Microelectronic products all have mechanical, thermal and electrical properties that degrade until the device is permanently damaged. Path finding adds value to an end-product by pre-determining where the breaking points are, and if or how they can be enlarged.
For decades, product designers have used various methods of path finding to determine optimum solutions for the design and manufacture of consumer products. These included spice, bread boarding, and silicon bread boarding methods to prove, disprove, or improve an idea; and design of experiments involving manufacturing and testing a matrix of materials to determine whether co-relations existed between process variables, throughputs, and yields. However, all these methods were costly and time consuming. Eventually, pathfinding tools were developed and reduced cost resources, and time required to find solutions. As high technology enters the 2.5D 3D packaging world, additional path finding tools are needed for mechanical, thermal, and electrical analysis that navigate tight cost constraints required by mass-produced products.
Through detailed examples, this article by Bill Martin, E-Systems Design, addresses the concept of implementing path finding from the end-goal perspective. He explains why virtual prototyping is not enough to determine, for example, the right interconnect method for optimum performance. He also advises where and when in the ecosystem the use of path finding tools is at its most advantageous.
(Reposted with permission from the authors. This was article originally published by the Global Semiconductor Association (GSA) in the June 2013 issue of GSA Forum.)
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