Miniaturization of electronics

Breakthrough advantages in industrial and space product development

Miniaturized computing power for tough tasks and hostile conditions
ÅAC Microtec’s miniaturized electronics systems tolerate the explosive forces of being launched into space and the hostile conditions found there. Furthermore, we make them up to 200 times smaller and 70 times lighter than conventional solutions.

One of our devices – packed with high-performance, FPGA-based computing power – weighs just 3 grams. That includes a complete functional system containing logic, memory, power-handling and control interfaces for micromechanical sensors – an all-in-one solution known as a system-in-package (SiP).

Small, light and very robust
For demanding applications where space is at a premium, SiP solutions beat standard circuit-board approaches every time. Smaller, lighter, more robust and much easier to locate, they offer breakthrough advantages for developers of industrial products. Handling distributed intelligence in the joints of robotic arms and improving the performance of advanced construction equipment and power tools are tasks that our SiP solutions accomplish with ease. In addition, testing complex microchips by attaching interposers developed with XiVIA™ TSV technology will increase chip yield and cut the cost of production.

Fast and efficient. Easy to integrate
All our devices feature a high package density, which means fewer interconnect routing problems and reduced time delay for high-speed signals. They are also flexible and easy to integrate. nanoRTU, for example, functions either as an onboard computer with redundant interfaces or as a standard interface module with plug-and-play capabilities. Finally, their small size and weight makes it easy to build in redundancy for critical applications. Whatever your application, we offer fast time-to-market product development plus volume manufacturing.

Benefits

By making electronic systems smaller and packaging them together with MEMS sensors/actuators, you gain a wide range of different advantages.

Robust
The lighter the system, the less it is effected by mechanical vibration and acceleration. Thanks to our space heritage, our products have been designed from the outset to withstand extreme conditions including radiation.

Ubiquitous sensoring
With extremely small MEMS sensors and 3D packaged electronics you can place sensors virtually anywhere. For example, you could monitor equipment in harsh environments, in real-time, to help increase reliability and uptime.

System redundancy
Due to the small size and weight of our products, it is simple to build redundancy in critical applications.

Heat management
ÅAC Microtec miniaturized systems are based on silicon or ceramic substrates which offer far superior heat management than conventional PCB technology. In addition, our products can tolerate extreme temperature swings (-120 °C to 220 °C) due to the materials and proprietary processes used.

Faster, more efficient
We achieve a high package density by stacking vertically. This results in fewer interconnect routing problems, less time delay for high speed signals (reduced crosstalk), less thermal problems, plus a more robust system. In other words, our technology provides excellent performance/mass/volume ratios.

Multifunctional and easy to integrate
Despite their small size, our products are flexible and easy to integrate. For example, the miniaturized product can be compliant with the space plug-and-play avionics (SPA) standard and function either as an onboard computer with redundant interfaces or as a standard interface module with plug-and-play capabilities.

In figures, we make electronics 15-70 lighter and 30-200 times smaller compared to conventional solutions. In practice, one of our instrument control computers – complete with 40 MIPS of computing power and field programmable gate array (FPGA) – weighs in at just 4 grams.

Assembly and packaging

Thin film instead of bond wires
Instead of relying on bond wires to make electrical connections, we have developed high density, fine pitch interconnects using thin film deposition. The advantages are many: faster transfer of information, less crosstalk, better heat conduction and simplified manufacturing. Due to the efficient dissipation of heat, fans are often made unnecessary.

Through silicon vias (TSV)-holes instead of bond wires
To connect the vertically stacked wafer substrates, we have developed a technique that makes extremely robust vias through the silicon wafers. This proprietary technique, XiVIA™, is available for licensing.

SEM picture of ÅAC robust through silicon via (TSV), XiVIA™

XiVIA™ is a low-resistive (metallic) via compatible with silicon substrates ranging from thinned 300 µm to 800 µm wafers. The typical resistance of a 180 µm diameter via in a 300 µm substrate is less than 10 mΩ. XiVIA™ technology enables interposers, stacked memories (MCP), POP, wireless-SIP, WLP RP-SIP, 3D-system-on-chip (3D-SOC). XiVIA™ is extremely robust and has been space qualified, and was e.g. used in the development of the European Space Agency (ESA) motion control chip (MCC).

Mounting of bare dies
A bare electronic die is in itself very small. It is the die’s individual packaging that increases its typical size. At ÅAC Microtec, we have succeeded – with the help of our thin film technology and under bump metallization (UBM) processes – in mounting fine pad pitch dies directly on silicon and ceramic substrates. In this way, we are able to manufacture complete systems – containing dies and MEMS sensors – in an extremely small package.

MCM/SiP (multi-chip module/system-in-package) with BGA interposer designed, prototyped and produced by ÅAC Microtec using XiVIA™ technology. Both SiP and interposer contain TSV interconnections.