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Failure-oriented-accelerated-testing (FOAT) vs. highly-accelerated-life-testing (HALT): making a medical electron device (MED) package into a reliable product
Keywords: medical devices, electronic packaging, accelerated testing
2019 Advanced Technology Workshop on Advanced Packaging for Medical Microelectronics San Diego, California, January 22-23, 2019 Failure-oriented-accelerated-testing (FOAT) vs. highly-accelerated-life-testing (HALT): making a medical electron device (MED) package into a reliable product E. Suhir , S. Yi , J. Nicolics , R. Ghaffarian , Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA, Vienna Technical University, Vienna, Austria, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, CA, USA, ERS Co., Los Altos, 650-969-1530, suhire@aol.com Failure-oriented-accelerated-testing (FOAT) [1-3], which is the experimental base of the recently suggested probabilistic-design-for-reliability (PDfR) concept [4-6], was addressed in application to the advanced packaging of medical electronics in the authors’ SMT Transactions article [7] and in the 2018 Advanced Technology Workshop on Advanced Packaging for Medical Electronics [8]. This presentation addresses FOAT vs. traditional highly accelerated life testing (HALT), as well as the information on the following completed work: 1) Static fatigue lifetime of an optical fiber evaluated using FOAT and Boltzmann-Arrhenius-Zhurkov (BAZ) constitutive model; 2) Assessed interfacial strength and elastic moduli of the bonding material of an electronic packaging assembly from shear-off test data; 3) Predicted time-to-failure for the solder joint interconnection experiencing inelastic deformations and subjected to temperature cycling: strain energy based (Pete Hall’s) approach; 4) Alternative to the temperature cycling based FOAT: predicted remaining useful lifetime (RUL) for the solder material experiencing low temperature inelastic thermal stress and random vibration loading. The today’s packaged medical electronic devices (MEDs) that underwent the highly accelerated life testing (HALT), passed the existing qualification tests (QT) and survived the appropriate burn-in testing (BIT) often fail in the field. Are the QT and practices adequate [9]? The well-known prognostics-and-health-management (PHM) effort (see, e.g., [10]) is aimed at the prediction of the remaining useful life (RUL) (see, e.g., [11]) of an already manufactured electronic product, when it is too late to change its design or the materials, and the only way to assure the product’s operational reliability is to “re-qualify” it by testing and then, already in the use conditions, to determine the initiation of failure, provide an advance warning of impending failure and, to an extent possible, mitigate risks. This is seldom done in commercial electronics, where, as long as the product is still sellable, i.e., “when the customer comes back, not the product”, its cost-effectiveness and time-to-market are more important than its reliability, but is the current practice in areas where operational reliability is critical. Examples are aerospace, military, maritime, automotive, long-haul-communication, and, we believe, some human-life affecting areas of MED engineering. The PDfR concept [4-6] provides a physically meaningful, quantifiable and sustainable way to create a “generically healthy” packaged device by conducting a highly focused and highly cost-effective FOAT [2,3] aimed at the evaluation of the probability of failure (or non-failure) of the most vulnerable materials and structural elements of the package (such as, e.g., solder joint interconnections or adhesives) and geared to a physically meaningful, powerful, trustworthy and flexible BAZ [12,13] constitutive equation. The PDfR concept is based on the recognition that nothing is perfect, and that the difference between a highly reliable and an insufficiently robust product is “merely” in the level of the never-zero probability of its failure. This probability cannot be high, but does not have to be lower than necessary either: it has to be adequate for a particular product and application: an over-engineered and superfluously robust product that “never fails” is more likely than not is more costly than it should be [14, 15]. If one assesses and makes the probability of failure adequate for a particular product and application, then there will be a reason to believe that a failure-free operation of the device might be likely (“principle of practical confidence”). FOAT should be conducted in addition to