The GROWTH - HiT
project funded under the CRAFT
scheme is developing an electron-optical device for the automatic operation
of high temperature micromaterial tests on electronic components. The
technique will permit image-based measurement of surface deformation and
numerical finite elements modelling.
A wide variety of nanoscaled materials are currently
used in advanced microtechnology, medicine and microbiology. Product functionality
depends on their reliability, and there is a growing demand for materials
with an operational temperature range of up to 300°C. This in turn
gives rise to a need for easy-to-use measuring and testing technology
for determining quantitatively the reliability parameters of nanoscaled
The thermo-mechanical reliability of micromaterials
can be predicted through mathematical modelling of material behaviour
and computer simulation. Further development of nano-technologies therefore
requires suitable numerical modelling methods, accurate techniques for
measuring the material parameters on which the modelling is based, and
corresponding techniques for model verification.
Currently available equipment can only be used for
measuring single nanoscaled parameters and describing electronic characteristics.
At present, few research laboratories have ways of determining nanoscale
thermo-mechanical material parameters, and these are purpose-made, manually
controlled prototypes. HiT will therefore develop a testing technique
that uses a high-temperature electron-optical microscope for verifying
finite element models of correlation-based specimens or images.
||A pool of specialised
Four SMEs and four RTD performers make up the
HiT project partnership. The sheer variety of specialised knowledge
required in different fields, from image processing to finite element
methodology, requires a multi-national collaboration.
Project leader Rolf Kühnert, CEO and R&D
manager of Image
Instruments GmbH in Chemnitz, Germany, says that the combination
and complementarity of the partners' skills is ideal for achieving
the project's goals. His own firm is specialised in digital image
correlation and deformation analysis. The Czech partner Tescan
is one of the world's most experienced scanning electron microscope
(SEM) manufacturers. Swetest
in Stockholm is a market leader in the testing equipment sector
and EOS from
Dortmund provides SEM related services. The RTD performers include
Packaging Research Center in the United States, one of the most
experienced research facilities worldwide, working for all of the
50 largest American electronics companies. Mr Kühnert believes
that its contribution to the project is enormous, both in terms
of scientific results and technology implementation.
||How the 'HiT test'
The new nanoscale material testing device will
comprise four main aspects: a digital scanning electron microprobe
for recording surface micrographs in non-regular surface regions
of interest (ROI); an in-situ radiation heating stage with tensile
option for defined specimen positioning and deformation; a PC interface
board for automatic test control; and a software package to control
and evaluate the test procedure.
The HiTest, as the device will be known, will
include unique testing abilities for high temperature components
in electronic packaging. The key innovation is in the optimisation
of numerical modelling and reliability parameter computation of
micro and nano materials in high temperature applications. The device
will also be helpful in the definition of specific standards for
reliability of a wide range of products
High quality, reliable nanoscale materials play
an important role in the performance and safety of all kinds of
high-temperature electronic (HTE) devices, from simple consumer
goods to sophisticated medical, energy, transport or manufacturing
systems. Improving product reliability through increased failure
prevention in the design phase can have a positive influence on
safety by reducing malfunctions of all kinds of control equipment.
It is estimated that there is a 15-20% scope for improvement.
The largest potential application is a 200-250°C
technology for engine control systems in the automotive and aerospace
sectors. These energy-intensive industries are coming under increasing
environmental and economic pressures to improve efficiency and reduce
costs. In the microelectronics sector, there is significant potential
for use of the technology in the development of products such as
advanced semiconductors, die attached materials, packaging techniques
and printed circuit boards.
||A European stake
in the world HTE market
Time to market is estimated at nine months after
the completion of the project. HiT will also help the SME participants
to become leading suppliers of the equipment and associated services.
They already have good contacts with a range of potential customers,
such as Siemens and Philips. A marketing strategy for Asia will
need to be developed, and GeorgiaTech will provide a vital inroad
to the US.
Bearing in mind recent international HTE sector
studies, the partners have made a realistic forecast of a 5-20%
potential market share within five years. They may even form a joint
marketing organisation to increase their impact.
Comprehensive details on the results of the
first year's work are provided in Status Report R1, which can be
downloaded at http://www.ktms.de/HiT/index_mem.html
Research aimed at improving the reliability
of high temperature micromaterial tests on electronic components
is supported under the Growth Programme's generic activity in
'Measurements and testing'.
HiT - High-Temperature Micromaterial Testing