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 Expert  722725

Expert in Electronic Components: System Reliability, and Failure Analysis


Available for your Consulting and Expert Witness Needs

Arizona (AZ)
USA
Education Work History Career Accomplishments Consulting Services Expert Witness

Summary of Expertise: Listed with other top experts in: 
Expert notes that active electronic elements such as transistors, diodes, integrated circuits, ASICs, MMICs, hybrid microelectronic devices, and MCMs are the basis for all electronic systems. Expert's depth of knowledge in the design, construction, and manufacturing processes of these devices supports his efforts in component part selection, application, and failure analysis. This depth comes about from the many years over which he has visited a large number device manufacturers in order to understand their procedures and construction techniques and to assist them in resolving issues related to all aspects of the equipment life cycle. These issues include procurement and delivery problems due to unclear specifications and inability to meet specification requirements; manufacturing problems such as high failure rates and low yields due to the use of improper materials and processes; quality problems due to improper inspection, incorrect inspection techniques and testing; post shipment and post system delivery problems and field failures. Expert utilizes his knowledge to support engineering design groups with the selection of component parts suitable for their applications. This entails understanding the environmental requirements of the systems being designed, as well as the special needs of customers ranging from NASA and commercial space system builders to military systems, telecommunications systems and commercial products.

Expert worked in and managed an aerospace electronic component failure analysis laboratory for 33 years, and he continues to perform this task as needed for his clients. He has performed root cause analyses on virtually every type and style of circuit element failure, including printed wiring boards, ceramic and organic substrates, solder joints and mechanical parts. In performing and directing these activities, he has designed and developed techniques unique to the needs of the aerospace community. As a worker and a manager, Expert shared his knowledge through internal training programs, customer training programs, and especially through subcontractor and manufacturer training. This sharing tradition continues today through training services offered by the consultancy. As an experienced practitioner in the field, he is best qualified to determine the equipment and facilities needs of the failure analysis laboratory. He utilizes his knowledge of analytical equipment selection, layout planning, environmental controls planning, support facilities and services planning to support clients in the development of their failure analysis laboratories.

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active electronic element

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integrated circuit

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electronic device design

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voltage reference diode

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aerospace electronic component failure analysis

Expert utilizes destructive analysis in two very different ways, using closely related techniques. He most commonly uses destructive analysis as a part of failure analysis. In the structured failure analysis process, he reaches a point where all possible information has been derived from the failed circuit component without performing any operations that reduce the integrity of the item. At that point he changes to destructive processes for careful disassembly and close observation, photographing and documenting his observations. Expert continues the destructive disassembly process and observation until he determines the root cause of the failure. He uses many types of tools for disassembly, as a function of the construction of the device. The tools he employs for disassembly range from hammer and chisel to plasma etcher. The observational equipment he uses includes low and high power microscopes, scanning electron microscope (SEM), electron scanning chemical analysis (ESCA), and Auger analysis. The second use of destructive analysis, also known as destructive physical analysis (DPA), has as its goal the determination of whether the delivered item meets certain aspects of the quality requirements under which it was procured, and also validation that the device is good enough for it's intended use. The use of DPA is common to both commercial and government space programs. Expert uses the same destructive and observational techniques as those he uses in failure analysis, however the DPA does not usually progress beyond visual inspection, wire bond pull testing, die shear testing and SEM evaluation of the metalization pattern. He continues to develop and train in the use of many DPA procedures.

Expert notes that burn-in test is at the heart of most device or equipment screening programs. He has devised burn-in programs for most types of component parts. He has developed optimization tests to adjust burn-in times so as to reduce the impact of burn-in time on delivery schedules. By studying the characteristics of particular devices over several burn-in intervals he has validated the use of reduced burn-in with little or no impact on the reliability of the end item. He uses failure reporting and analysis techniques to identify the failure mechanisms during burn-in to provide a closed loop corrective action system (a.k.a. failure reporting and corrective action system, or FRACAS) to eliminate or reduce the numbers of failures. Expert notes that burn-in test is a component of both environmental stress screening (ESS) and highly accelerated stress test (HAST). Although the approaches are significantly different, the common goal is to shake down the equipment and make early failures occur while the equipment is still in the hands of the original equipment manufacturer. FRACAS is also used with these approaches, since the ongoing desire is to find the causes of failure and eliminate them on a forward going basis.