and, in some cases, even instead of HALT, as a solid experimental foundation of the PDfR approach. The prediction might not always be perfect, but it is still better to make such a prediction, than to turn a blind eye on the fact that there is always a non-zero probability of the device failure. If one sets out to understand the physics of failure in an attempt to create a failure-free medical product, conducting FOAT should be imperative, should it not? FOAT’s objective is to confirm usage of a particular more or less established predictive constitutive model to confirm (say, after HALT is conducted) the underlying physics of failure, to establish the numerical characteristics (activation energy, time constant, exponents, if any, etc.) of the particular reliability model of interest. FOAT could be viewed as an extension of HALT. It should be employed when reliability is imperative and therefore the ability to quantify it is highly desirable. HALT is, to a great extent, a “black box”, i.e., a methodology which can be perceived in terms of its inputs and outputs without a clear knowledge of the underlying physics and the likelihood of failure. FOAT, on the other hand, is a “white box”, whose main objective is to confirm usage of a particular predictive model that reflects a specific anticipated failure mode. The major assumption is, of course, that this model is valid in both AT and in actual operation conditions. HALT does not measure (quantify) reliability, FOAT does. HALT can be used therefore for “rough tuning” of the products reliability, while FOAT should be employed when “fine tuning” is needed, i.e., when there is a need to quantify, assure and, if possible and appropriate, even specify the operational reliability of the device. HALT tries, quite often rather successfully, to “kill many unknown birds with one stone”. HALT has demonstrated over the years its ability to improve robustness through a “test-fail-fix” process, in which the applied stresses are somewhat above the specified operating limits. By doing that, HALT might be able to quickly precipitate and identify failures of different origins. HALT often involves step-wise stressing, rapid thermal transitions, etc. Since the principle of superposition does not work in reliability engineering, both HALT and FOAT use, when appropriate, combined stressing under various stimuli. FOAT and HALT could be carried out separately, or might be partially combined in a particular AT effort. New products present natural reliability concerns, as well as significant challenges at all the stages of their design, manufacture and use. HALT and FOAT could be especially useful for ruggedizing and quantifying reliability of such products. It is always necessary to correctly identify the expected failure modes and mechanisms, and to establish the appropriate stress limits of HALTs and FOATs to prevent “shifts” in the dominant failure mechanisms. There are many ways of how this could be done. It is concluded that the FOAT based approach, which is, in effect, a “quantified and reliability physics oriented HALT”, should be implemented, whenever feasible and appropriate, in addition to the currently widely employed various types and modifications of the forty years old HALT. In many cases the FOAT based effort could and should be employed even instead of HALT, especially for new products, whose operational reliability is unclear and for which no experience is accumulated and no best practices exist. The approach should be geared to a particular technology and application. References 1. E. Suhir, “Reliability and Accelerated Life Testing”, Semiconductor International, February 1, 2005. 2. E.Suhir, “Failure-Oriented-Accelerated-Testing (FOAT) and Its Role in Making a Viable IC Package into a Reliable Product”, Circuits Assembly, July 2013 3. E.Suhir, “What Could and Should Be Done Differently: Failure-Oriented-Accelerated-Testing (FOAT) and Its Role in Making an Aerospace Electronics Device into a Product”, Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics, vol.29, No.4, 2018 4. E. Suhir, “Probabilistic Design for Reliability”, ChipScale Reviews, vol.14, No.6, 2010 5. E. Suhir, R. Mahajan, A. Lucero, L. Bechou, “Probabilistic Design for Reliability (PDfR) and a Novel Approach to Qualification Testing (QT)”, IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conf., Big Sky, Montana, March 2012 6. E. Suhir, “Assuring Aerospace Electronics and Photonics Reliability: What Could and Should Be Done Differently”, IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conf., Big Sky, Montana, March 2013 7. E. Suhir, and S. Yi, “Probabilistic Design for Reliability (PDfR) of Medical Electronic Devices (MEDs): When Reliability is Imperative, Ability to Quantify it is a Must”, SMT Journal, v. 30, Issue 1, 2017 8. E. Suhir, S. Yi, “Accelerated Testing and Predicted Useful Lifetime of Medical Electronics”, IMAPS Conf. on Advanced Packaging for Medical Electronics, San-Diego, Jan.23-24, 2017 9. E. Suhir, R. Mahajan, “Are Current Qualification Practices Adequate?