I’m pleased to introduce the first edition of RoodMicrotec’s newsletter in 2019. Again, the company can look back at a successful year. In 2018, we increased our sales by 11% against the previous year and reported a consistent positive net profit since 2011. Another key performance indicator, the book-to-bill ratio, again is above 1, which gives us an excellent platform for the company's future growth.
In 2019, we will celebrate our 50th anniversary, and this shows that high technology companies can persist for a long time – even in Europe. Of course, we have changed the direction a couple of times, but this is standard in the semiconductor business. The combination of a well-established company and a new direction for the supply chain management for our customers makes the company well positioned for the future in the ever-changing semiconductor business.
We continue to invest for the future by adding both, capabilities and capacity. This allows us to undertake new and exciting projects that will drive revenues as well as know-how in the company. The three main strategic paths that we pursue for the future are life tests on optoelectronic VCSEL devices, power electronic testing and high frequency radar testing. These areas fit very well into the market requirements when we move into the new era of automotive solutions. For example, high beam LED lights, electric cars and autonomous driving - all of them need these types of components.
Our newsletters will keep you informed about the latest developments within RoodMicrotec on a quarterly basis. If you have any questions or demands for high quality services, don’t hesitate to contact one of our sales managers.
I wish you a pleasant reading.
Reliability tests for VCSEL diodes
VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) diodes are seeing a huge upturn in the last years due to their unique optical and electrical properties. Their use in fiberoptic communications such as Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel data transfer together with an ongoing need for large datacentres provides a growing demand for high-quality photonic components. A very recent boost came from the application of VCSELs in smartphones for face recognition. Further trends foresee VCSELs in autonomous driving, sensing and imaging applications.
The underlying semiconductor processes are still evolving to fine-tune the optical properties to even higher brilliance, and many of their applications, especially communication and automotive, have special demands on the quality and reliability of VCSELs. Thus, regular optoelectronic life-tests and comprehensive qualification as well as reliability investigations are needed.
RoodMicrotec has the experience and specialized equipment to carry out extensive life tests on VCSELs. Therefore, we are able to run biased tests on several hundreds of devices at many different temperatures simultaneously, with online optical performance monitoring. Thus, failures, degradation and performance drift can be monitored at elevated temperatures to simulate many years of operation in a few weeks.
In addition to these HTOL (high temperature operating life) tests, we also offer temperature humidity biased (THB) tests, in which a large amount of VCSELs is operated at e.g. 85°C and 85% relative humidity. In regular intervals, all devices pass through a fully automated optoelectronic characterization to check for degradation.
Hardness to electrostatistic discharge (ESD) is also an important topic for VCSEL diodes. Together with a well-established partner, we offer fast and high quality ESD tests for VCSEL devices.
Many more tests from our portfolio are also available for VCSELs, such as temperature cycling, burn-in, etc.
Typical TO-Can package for optical devices
Power electronic testing
RoodMicrotec will expand its range of power semiconductor services by installing a power test system. This investment will enable RM to qualify and test MOSFETs, IGBTs, IGBT modules such as half bridges or full bridges, and custom power modules. These devices are increasingly used in applications with high annual growth rates such as industrial drive technology, wind and solar energy.
Currently, RoodMicrotec already carries out stress tests such as HTRB, H3TRB and H3TRB-HV, with which the electrical characteristics IRmax = 20mA @ 2000V and IFmax = 100A for the initial, intermediate and final measurement can be measured.
By the planned installation of a new measuring system the characteristic curves IRmax = 300mA @ 3000V and IFmax = 1400A can be realized for new products during the qualification tests.
The HTRB (High Temperature Reverse Biased) test is performed in a heating trolley with a temperature range up to Tj=175°C. The HTRB system can apply a voltage of up to 1800V to up to 2x16 modules. During this test, the leakage current is individually recorded and evaluated. In case of failures, this component can be disconnected. The duration of this test is usually 1000h.
The H3TRB HV (High Humidity High Temperature Reverse Biased) test is performed in a climatic chamber at a temperature of 85°C and a humidity of 85%. The test specimens are mounted on heat sinks to reduce self-heating of the test specimens. The H3TRB HV-System can supply up to 2x16 modules with a voltage up to 1800V. During this test, the leakage current is individually recorded and evaluated. In case of failures, this component can be disconnected. The duration of this test is usually 1000h.
The PCT (Power Cycling Test) is an active load cycling test to determine the reliability of power semiconductors. The active heating of the test specimen via a load current and the active cooling via a cooling surface cause a thermomechanical load on the internal structure of the test specimen. The planned system will have a maximum load current of 800A and up to 18 DUTs can be loaded in parallel. The system then has various possibilities of on-time evaluation and intervention on the load of the test specimens.
High frequency radar testing
Radar (Radio Detecting and Ranging) will become more and more important in everyday life. Be it in the automotive area (park assistant or autonomous driving) or in the industrial sector (e.g. level sensor).
A transmitter sends high frequency signals in the range between 24GHz and up to 120GHz, which will be reflected on an object and received by a receiver array. Based on the signal delay and the amplitude on the single receivers, it's possible to calculate the distance and the angle to the reflecting object.
The main task for RoodMicrotec is to develop the test-solutions for wafer level testing and also for final tests to be able to examine these devices in volume production. Currently, we are developing a solution to test a device for a level meter application in the frequency range of 24GHz. Beside the customer projects, we also participate in the public funding project EuroPAT MASIP, which also contains radar applications up to 70GHz. To be able to fulfill the customer requests, we currently are investing in the necessary equipment and increase the know-how in that area.
Appropriate testing of electrically active medical implants Björn Hoffmann presented at the microTEC Südwest Cluster Conference
For a long time, RoodMicrotec has been a very active participant within the microTEC Südwest Cluster, which has set its focus on intelligent microsystems technology solutions. In March, the 14th Cluster Conference took place in Freiburg and RoodMicrotec was exhibiting its services and gave a talk in one of the sessions.
Dr. Björn Hoffmann, Manager Optoelectronics & Innovation, gave an overview of the public funding project APreMedI, in which RoodMicrotec develops reliability tests for flexible encapsulations of active implants with the help of two more partners, NMI from Reutlingen and Vibrosonic from Mannheim.
Overall, the two day event was a great success and many new project ideas were discussed.
(Source: microTEC Südwest)
From failure analysis to anamnesis and its influence on qualification procedures Jürgen Gruber presented at Silicon Saxony workshop in Dresden
Jürgen Gruber, Manager Failure & Technology Analysis was invited, to give a presentation during the Silicon Saxony workshop titled From failure analysis to anamnesis and its influence on qualification procedures.
This presentation describes the changes in failure analysis. Whereas in the past it was often sufficient to analyse individual components, today, due to increasing integration and complexity, the complete systems are to be evaluated in a holistic way. Very often, the affected component is not causally responsible for the failure, but only the victim.
The results obtained can also be used to optimize the qualification tests. Since failures often only emerge when a combination of different stress situations occurs, these combined stresses must also be taken into account in the qualification flow in order to generate an accelerated image of the application.
The presentation and the following discussion were well received by the professional audience. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and a lot of new contacts were made.