Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Article Type: Editorial From: Circuit World, Volume 37, Issue 3
The inexorable introduction of advanced consumer electronics products offering new features and enhanced functionality is a key driver of innovation across all sectors of the industry. These products have been made possible by the emergence of new semiconductor devices with ever greater numbers of I/Os over diminishing surface areas. This, in turn, has necessitated the use of novel packaging solutions, which in addition to their own complex internal interconnections, require increasingly high density substrates to provide the connections of the assembled units. As has been the case for several decades now, the demand for smaller size and greater sophistication continues to provide many challenges, not least in terms of providing reliability at a reasonable cost. The fact that the electronics industry continues to be able to address these challenges successfully is, in no small part, down to the development of new materials and processes that can provide novel device packaging and high density interconnect (HDI) solutions.
This issue of Circuit World begins with a detailed discussion of HDI design principles by Happy Holden of Foxconn and Charles Pfeil of Mentor Graphics. Globally, HDI continues to be the fastest growing segment of the printed circuit board market and, with its ability to accommodate fine-pitch components, it is a key enabler of ongoing electronics miniaturization, both now and for the future. While there are many different proprietary approaches to HDI, it is interesting to consider the key design aspects, since it is often not always easy to determine when the move should be made away from conventional multi-layer board based interconnects.
Reliability is another of the key requirements of the electronics industry and there are still certain failure mechanisms that continue to cause problems and which need a more detailed analysis of their causes. Two such examples of related failure modes are black pad and tin whiskering. These have both been known for many years and have received the attention of numerous researchers, yet they are still not fully understood. It is interesting, therefore, that this issue of Circuit World features individual papers reporting some of the more recent work that has been carried out on these important causes of failure in electronic equipment.
As circuit boards have become increasingly complex, the challenges of testing them properly have also grown and there is a need to provide more efficient methodologies for providing fast and accurate testing. The fourth paper in this issue details work carried out in India to address this problem via the development of a new algorithm, based on boundary scan architecture, to test off-chip interconnect faults.
I do hope that you enjoy reading these papers and find them useful. As always, I welcome your feedback and comments and can be contacted by e-mail at: email@example.com