Field of Interests
The CPMT Society's objectives are to provide a forum for the dissemination of technical information within its assigned areas. CPMT's fields of interest encompass the materials science, chemical processes, reliability technology, mathematical modeling, education and training utilized in the design and production of discretes, hybrids, and electronic packaging. Also included are fiber optics, connector technology, and semiconductor processing. Manufacturing technology includes systems, concepts, management, and quality as they relate to electronic component manufacturing. CPMT Society publishes advance theory and practice within the key technology areas of components, packaging and manufacturing technology. Whether through the peer-reviewed papers in the IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, as well as other technically-related IEEE Transactions available to CPMT Members, or through high-quality papers in the many conference proceedings sponsored through CPMT -- readers have access to the information they need to stay current and excel in today's fast-moving technical world.
Most of the Society's components activities are in the passive component field, e.g. the development of novel chip-based inductors, the reliability testing of new ceramic capacitor materials, the application of contact theory to sliding connectors and pin insertion, the integration of de-coupling capacitors into printed wiring board (PWB) structures, etc. Developments and results in this field are reported in the IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technologies. The multichip module (MCM) is a very high technology component, and many CPMT members work on the design, manufacture, and test of such components for aerospace and high-speed computer applications. Within CPMT, the "components" field covers the broad scope of component technologies, and in many cases the Society cooperates with others where their interests overlap. It maintains an active role in semiconductor component engineering at the chip level in a number of specific areas, especially in semiconductor device manufacturing, for example, with its co-sponsorship of the IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, and in other areas by conference support. But it is with the packaging of the die, as described in more detail below, and with the assembly of such devices in sub-systems such as printed wiring boards, as part of the manufacture of complete electronic systems, that the CPMT Society can claim responsibility for the broadest possible range of component design, manufacture, and application technologies.
The pace of microelectronics development at the chip level has out-stripped the capacity of the package to match the chip performance and carry it through to the system level. A simple example can make the point. Assume that over a period of time we can fabricate devices of half the area previously achievable, in chips of twice the previous size, giving four times the number of circuits per device, four times the power dissipation, and about twice as many leads required. For the same peripheral-lead package size, the leads must be closer together and thinner, producing increased inductance and crosstalk and a greater probability of fatigue failure, exacerbated by the higher power dissipation, which also creates higher mechanical stress in the package. And in a CMOS digital system, if one also takes advantage of the clock frequency increase possible with smaller devices, these problems increase even more. The example demonstrates that the semiconductor device package has become the bottleneck to the transfer of silicon capabilities to system performances. The obvious consequence of this development is the economic significance of packaging technologies to microelectronics industries (e.g. Intel, ON Semiconductor, Motorola). Obviously the increasing importance of component packaging to industry also drives a growing need for engineering graduates with experience in the field. And the IEEE Transactions on Advanced Packaging reports developments for those engineers active in packaging development.
Electrical engineers in the packaging field are often primarily concerned with the electrical effects of shrinking device sizes and faster operation, i.e. pulse reflections on the "transmission line" interconnections, crosstalk, stray inductance, switching noise, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), etc. These effects are the reason why the microelectronics industry is moving to lower power supply voltages, reducing noise margins which are already threatened by the increased noise levels. But notice that the traditional academic fields represented in the example above include electrical, mechanical, thermal, and materials engineering, to which one can add reliability, chemistry, applied physics, and math. The true "packaging engineer" needs a more multi-disciplinary background than is conventionally found in a single undergraduate major, and well-prepared graduates are therefore hard to find and are in demand. Electronics Packaging courses are only now starting to be found at the senior elective level, instead of just in graduate programs, and clearly more BS graduates will find jobs in this increasingly important field in the future. The best preparation for an EE student would be dual concentrations in Microelectronics (Materials & Devices) and Electromagnetism (Guided Waves), supplemented by a solid sophomore base (or more advanced) in Materials, Statics (Strength of Materials), Heat Transfer, etc. Packaging graduates also find jobs in Aerospace companies (e.g. Lockheed Martin), in the Computer field (e.g. Sun Microsystems), in Communications (e.g. Nokia or Ericsson), in the more recent optoelectronics device area (e.g. Lucent Technologies), etc.
An elementary economic interpretation of history makes it obvious that a nation's prosperity is dependent on a competitive manufacturing capability -- one which is both efficient and innovative. The pursuit of increased productivity has introduced numerous manufacturing techniques in recent years: Just-in-Time parts supply, Six-Sigma quality goals, Statistical Process Control, robotic assembly cells, etc. What is happening is the transformation of manufacturing approaches in even small companies from ad hoc process development to rigidly controlled and monitored systems, well understood in terms of mathematical models, where the effects of random events can be quickly detected and corrected. We are seeing the widespread application of Manufacturing Sciences in the workplace. Within the IEEE (or electrical engineering) community, the CPMT Society has the responsibility for the dissemination of the latest techniques and best current practices in this field, from the application of automation on the production line to management techniques to environmentally friendly methods. The IEEE Transactions on Electronics Packaging Manufacturing reports current developments and results. Opportunities in this field must expand even more rapidly in the future as competitive demands force an ever-increasing emphasis on advanced manufacturing concepts and the higher educational standards required for their implementation.