“, Circuit Assembly, April 2011 10. M.G.Pecht, “Prognostics and Health Management of Electronics”, John Wiley, New York, 2008 11. E. Suhir, “Remaining Useful Lifetime (RUL): Probabilistic Predictive Model”, Int. PHM Journal, vol. 2(2), 2011 12. E. Suhir, “Boltzmann-Arrhenius-Zhurkov (BAZ) Model in Physics-of-Materials Problems”, Modern Physics Letters B (MPLB), vol.27, April 2013 13. E. Suhir, “Electronics Reliability Cannot Be Assured, if it is not Quantified”, Chip Scale Reviews, March-April, 2014 14. E. Suhir, “Electronic Product Qual Specs Should Consider Its Most Likely Application(s)”, Chip Scale Reviews, November 2012 15. E. Suhir, L. Bechou, “Availability Index and Minimized Reliability Cost”, Circuit Assemblies, February 2013 2019 Advanced Technology Workshop on Advanced Packaging for Medical Microelectronics San Diego, California, January 22-23, 2019 Failure-oriented-accelerated-testing (FOAT) vs. highly-accelerated-life-testing (HALT): making a medical electron device (MED) package into a reliable product E. Suhir , S. Yi , J. Nicolics , R. Ghaffarian , Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA, Vienna Technical University, Vienna, Austria, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, CA, USA, ERS Co., Los Altos, 650-969-1530, suhire@aol.com Failure-oriented-accelerated-testing (FOAT) [1-3], which is the experimental base of the recently suggested probabilistic-design-for-reliability (PDfR) concept [4-6], was addressed in application to the advanced packaging of medical electronics in the authors’ SMT Transactions article [7] and in the 2018 Advanced Technology Workshop on Advanced Packaging for Medical Electronics [8]. This presentation addresses FOAT vs. traditional highly accelerated life testing (HALT), as well as the information on the following completed work: 1) Static fatigue lifetime of an optical fiber evaluated using FOAT and Boltzmann-Arrhenius-Zhurkov (BAZ) constitutive model; 2) Assessed interfacial strength and elastic moduli of the bonding material of an electronic packaging assembly from shear-off test data; 3) Predicted time-to-failure for the solder joint interconnection experiencing inelastic deformations and subjected to temperature cycling: strain energy based (Pete Hall’s) approach; 4) Alternative to the temperature cycling based FOAT: predicted remaining useful lifetime (RUL) for the solder material experiencing low temperature inelastic thermal stress and random vibration loading. The today’s packaged medical electronic devices (MEDs) that underwent the highly accelerated life testing (HALT), passed the existing qualification tests (QT) and survived the appropriate burn-in testing (BIT) often fail in the field. Are the QT and practices adequate [9]? The well-known prognostics-and-health-management (PHM) effort (see, e.g., [10]) is aimed at the prediction of the remaining useful life (RUL) (see, e.g., [11]) of an already manufactured electronic product, when it is too late to change its design or the materials, and the only way to assure the product’s operational reliability is to “re-qualify” it by testing and then, already in the use conditions, to determine the initiation of failure, provide an advance warning of impending failure and, to an extent possible, mitigate risks. This is seldom done in commercial electronics, where, as long as the product is still sellable, i.e., “when the customer comes back, not the product”, its cost-effectiveness and time-to-market are more important than its reliability, but is the current practice in areas where operational reliability is critical. Examples are aerospace, military, maritime, automotive, long-haul-communication, and, we believe, some human-life affecting areas of MED engineering. The PDfR concept [4-6] provides a physically meaningful, quantifiable and sustainable way to create a “generically healthy” packaged device by conducting a highly focused and highly cost-effective FOAT [2,3] aimed at the evaluation of the probability of failure (or non-failure) of the most vulnerable materials and structural elements of the package (such as, e.g., solder joint