Current Issue

CE Marking

“How to CE Mark Your Product”

Author: Philip King; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Abstract: CE marking your new product is not as difficult or as expensive as one might think. Many entrepreneurs worry that the process will drain them of cash, bury them in regulation and paperwork and leave them exposed if they do not do it exactly right. If you are clever about it, it is none of these.

The first thing to understand is that there is no such thing as a perfectly certified CE product. The amount of time you invest in it is up to you, but the responsibility for making sure you have invested enough is also up to you. It is a self-certification process. It will be necessary to make sure the administration is strictly controlled. It must be issue controlled and properly backed up. An enormous amount of money can also be saved by designing for EMC properly and going to the EMC test house properly prepared. (Company white paper, July 2013)


“Guidelines for Ensuring PCB Manufacturability”

Author: Nolan Johnson; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Abstract: This white paper discusses ways to troubleshoot a number of common problems in the design-to-manufacture process. It explores a number of straightforward ways to increase the manufacturability of PCBs. It looks at such issues as the mismatch between DfM rules and component footprints, and at integrating backend DfM tools. (Company white paper, January 2014)

IP Protection

“How to Patent a Product”

Author: Philip King; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Abstract: If you have an idea and are wondering whether a patent is appropriate, there are three tests to apply to confirm that the idea is patentable: 1. It must be novel. 2. It must be commercially applicable. 3. It must have an inventive step. This white paper gives an overview of the journey from idea to patent. (Company white paper, February 2014)

Package Reliability

“Parametric Fault Testing and Performance Characterization of Post-Bond Interposer Wires in 2.5-D ICs”

Authors: Li-Ren Huang, Shi-Yu Huang, K.-H. Tsai and W.-T. Cheng; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Abstract: This paper addresses the testing and characterization of interposer wires in a 2.5-D stacked integrated circuit, which is essential for yield learning and silicon debug. The proposed method provides a number of distinctive features beyond previous works on interposer wire testing. First, the authors target not only catastrophic types of faults (such as stuck-at faults or hard bridging faults), but also parametric types of faults (including both resistive open faults and resistive bridging faults between interposer wires). Second, the method can also be used to characterize the propagation delay across each fault-free interposer wire. (Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on, March 2014)

Solder Materials

“Local and Global Properties of a Lead-Free Solder”

Z. Ma, F. Chalon,  R. Leroy, N. Ranganathan and B.D. Beake; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Abstract: Elastic and viscous properties, including Young’s modulus, hardness, creep rate sensitivity, and fatigue resistance of Sn-1.2Ag-0.5Cu-0.05Ni lead-free solder, have been investigated. The properties of bulk specimens and in situ solder balls were compared. Experiments show good correlations of Young’s modulus and creep rate sensitivity between conventional measurements and nanoindentation results on bulk specimens. Further mechanical properties of the beach-ball microstructure in solder balls were characterized by nanoindentation. The load-partial unload technique was used to determine variation in mechanical properties with increasing depth of penetration into the intermetallic inclusions in the in situ solder. Fatigue resistances of the bulk specimens and solder balls were compared using the novel nanoimpact method. In comparison with bulk specimens, it was found that in situ solder has higher Young’s modulus, lower creep strain rate sensitivity and better fatigue resistance. The effects of soldering and the scale differences strongly affect the mechanical and fatigue properties of in situ solder. (Materials Science & Technology Conference, October 2012)

This column provides abstracts from recent industry conferences and company white papers. Our goal is to provide an added opportunity for readers to keep abreast of technology and business trends.

Bryan Germann

The mist-based dispensing method is adept at putting micron-sized lines on non-planar surfaces.

Aerosol Jet technology is a fine-feature material deposition solution used to directly print functional electronic circuitry and components onto low-temperature, non-planar substrates.

Aerosol Jet printing functions on the principle of generating a mist through atomization of a nanoparticle colloid solution. Nanoparticle materials liquids, or inks as they are generally called, are made up of nanoparticle solids, solvents and organic binders and even some polymer resins, which are included to make the ink perform on different substrates. These inks must have a certain viscosity and particle sizing in order be printed with aerosol jet. That viscosity is generally less than 500 centipoise (cP), and the particle size must be under 100nm.


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Electronics additive manufacturing can output the same result as conventional PCB methods, but getting there is a much different process.

Read more: Design Implications of Additive Technologies on Circuits

Eight things you should do when your PCB vendor has been acquired.

Your printed circuit board supplier has been acquired. Will this acquisition benefit you as a board buyer? Or will it lead to higher prices and a reduced level of service?


The reality is that your relationship with the supplier and the level of service will likely change. Here are steps you can take to protect your PCB supply chain.

1. Don't wait to be visited by the new supplier team, especially if the acquired firm was a big part of your PCB spend. Request a meeting sooner rather than later. Pay attention to how receptive the new supplier is to the meeting and be ready to ask as many questions as you need to get the lay of the land.

Read more: Protecting Your Supply Chain

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