Silicon Semiconductor Essay
The follow-up product to my silicon semiconductor would be to specialize in microelectronic packaging. My product would be used primarily in high reliability components that undergo complete testing and screening to Aerospace specifications. I would use source control drawings to further refine these standards to specific product processing specifications demanded by unique system designs. Microelectronic packaging is the custom packaging and encapsulation of a desired semiconductor or microcircuit in high reliability housings. These special housings are designed to meet or enhance a semiconductor’s performance. Many new power devices coming to market require special cooled surfaces or connections to maximize component thermal characteristics. My product would help provide unique metal or ceramic housings to meet each customer’s mechanical, thermal, or power handling needs.
Today, many state-of-the-art microcircuits are released in plastic cases, which serve only commercial or industrial uses. My product would be able to be housed in hermetic, metal or ceramic housings for operation under adverse conditions. Custom-packaged semiconductors either fill voids in today’s manufacturing system designs, or provide a competitive edge to companies competing in the military marketplace. Most semiconductors used in the Aerospace sector require better thermal characteristics, improved electrical characteristics, or guaranteed radiation hardness.
When using these semiconductors in space, it can be costly and tricky. An expensive satellite must stay grounded until every component is delivered. Controlling the project time clock is often critical in custom packaging. In order to save time and money, we would exercise the idea of emergency project builds. For example, a component which may take up to 50 weeks to finally ship from major semiconductor OEMs would be delivered in 20 weeks or less. All custom manufactured semiconductor and microelectronic packaging components would undergo 100% screening to Mil-Std process flows. Samples from each lot would then be further tested for compliance to Quality Conformance Inspection (QCI) specifications.
As defense contractors continue to downsize and more semiconductor manufacturers stop supporting the defense industry, the long-term continuations of many projects are now in jeopardy. Carrying a fully finished component inventory is often cost-prohibitive. In order to be cost effective, we could establish a die/wafer bank to help in solving this technology availability problem. This approach would help minimize program investment, preserving an on-going technology while creating a pay-as-you-go program that meets companies yearly product needs.
Contrary to the belief of many in the semiconductor industry, the possession of an old mask set is not an answer to resurrecting old technology. An old mask sets do not mean old parts are manufacturable. Mask sets are designed for use on one specific silicon process line. Any change to that line (a new piece of equipment, a new wafer size or adding another process technology), affects all the products run on that line. It is the old process with the old mask set and the old equipment that can produce obsolete devices. Applying an old mask set to a new or different wafer fab with different equipment and processing to newer techniques is identical to reinventing the integrated circuit from scratch.
The design of a replacement microcircuit using today’s CAD/CAM tools, newer semiconductor processing equipment lines and standardized wafer fabrication process rules can more practically produce a microcircuit on the first try. When using a 15-year-old mask set and process the re-inventing process may take up to four iterations to complete.