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Automated Measurement of Passive Devices in Printed Circuit Assemblies

Description:

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Microelectronics OBJECTIVE: Design and implement a system that would automate the measurement of passive electronic components (capacitors, inductors, and resistors). The components can be measured in place or removed and measured in an automated fashion. DESCRIPTION: Manual measurement of passive devices requires a large amount of human resources to complete, involving handling of small components and manual measurement techniques, which are labor intensive and prone to human error. Automation of this process would reduce manual steps resulting in faster throughput, improved accuracy, and reduced risk of data loss for reverse engineering applications where samples may be limited or irreplaceable. The Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) is interested in an automated solution for the measurement of passive devices (resistors, capacitors, and inductors) [1, 2, 4]. A system which can perform these functions does not currently exist in the marketplace. The system may utilize DMEA’s in house automated flying pin prober as a potential solution [3]. Applications for an automated measurement solution for passive devices on printed circuit board (PCB) include reverse engineering of near obsolescent equipment for the creation of technical data packages, automation of general counterfeit detection, and verification of manufactured solutions for quality assurance purposes [3, 4]. Requirements of the tool are as follows: 1. A tool which can achieve 99% size and electrical characteristic measurement accuracy of 95% of all surface mount technology capacitors, inductors, and resistors of standard package types ranging from 01005 (.4mm X .2mm) through 2920 (7.5mm X 5.1mm) from a PCB assembly used in high frequency communications application of medium to high circuit density. 2. For those devices that cannot be measured accurately in place, identify a method of flagging which components will have to be measured manually. It is essential that the operator know which of the measurements are outside of the tools range, so that follow up measurement can be performed for accurate results. 3. Tool chamber should be suitable to accept electrostatic discharge (ESD) sensitive PCBs up to 12-inch by 12-inch dimensions. PHASE I: Conduct research to design tool that can identify and measure passive components (capacitors, inductors, and resistors) on printed circuit assemblies. The tool may remove components in an automated way and then measure them, measure them in place, or some combination of the two approaches. For in-place measurement solutions, it can assumed that the layout of the PCB can be acquired separately and traces connecting the target component may be severed if necessary. The end product of Phase I is a feasibility study report, in which the following must be specified: 1. A clear description of how the tools works. 2. Total cost of the tool including installation and operator training. 3. Maintenance requirements. 4. A clear description of facilitation of the tool (power requirements, clean dry air, cooling, etc.) 5. Skill level or special training requirements for the operator of the tool. 6. Limitations on automated measurements (for example, component sizes, component types or values, component layouts, etc.). 7. What information is required as input? 8. What if any manual steps are still required? PHASE II: Develop a prototype of the Phase I concept and demonstrate its operation. Validate the performance in a way that realistically demonstrates how the technology would be deployed. This demonstration will include scalability of the technology in terms of capacity, accuracy, cost, and time. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: There may be opportunities for further development of this innovation for use in a specific military or commercial application. During Phase III, the contractor may refine the performance of the design and produce pre-production quantities for evaluation by the Government. The proposed technology will be applicable to both commercial and government fields for analysis of printed circuit assemblies. Government applications include reverse engineering, automation of general counterfeit detection, and failure analysis of printed circuit card assemblies. Commercial applications could include verification of printed circuit assemblies and validation of manufacturing processes. REFERENCES: 1. M. Helmy Abd El-Raouf and M. H. A. Raouf, "Fully automated capacitance measurement system using new precise capacitance box," 2016 Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements (CPEM 2016), 2016, pp. 1-2, doi: 10.1109/CPEM.2016.7540612. 2. E. Wiss, R. Metasch, D. Barth, V. Serea, M. Roellig and S. Wiese, "Electrical diagnostics of passive components failure during reliability testing," 2022 23rd International Conference on Thermal, Mechanical and Multi-Physics Simulation and Experiments in Microelectronics and Microsystems (EuroSimE), 2022, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1109/EuroSimE54907.2022.9758860. 3. F. Chou et al., "Robotic Measurement System for High-speed PCB Electrical Characterization," 2021 16th International Microsystems, Packaging, Assembly and Circuits Technology Conference (IMPACT), 2021, pp. 35-37, doi: 10.1109/IMPACT53160.2021.9696780. 4. J. Hsu et al., "Robotic System with Intel® Automatic In-Board Characterization for Customer Board Design Quality Check," 2021 16th International Microsystems, Packaging, Assembly and Circuits Technology Conference (IMPACT), 2021, pp. 119-122, doi: 10.1109/IMPACT53160.2021.9696481. 5. Chou et al., "Robotic Measurement System for High-speed PCB Electrical Characterization," 2021 16th International Microsystems, Packaging, Assembly and Circuits Technology Conference (IMPACT), 2021, pp. 35-37, doi: 10.1109/IMPACT53160.2021.9696780. 6. J. Hsu et al., "Robotic System with Intel® Automatic In-Board Characterization for Customer Board Design Quality Check," 2021 16th International Microsystems, Packaging, Assembly and Circuits Technology Conference (IMPACT), 2021, pp. 119-122, doi: 10.1109/IMPACT53160.2021.9696481. KEYWORDS: Reverse engineering, Technical Data Package, Test and Measurement of Passive Devices, Microelectronics, PCB automation, Anti-Counterfeit
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