Expert Details

Expert in Materials, Processes and Hermeticity Testing of Microelectronics for Aerospace and Medical Implants

Expert ID: 730392 Pennsylvania, USA

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He has demonstrated expertise in hermetic sealing and leak testing processes for cavity style packaged microcircuits intended for high reliability military, aerospace and Class III medical implants. He has worked as a hermeticity consultant for prominent military and aerospace companies and has been engaged in several hermeticity projects for medical device manufacturers, including serving as an on going expert witness in a cochlear implant device failure litigation. He is the preferred consultant for a major military OEM because of his proven expertise in solving problems related to high moisture and hermeticity failures of microcircuits used in critical military system.

He has conducted experiments and presented technical papers at NIST and IMAPS on leak testing techniques and optimization of hermetic welding processes. He coauthored the most recent revision to Mil-Std-883 TM 1014 (Seal), the industry standard for hermeticity testing. He regularly attends the EIA/JEDEC meetings and serves on the committees looking to revise the hermeticity specification. Hermeticity testing along with moisture and gas content inside microelectronic packages is of critical importance for device reliability. He is experienced in reading and interpreting RGA test results. He teaches the only industry full day course on hermeticity testing titled …Hermeticity Testing, RGA and “Near Hermetic” Packaging Concepts. This course describes the standard helium based fine leak test techniques along with gross leak methods, bubble testing, Optical Leak Test (OLT), Radioisotope Kr-85 and Cumulative Helium Leak Detection (CHLD). He also teaches a half day course on Hermeticity of Small Volume MEMS packages.

He has pioneered the use of moisture sensors mounted inside the package to monitor real time moisture ingress into and out of the cavity. He also has experience evaluating “non hermetic” packages and recently chaired an industry Advanced Technology Conference on the topic of “non-hermetic” packages for reliable microelectronics.

He has considerable expertise in materials and manufacturing processes used in building custom high reliability microcircuits (Hybrids, MCMs and RF microwave modules) for military and aerospace applications. He has demonstrated expertise and previous consulting experience in wirebonding, component attach, hermetic package seal and test, and other aspects of microcircuit assembly. Specific areas of expertise include: gold ball bonding, deep access bonding, fine wire (.7 mil ) bonding to FETs, aluminum wedge bonding, heavy aluminum wire, component attach, including epoxy and AuSn eutectic die attach of GaAs devices, hermetic seal/testing, gold and nickel plating processes and foreign material identification and control.

He has led numerous failure analysis and root cause investigations into component failures from qualification lots and field failures, in some cases with millions of dollars of product inventory hanging in the balance. In a recent FA investigation he relied on SEM, Auger and other advanced analytical methods to determine root cause failure and corrective actions of a serious production problem regarding aluminum wedge bond lifts from a thick film gold trace. In another recent root cause investigation his knowledge of hermeticity testing, epoxy outgassing characteristics and RGA data analysis led to successful resolution of a hermetic package problem with high moisture.

He has conducted and analyzed numerous statistically designed experiments (DOE). Specifically in the area of wirebond and eutectic component attach. His experiments and data analysis increased first past yield, reduced costs and improved product quality. Early in his career he routinely analyzed component failures from Air Force avionic equipment and initiated the Air Force Field Failure Return Program.

In addition to material, process and FA expertise he has a wealth of knowledge concerning the visual inspection criteria for microelectronics intended for use in military systems. He teaches a number of different courses in industry on these topics and is often called in as a consultant to help referee quality issues and Mi-Std-883 compliance. He is currently the JEDEC chair person responsible for revision of Mil-Std-883 TM 2017 Pre Cap visual. He has been involved in microelectronic visual inspection standards for 20 years and has authored an industry workmanship manual and was contracted to draft the NASA/JPL internal workmanship standards for microelectronics.