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destructive analysis

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burn-in test

Selection of electrical and electronic components is a primary strength of Expert's background. He has more than 35 years of experience in selecting components for use in military systems, commercial and government space systems, telecommunications systems and commercial systems. His approach, though highly structured, is simple. He examines each candidate part in light of suitability for the intended application. The electrical and environmental stresses to be applied are compared to the component ratings, to determine that there is sufficient operating margin between the ratings and the stresses. He researches the quality history of the manufacturer, as well as any reported reliability problems that could compromise the mission. Where a proposed part does not meet suitability criteria, he researches and suggests one or more suitable alternatives. Where a proposed part is similar to another part already approved for use elsewhere in the system, he recommends use of that part. Expert is a strong proponent of standardizing the parts used in a system, to reduce proliferation of part numbers. He has designed and implemented parts control program plans for many programs.

Although Expert does not provide electronic design services, he is intimately involved in all aspects of this function. In order for Him to be able to perform component selection, he must understand the circuit design. The same is true for stress analysis, where he must dissect the electronic circuit design to calculate the electrical stresses applied to the parts. He provides full parts, material, and process design review, which necessitates an intimate knowledge of the electronic circuit design. Other aspects of his services include failure reporting and corrective action systems (FRACAS). The essence of FRACAS is that failure of circuit elements due to overstress is found and appropriate corrective action taken to reduce the stress or find a more suitable part. Expert employs his circuit design analysis experience for this activity.

Expert has performed root cause analyses on virtually every type and style of electronic circuit element failure and printed wiring boards, ceramic and organic substrates, solder joints and mechanical parts. In performing these analyses, he has designed and developed unique techniques to meet the needs of the aerospace, military, telecommunications and commercial communities. As a worker and a manager, Expert shared his knowledge through internal training programs, customer training programs and especially through subcontractor and manufacturer training. This sharing tradition continues today through training services offered by the consultancy. As an experienced practitioner in the field, he is best qualified to determine the equipment and facilities needs of the failure analysis laboratory. He utilizes his knowledge of analytical equipment selection, layout planning, environmental controls planning, support facilities and services planning to support clients in the development of their failure analysis laboratories.

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electrical component selection

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surface-mount component

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integrated-circuit reliability

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electronic circuit design

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failure analysis

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defect electronics science

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electronic component defect

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microelectronic circuit defect detection

Expert is intimately involved in the reliability and production of both thick film and thin film hybrid microcircuit devices. He provides services to document existing processes, develop new processes and to optimize production flow. Other services include performance of critical reviews of manufacturing processes and process controls to ensure that they are suitable for the purposes for which they are intended. In addition, he reviews the implementation of these processes and controls to determine where compliance issues exist. He analyzes and develops process controls for both automatic and manual production operations and proposes suitable corrective actions where he finds deviations and insufficiencies. Expert also provides training in the development and use of process controls.

Expert notes that passive electronic elements such as resistors, capacitors, couplers, filters, crystals, etc. are used in all electronic systems. Expert's depth of knowledge in the design, construction, and manufacturing processes of these devices supports his efforts in component part selection, application and failure analysis. This depth comes about from the many years over which he has visited a large number of element manufacturers in order to understand their procedures and construction techniques and to assist them in resolving issues related to all aspects of the equipment life cycle. These issues include: procurement and delivery problems due to unclear specifications and inability to meet specification requirements; manufacturing problems such as high failure rates and low yields due to the use of improper materials and processes; quality problems due to improper inspection, incorrect inspection techniques and testing; and post shipment and post system delivery problems and field failures. Expert utilizes his knowledge to support engineering design groups with the selection of component parts suitable for their applications. This entails understanding the environmental requirements of the systems being designed, as well as the special needs of customers ranging from NASA and commercial space system builders to military systems, telecommunications systems, and commercial products.

