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Assessing the impact of six solder mask options on under-component cleanliness.

Why consider solder mask selection as a factor that can affect cleaning process effectiveness? The solder mask impacts the component standoff height. Of the three options – solder-mask defined (SMD), non-solder-mask defined (NSMD), or no solder mask (NoSM) – NoSM can increase the standoff height, which may enhance the cleaning process. Standoff height will vary depending on board design and component selection, so it is difficult to quantify standoff height for each solder mask selection and specific component. Reference TABLE 1 for average standoff heights for specific component groups.1

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A trillion-dollar industry remains exposed to knockoff parts that are sometimes electrically superior to the real thing.

Thousands of words have been written on the preponderance of fake parts. Scores of solutions have been presented, from x-raying suspect devices to using boundary scan software to applying DNA taggants to authentic components at OCM factories, not to mention that old destructive standby cross-sectioning.

Organizations such as SAE have written standards governing inspection and test procedures, workmanship criteria, and even training and certification requirements on the art of counterfeit device detection.1 The US government has codified use of detention and prevention measures in its annual defense budget.

And yet …

Why are counterfeits still so prevalent in the electronics supply chain?

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SLPs with lines and spaces <35µm are ahead.

Ed.: This is the ninth of an occasional series by the authors of the 2019 iNEMI Roadmap. This information is excerpted from the roadmap, available from iNEMI (inemi.org/2019-roadmap-overview).

The iNEMI Roadmap defines portable and wireless devices as “high-volume consumer products for which cost is the primary driver, including handheld battery-powered products driven by size and weight reduction.”

A significant portion of this sector continues to be dedicated to the relatively mature but still evolving and growing smartphone/phablet/tablet. Although the market segment is mature, the content and functionality of premium tier smartphones are increasing exponentially with the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). A major emerging growth area in this sector is personal activity monitors, or wearable electronics, which are becoming widely adopted, especially among the more urban and suburban areas of the US and other advanced nations.

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Updates in silicon and electronics technology.

Ed.: This is a special feature courtesy of Binghamton University.

Smallest on-chip optical modulator has switching speed up to 11Gb/s. University of Rochester researchers have created the world’s smallest modulator for photonic integrated circuits, augmenting communications, computing, and photonics research. The device consists of a thin film of lithium niobate (LN) bonded on a silicon dioxide layer to create a modulator that, besides being small, operates at high speed and is energy-efficient. The modulator occupies an electro-optical modal volume of 0.58µm3 and has a modulation bandwidth of 17.5GHz, switching speeds of up to 11Gb/s and a tuning efficiency of up to 1.98GHz/V. Applications include communications, computing, and quantum photonic information processing. (IEEC file #11886, Laser Focus World, 8/27/20)

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A marginally larger package would cut design times and improve PCB yields and performance.

Most electronics engineers know there is no 1.1mm BGA or CGA package. Because we are forced to use a 1mm pitch package, we live with tradeoffs. A slight increase in the pitch size, however, could satisfy the needs for today’s high I/O pin count designs.

This conclusion comes from my observations of building Class 3 and aerospace 1mm pitch products, and the challenges, setbacks, redesigns, returned product, and field failures we all endure.

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Electrical and physical characteristics play a role in high-accuracy detection.

Most multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC) have no marking and cannot easily be distinguished from their package, which gives unscrupulous vendors opportunities for fraud. Here, the authors introduce several test methods for MLCC compliance verification, namely 1) the effect of DC bias on capacitance, 2) capacitance temperature characteristics, 3) high-voltage testing of DCW (dielectric withstand voltage) and IR (insulation resistance), 4) cross-section (dielectric layer and terminal comparison for flex types), and 5) electron microscopy (EDS) material analysis to match with known good device chemical composition.

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