He spent six months on a project as part of a team of multi disciplined engineers that investigated root cause failure of a hermetic microcircuit package due to elevated moisture. The high moisture RGA (residual gas analysis) qualification failures jeopardized the entire production lot. Multiple process and material DOEs were conducted and involved the use of the Cumulative Helium Leak Detection method (CHLD) and RGA as the response variables. He was sent in plant to investigate the seam seal and pre seal vacuum bake processes. He was instrumental in the FA and root cause investigation that finally pointed to an epoxy out-gassing problem and timely resolution. He analyzed and identified the failure mechanism for a heavy aluminum wire (10 and 15 mil) to thick film gold wire-bond process. Bond lifts during temperature cycling in screening and qualification were occurring at an alarming rate. Review of the pull test and shear data, followed by extensive analysis via SEM, Auger ect., and multiple DOEs help to isolate the cause of failure to a cleaning process step that was occurring prior to wire-bond. Process changes were made and the problem was eliminated. He developed and optimized a gold/tin eutectic die attach process using a scrub assisted program on the Palomar 3500 die bonder. The process involved a void free attach of a GaN (gallium nitride) chip to a CMC (copper-moly-copper) heat spreader. X-ray testing, acoustic imaging and numerous cross sections were used to verify the 95% void free eutectic solder interface underneath the active device. He has developed similar eutectic attach processes with GaAs (gallium arsenide) MMICs attached to heat spreaders using a fluxless vacuum assisted process. Drafted and delivered a complete hybrid microelectronics workmanship guide and quality manual for NASA. The six month project included collecting defect photos and drafting from scratch the entire text. The manual not only served as a compliance document for Mil-Std-883, but also contained numerous other sections and references to use a guide for new process, design and quality engineers. He analyzed leak test data and results from qualification screening tests along with review of the drawing to identify a package defect from a critical off shore supplier. Organized controlled DOE experiments and follow up testing to determine the root cause of the cracking in a metal-ceramic package. Identified the design flaw in the sidewall braze and helped guide the hermetic package redesign that ultimately solved the problem.

Expert may consult nationally and internationally, and is also local to the following cities: New York, New York - Yonkers, New York - Newark, New Jersey - Jersey City, New Jersey - Paterson, New Jersey - Elizabeth, New Jersey - Trenton, New Jersey - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Allentown, Pennsylvania - Stamford, Connecticut

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Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 1982 Degree: BS Subject: Metallurgy and Materials Engineering Institution: Lehigh University
Year: 1985 Degree: Masters Subject: Engineering Administration Institution: University of Utah

Work History

Years Employer Title Department Responsibilities
Years: 2002 to Present Employer: Undisclosed Title: Technical Director Department: Responsibilities: He is the principal providing consulting services to companies around the world with expertise in materials and processes used to assemble hybrids, multi-chip modules, microwave modules, MEMS, Class III medical implants, optoelectronic, and other types of packaged microcircuits. He also provides expert witness services for hermeticity failures of medical implants, such as cochlear implants.
Years: 1995 to 2002 Employer: Northampton College Title: Assistant Technical Director Department: National Training Center for Microelectronics Responsibilities: He designed and developed industry curriculum related to microelectronics (hybrids, microcircuits and microwave modules) materials and processes for process engineers, designers and technicians.
Demonstrated “hands-on” expertise in wire-bonding, component attach, cleaning procedures, hermetic sealing processes, leak test techniques and thick and thin film substrate manufacturing processes.
Years: 1989 to 1995 Employer: Lockheed Martin Astro Space Title: Senior Staff Engineer Department: Microelectronics Laboratory Responsibilities: Responsible for materials and manufacturing processes, including assembly and hermetic seal processes used in building custom high reliability space qualified microcircuits (hybrids, MCMs, and RF microwave modules) for military and commercial communication satellites. Led FA analysis and root cause investigations into hybrid qualification failures. Coordinated the hybrid QML qualification activities with DESC (Defense Electronics Supply Center).
Years: 1985 to 1989 Employer: United States Air Force (USAF) Title: Reliability Engineer Department: Rome Air Development Center (RADC) Responsibilities: He worked in a Reliability Physics group that analyzed component failures from AF avionic equipment. In addition, provided technical support for a variety of Military specs and standards including, MIL-PRF-38534 and MIL-STD-883. Traveled to Air Force Air Logistic Centers throughout the country and collected microcircuit field failures and then analyzed the defects as part of the Air Force Field Failure Return Program.
Years: 1982 to 1985 Employer: United States Air Force (USAF) Title: Flight Test Engineer Department: 6545th Test Group Hill AFB, Utah Responsibilities: He provided technical engineering support and conducted research, test, and development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for USAF military operations.