Expert notes that passive electronic elements such as resistors, capacitors, couplers, filters, crystals, etc. are used in all electronic systems. Expert's depth of knowledge in the design, construction, and manufacturing processes of these devices supports his efforts in component part selection, application and failure analysis. This depth comes about from the many years over which he has visited a large number of element manufacturers in order to understand their procedures and construction techniques and to assist them in resolving issues related to all aspects of the equipment life cycle. These issues include: procurement and delivery problems due to unclear specifications and inability to meet specification requirements; manufacturing problems such as high failure rates and low yields due to the use of improper materials and processes; quality problems due to improper inspection, incorrect inspection techniques and testing; and post shipment and post system delivery problems and field failures. Expert utilizes his knowledge to support engineering design groups with the selection of component parts suitable for their applications. This entails understanding the environmental requirements of the systems being designed, as well as the special needs of customers ranging from NASA and commercial space system builders to military systems, telecommunications systems, and commercial products.

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hybrid microelectronic device

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multichip module substrate

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passive electronic element

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thin-film circuit element

Expert employs nondestructive test techniques for device and equipment conditioning and screening and also during failure analysis. He notes that device screening or conditioning is preformed with the intent to remove marginal units from a population. Expert designs and implements screening programs based upon the needs of the customer. Typical tests that are available to be used singly, or in combination, are burn-in, thermal shock, temperature cycling, vibration, mechanical shock, radiography, particle impact noise detection (PIND) and scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM). Expert utilizes environmental stress screening (ESS) and highly accelerated stress test (HAST) programs to provide a similar function at the subassembly or system level. Expert applies nondestructive test techniques in the opening stages of failure analysis. In the structured failure analysis process, he collects information from the failed part by nondestructive means, such as external microscopic inspection, lead-to-lead electrical curve tracer test, radiography, fine and gross leak tests, PIND and SAM. The data from the nondestructive tests may show the cause of the failure, or may dictate that destructive analysis techniques be used.

Expert has resolved many different process issues associated with the use of silver epoxy in microelectronic manufacturing. He has resolved the root cause of failures such as joints that look perfect, but have no electrical connection, substrate mounts with good coverage, good adhesion and few voids that fall off after temperature cycling and units whose interiors have turned purple in sites far from the location of the silver epoxy. Each of these issues is related to either poor process control or improper material selection, and has been seen in both manual and automated assembly processes.

Expert performs reliability predictions in accordance with MIL-HDBK 217 F(2) and Telcordia methodologies. He utilizes RELEX software for these predictions and other reliability calculations. Life prediction methods such as Weibull, log normal and exponential distribution, and the Arrhenius equation are used as needed.

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electronics nondestructive testing

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electronic component processing

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silver epoxy

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electronic-device-component life-prediction methodology


Show Secondary and Basic Areas of Expertise
Localities:
Expert may consult nationally and internationally, and is also local to the following cities: Phoenix, Arizona;  Mesa, Arizona;  Glendale, Arizona;  Scottsdale, Arizona;  Chandler, Arizona;  Tempe, Arizona;  Gilbert, Arizona;  and Peoria, Arizona.

Often requested
with this expert:

Electronic Reliability & On-Chip ESD Protection
Surface Mount Technology
Wastewater & Permits, Electro/ Electroless/ Semiconductor...
Printed Wiring Board Assembly

Education:
Year   Degree   Subject   Institution  
1978   M.S.   Management   Polytechnic Institute of New York  
1967   B.E.E.   Electrical Engineering   City College of the City University of New York  
1965   B.S.   Physics   City College of the City University of New York  

Work History:
Years   Employer   Department   Title   Responsibilities

2000 to 2004

 

HR Electronic Components Consulting Services, Inc.

 


 

Consultant

 

Expert is a consultant in all phases of component engineering. These tasks include selection, application evaluation, and stress analysis. He also provides consulting services in the area of component and system reliability. These services include reliability calculations, reliability program plan preparation and implementation, component screening programs, training and parts, material and process review, as well as manufacturing readiness review. Expert developed processes and procedures for automated hybrid microelectronic manufacturing. His duties also include root cause failure analysis, destructive physical analysis, preparation and implementation of procedures for those analyses, and training in the use of the procedures.

1967 to 2000

 

AIL Systems, Inc., now Electronic Systems Group of EDO Corporation

 

Reliability, Maintainability, and ILS

 

Section Manager

 

He managed the corporate reliability organization where he was responsible for corporate reliability policy. He designed and managed reliability programs for the commercial, military, and space markets. He interfaced with customers, component manufacturers, and subcontractors at all levels. He developed component derating policies and procedures, prepared procurement documents for all types of components and resolved application issues with engineering and procurement. In addition, he designed, implemented, and managed parts control programs and the corporate parts standardization program. He performed and supervised failure analyses of electronic components covering the full spectrum of part types from MMICs, ASICs, and hybrid microelectronics down to simple resistors and capacitors. As part of reliability program management, he performed and supervised subcontractor control activities.


