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Miniature MEMS Interface Circuits Using Nanoparticle Conductors and Embedded Components
Keywords: Miniaturization, Nanoparticle conductors, MEMS interface
MEMS devices are typically used in subsystems comprising the MEMS component and the infrastructure required to support it. This infrastructure – signal processing, communication interface, power supply, and system packaging – often determines the size and cost of the subsystem. This paper describes a new approach to fabrication of highly miniaturized electronic circuitry and packaging that is well-suited to interfacing and support of MEMS components. The fabrication process utilizes nanoparticle silver conductors to connect miniature embedded surface-mount components. Interconnect conductors are produced by filling laser-ablated channels with nanoparticle silver pastes that cure at low temperatures. This laser-based approach allows production of very fine line interconnect structures (< 10 micron trace widths), which simplifies conductor routing and reduces layer count. Avoiding subtractive copper processes significantly reduces capital equipment and facilities costs and minimizes waste streams. After interconnection, the component assembly is encapsulated in a thermally conductive epoxy to produce a robust, stackable electronic module. Techniques also have been developed for stacking and interconnection of these circuit modules to form 3D electronic systems of nearly arbitrary form factor. All fabrication processes are CAD/CAM controlled, providing fast adaptability to design change and a smooth transition to production in both small and large volumes. The new fabrication technology has been applied to the challenge of miniaturization of wireless sensor nodes with the goal of constructing complete nodes of sugar-cube size (including an advanced battery). Node form factor can be easily adapted to specific applications.
C. Paul Christensen,
Potomac MesoSystems
Tracys Landing, MD

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