Government Experience

Years Agency Role Description
Years: 1982 to 1989 Agency: United States Air Force Role: Officer/Engineer Description: He spent the first seven years of his career as an officer in the US Air Force assigned to engineering duties at two different Air Force installations. In 1989 he resigned from active duty to work for Lockheed, but continued on in the AF Reserve finishing as a retired LtCol with 28 years of service. Last ten years of his AF career were spent as a reservist working in the microelectronics field assigned to a large DoD agency in the Baltimore MD area.

International Experience

Years Country / Region Summary
Years: 2012 to Present Country / Region: Brisbane Australia Summary: On two occasions, once in 2012 and again a few years earlier, he travelled to a high tech microwave component manufacturer in Australia to provide training and consulting services in the area of microelectronics assembly and quality improvement activities.
Years: 2010 to Present Country / Region: Ankara Turkey Summary: In 2010 he travelled to Ankara Turkey on two different occasions to teach about twenty process engineers, designers and quality engineers the basics of microelectronics assembly. The training included courses on die attach, wire-bond, substrate fab, hermetic seal and test and all aspects of quality and visual inspection. Remained on site for several days to provide consulting services and review the production process.
Years: 2005 to Present Country / Region: Sittard Netherlands Summary: He taught 23 circuit designers, process engineers, and technicians a four day course in plant titled "Process Certification and Defect Recognition for Hybrids, Microcircuits, and RF/MMIC Modules".
Years: 2001 to Present Country / Region: Cork Ireland Summary: He spent two weeks in country at a qualified hybrid manufacturing facility providing training and consulting in the area of microelectronics packaging. e.g. die attach, wire-bond and visual inspection.
Years: 1999 to 1999 Country / Region: Cario Egypt Summary: He provided technical expertise and consulting services for the installation of an RF thin film teaching laboratory for the US State Department.

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
IMAPS (International Microelectronics and Packaging Society); IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers); ASTD (American Society for Training and Development)
Awards / Recognition
IMAPS Fellow of the Society; IMAPS Ira Custman Award winner
Publications and Patents Summary
He has ten publications and has made over 75 technical presentations at various microelectronic conferences and symposia

Additional Experience

Expert Witness Experience
Primary expert witness experience involves three years of civil litigation surrounding failure of cochlear medical implants in children and adults. Working as an expert witness he has written numerous detailed technical reports that have been successfully relied upon in court and has been deposed for over 20 hours in cases at the State and Federal level.
Training / Seminars
He has a long list of training and educational seminars that have been delivered in plant and at public venues around the world over the past twenty years. The educational courses range from 1 hr on line educational seminars to four days of training in plant at companies like Lockheed Martin, NASA JPL, ITT Avionics, and a host of smaller technical companies that specialize in design and manufacture of microelectronics for high reliability applications. Classroom training is targeted to design, process and quality engineers and in some cases includes "hands-on" training for operators and technicians on the factory floor.
Vendor Selection
He consulted with several different companies that manufacture hybrid microelectronic devices for aerospace applications. In two cases performed a "gap analysis", analyzing in detail the company's quality system relative to the Mil-PRF-38534 quality system requirements. On numerous occasions he has accompanied an OEM into a supplier’s facility to assess quality and help determine root cause failures such as seal/hermeticity issues and wire and die bonding problems.
Marketing Experience
He is a leader in the microelectronics packaging industry. As a twenty year fellow in IMAPS (International Microelectronics Packaging Society) he has chaired and pioneered many new conferences addressing emerging technologies. Starting with the Optoelectronic Packaging Conference held in Bethlehem PA at the height of the telecom industry bubble, to the most recent chair and founder of the IMAPS ATC on Non-Hermetic Packaging Technology for Reliable Microelectronics Jan 2012. His technical experience and numerous industry contacts give him a unique perspective on emerging trends in the microelectronic packaging industry.
Other Relevant Experience
In addition to consulting activities, he has years of experience teaching engineers and technicians the fundamentals of microelectronic packaging. His teaching style is simple and direct and contains a wealth of information based on personal experiences in industry. His experience in industry, academia and government empowers a balanced view as a teacher and mentor to young engineers.

Fields of Expertise

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