interconnections or adhesives) and geared to a physically meaningful, powerful, trustworthy and flexible BAZ [12,13] constitutive equation. The PDfR concept is based on the recognition that nothing is perfect, and that the difference between a highly reliable and an insufficiently robust product is “merely” in the level of the never-zero probability of its failure. This probability cannot be high, but does not have to be lower than necessary either: it has to be adequate for a particular product and application: an over-engineered and superfluously robust product that “never fails” is more likely than not is more costly than it should be [14, 15]. If one assesses and makes the probability of failure adequate for a particular product and application, then there will be a reason to believe that a failure-free operation of the device might be likely (“principle of practical confidence”). FOAT should be conducted in addition to and, in some cases, even instead of HALT, as a solid experimental foundation of the PDfR approach. The prediction might not always be perfect, but it is still better to make such a prediction, than to turn a blind eye on the fact that there is always a non-zero probability of the device failure. If one sets out to understand the physics of failure in an attempt to create a failure-free medical product, conducting FOAT should be imperative, should it not? FOAT’s objective is to confirm usage of a particular more or less established predictive constitutive model to confirm (say, after HALT is conducted) the underlying physics of failure, to establish the numerical characteristics (activation energy, time constant, exponents, if any, etc.) of the particular reliability model of interest. FOAT could be viewed as an extension of HALT. It should be employed when reliability is imperative and therefore the ability to quantify it is highly desirable. HALT is, to a great extent, a “black box”, i.e., a methodology which can be perceived in terms of its inputs and outputs without a clear knowledge of the underlying physics and the likelihood of failure. FOAT, on the other hand, is a “white box”, whose main objective is to confirm usage of a particular predictive model that reflects a specific anticipated failure mode. The major assumption is, of course, that this model is valid in both AT and in actual operation conditions. HALT does not measure (quantify) reliability, FOAT does. HALT can be used therefore for “rough tuning” of the products reliability, while FOAT should be employed when “fine tuning” is needed, i.e., when there is a need to quantify, assure and, if possible and appropriate, even specify the operational reliability of the device. HALT tries, quite often rather successfully, to “kill many unknown birds with one stone”. HALT has demonstrated over the years its ability to improve robustness through a “test-fail-fix” process, in which the applied stresses are somewhat above the specified operating limits. By doing that, HALT might be able to quickly precipitate and identify failures of different origins. HALT often involves step-wise stressing, rapid thermal transitions, etc. Since the principle of superposition does not work in reliability engineering, both HALT and FOAT use, when appropriate, combined stressing under various stimuli. FOAT and HALT could be carried out separately, or might be partially combined in a particular AT effort. New products present natural reliability concerns, as well as significant challenges at all the stages of their design, manufacture and use. HALT and FOAT could be especially useful for ruggedizing and quantifying reliability of such products. It is always necessary to correctly identify the expected failure modes and mechanisms, and to establish the appropriate stress limits of HALTs and FOATs to prevent “shifts” in the dominant failure mechanisms. There are many ways of how this could be done. It is concluded that the FOAT based approach, which is, in effect, a “quantified and reliability physics oriented HALT”, should be implemented, whenever feasible and appropriate, in addition to the currently widely employed various types and modifications of the forty years old HALT. In many cases the FOAT based effort could and should be employed even instead of HALT, especially for new products, whose operational reliability is unclear and for which no experience is accumulated and no best practices exist. The approach should be geared to a particular technology and application.
Ephraim Suhir, CEO
ERS Co.
Los Altos, CA
USA


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