Career Accomplishments:
Associations/Societies

Expert is a member of IEEE, IEEE Reliability Society, IEEE Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology Society, Electron Devices Failure Analysis Society, and the Phoenix Area Consultants Network. He served as a member of the Executive Committee of the IEEE Long Island Section for 11 years and served three years as Long Island IEEE Section Employment Assistance Committee Chairman. He also served two terms on the IEEE Metropolitan Area Sections Activities Council (METSAC). He was Task Group Chairman for Large Area Hybrids of the JEDEC JC-13 Committee on Hybrid Microelectronics for six years.

Professional Appointments

He was elected to two terms as Chairman of the IEEE Long Island Section.

Awards/Recognition

Expert has received the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, an IEEE United States Activities Board Award, and a Region 1 Award.


Consulting Services:
Selected Consulting Examples:
  • Expert performed failure analysis on field returns of microelectronic hybrid electro-optic modulators. The failed units exhibited a wide variety of symptoms. He determined that each symptom was caused by a different combination of failed devices within the hybrid, and that all the failures were due to a single cause. The failed devices were assembled both by hand and by automated die attach using conductive silver epoxy. He determined that the PHEMT failures were due to virtually invisible contamination on the devices. He traced the source of contamination to epoxy separation, where the resin portion of the epoxy crawled, by surface tension, up the very short wires and onto the surface of the PHEMT. For internal clearance and accessibility reasons the hybrid was manufactured in a sequence that has the PHEMTs die attached and wire bonded before die attach of larger components. Expert recommended a more suitable epoxy and devised manufacturing procedures to eliminate the problem without disrupting the manufacturing operation and at the same time, reducing cost.
  • An oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO) intended for use in a communications satellite was found to have excessive noise at -5° C. Expert was requested to determine the cause of this noise and to recommend corrective action. He began by verifying that the problem could be duplicated on the unit, and by testing several other units. All units displayed the noise problem over a very small negative temperature range. He recommended testing the units at 25°C and varying the power supply voltage to the zener regulator input on the OCXO. Noise was evident on all units over a narrow range of voltages. A thumbnail analysis of the OCXO zener diode regulator circuit determined that the zener was operating close to starvation. More testing indicated that the noise occurred just at the point of the zener diode transition from off to on and vice versa. The OCXO performed normally in the regions where the diode was fully on and fully off. Expert performed a detailed worst case circuit analysis (WCCA) for the spacecraft contractor and the OCXO supplier. The analysis determined that the supplier failed to take into proper account the combination of temperature coefficient of breakdown voltage and the tolerance of the zener diode. Nor was the input voltage range to the regulator properly addressed. The WCCA was used to validate proposed corrective actions that were then retrofitted into the flight units.
  • A client asked Expert to join an engineering team that had been studying varying yield and yield deterioration of a high frequency mixed signal multichip module used on a high profile ECM system. The issue was clearly tied to the high frequency performance of a custom bipolar ASIC chip. Reams of wafer data comparing resistivities of each layer and die performance were reviewed. The supplier made wafers to the specifications that appeared to correlate with higher yield lots, but these did not perform any better than other wafer lots with poorer performance. Expert defined and implemented a destructive physical analysis (DPA) plan utilizing the client's DPA laboratory and an outside lab with extended capabilities. The results of this analysis showed that many of the transistors from the low yield lots had significant narrowing of the base area, which increased the base series resistance and thereby reduced the ft of the transistors. The better yielding lots had far fewer transistors exhibiting this condition. The root cause was determined to be a minor mask misalignment. Initial response on the part of the manufacturer was less than enthusiastic, however, after performing some analysis in his own lab, he came into agreement. Further investigation determined that the positioning tolerance on the production mask aligner was insufficient to guarantee maximum performance from this mask set. The remaining wafers were manufactured by Engineering where the alignment could be optimized for each run. Yields in the end item MCM went from 10-30% to 80-90%, allowing production ramp up and regain of schedule.
  • A major aerospace contractor engaged Expert to determine the root cause of and define corrective actions for destructive physical analysis (DPA) failures of hybrid DC-DC converters destined for a constellation of military satellites. A small, but well-known, manufacturer of this type of product manufactured the converters, purportedly in accordance with Class K of MIL-H-38534. A highly esteemed test laboratory performed the DPA. The DPA report indicated multiple failures of eutectic die attach and aluminum wirebond lifts. Examination of the remaining physical evidence from the DPA samples confirmed that the die bond sites were poorly wetted and that the wire bond sites showed low interaction with the wire. A survey of the manufacturing floor found that most of the operations used undocumented processes, and where documented processes were available, there was poor compliance. Expert first focused on the eutectic die attachment process. He determined that two different operators performed the same task differently, and used different temperatures, none of which were in the documented process, nor as posted in the area. Neither operator correctly measured the operating temperature on the hot stage. He requested that several groups of samples be built by the same operator that built the flight units. The first group was built by using her "approach" to this operation. Most of the resulting samples failed the die shear test due to poor wetting between the moly tab and the die. The same operator using a higher temperature and longer dwell time as specified by Expert built the second group. This group was successful, with no failures for die shear. Expert rewrote the procedure and trained the operators. The client provided a QA resident to ensure compliance. The second deficient process was .005" and .010" aluminum ultrasonic wire bonding between power FETs and the thick film substrate. Expert traced the substandard bonding to improper fixturing of the substrate during bonding. A shortcut taken to ease handling of the substrate led to a loss of rigidity of the substrate assembly allowing the ultrasonic energy to be dissipated in substrate movement, rather than in the wire bond. This issue was turned over to the hybrid manufacturer for resolution.
  • A major manufacturer of microwave and millimeter wave hybrid amplifiers desired information on predicted failure rates and stresses on his product line. Expert responded by launching a large-scale effort, in conjunction with the client's engineering staff, to provide the requested information for a large part of the line. Understanding that the underlying reason for the requested analyses was to provide an extra touch for the application engineers when a prospective customer made an inquiry, he proposed to the client that for a small extra cost, the predictions be performed parametrically with respect to temperature. This would allow the application engineers to respond with information that was immediately useful to the customer. The client approved the approach and the information was provided in graphical format, making temperature relationships immediately available for comparison and tradeoff purposes.
Recent Client Requests:
  • Expert in silver epoxy needed for consulting regarding a product failure.
  • Expert for consulting on Semiconductor technology reliability.
  • Expert in electronic component manufacturing for consulting on Failure Analysis.
  • Expert for consulting on potting electrical assemblies.
  • Expert in electronics design and testing needed.
  • Expert for consulting on Thermal Endurance Testing of Solid State Relay
  • Expert for consulting on Wire bond assessment
Click the green button above to contact Expert for a free initial screening call regarding your expert consulting needs.  Expert is available for consulting to corporate, legal and government clients.  Remember, your initial screening call to speak with Expert is free.

