitate research and development programs aimed at advancing the state-of-the-art electronics packaging.
NDSU’s Research 2 facility, which opened in 2004, contains a 14,500 square foot cleanroom wing including 6,500 square feet of class 100 and class 10,000 space to support electronics research, development, miniaturization and prototyping activities. A wide range of equipment including die bonders, wirebonders, a Surface Mount Technology (SMT) line and a sputter deposition system, to name a few, have been installed in the cleanrooms. These facilities are used in R&D for both Department of Defense programs and for private sector sponsored research programs. A full-time technical staff of industry experienced engineers and technicians operate the facility and support the research programs.
To support its Department of Defense Center of Excellence mission and industry research and development needs, CNSE is equipped to provide long-term access to the military and industry for electronics technologies for research and development purposes:
- Chip-Scale and Advanced Packaging—Advanced semiconductor packaging technology transferred from Tessera, Inc., an international leader in the electronics packaging industry, and in-house developed processes and technologies.
- Sapphire processing capability to provide through-sapphire via for sapphire device stacking for sapphire device 3D packaging and sapphire interposer for silicon and sapphire 2.5D densification.
- LEAP (Laser Assisted Assembly Process), a CNSE-developed process, for touch-less rapid small device assembly directly from wafer to leadframe of substrate.
- Packagaing and systems assembly materials research, development and in-house qualification capabilities.
- Flip chip, sensors and MEMS R&D support with in-house fabrication equipment and processes such as RDL, bumping and metal pillar formation.
- Fluidic Self-Assembly—an advanced manufacturing process technology for flexible electronics transferred from Alien Technology Corporation, a worldwide leader in the RFID industry.
Reliability is an important aspect of electronics miniaturization. CNSE initatives in this area include thermal and mechanical research for electronics packaging. The research involves materials characterization, moiré strain measurements and finite element model development. A particular focus area is solder joint reliability. Included in these efforts are investigations into the effects of lead-free solder and optimization of underfill to improve electronics packaging reliability. A variety of test equipment is installed at CNSE to be used for reliability testing of prototypes and for validation of reliability simulation models.
CNSE also has substantial capability in failure analysis of electronics assemblies. Mechanical cross-sectioning equipment, X-ray imaging, X-ray diffraction, a scanning electron microscope and numerous other equipment items are available at CNSE providing an extensive set of tools to support failure analysis.