Expert Witness:
Recent Litigation Client Requests:
  • Soulder joint / substrate failure expert needed for consulting regarding a Soulder joint / substrate failure.
  • Avionics expert for consulting on aviation litigation matter.
  • Expert circuit boards manufacturer arizona for consulting on opinion.
Click the green button above to contact Expert for a free initial screening call regarding expert testimony, litigation consulting and support, forensic services, or any related expert witness services.  A few litigation needs include product liability, personal injury, economic loss, intellectual property (patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright), and insurance matters.  Remember, your initial screening call to speak with Expert is free.

Additional Skills and Services:
Training/Seminars

Expert has taught the following courses: Reliability Calculations: What, Why, When & How do we benefit from them? This is an introduction to the types of calculations performed under a reliability program plan, and how to obtain the most benefit from them. MIL-STD-883 Visual Inspection Training. The purpose of this training is to expose operators and inspectors to a set of very common inspection criteria in an interactive format. ESD Training. The purpose of this training is to inform all persons that handle electronic components and assemblies of procedures to avoid exposing the hardware to electrostatic discharge. The training also includes the proper way to prepare and maintain an ESD safe workstation.

Supplier and Vendor Location and Selection

He provides services for locating replacements for components from suppliers that no longer exist. He recommends substitute parts and, if necessary, circuit modifications or redesign to utilize available, but non-interchangeable, parts.


 

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