Microfluidics—Why Your Next IC Packaging Project May Require More Than Your Known Electronics/Materials Methods and Practices
Companies around the globe are creating new products that perform an array of functions with not only electrons, but also fluids. The integrating ability to interact with, or measure the properties of fluids, is creating a new class of microfluidic products that create new sectors and applications. The greater microfluidics sector can be stretched to include application specific sectors such as ink-jet print heads and pressure sensors where growth is reaching a plateau. In addition, diagnostics, drug discovery/delivery and chip cooling applications are expanding in complexity and applications year over year. Supporting an ever faster pace of products will require repurposing of mature processes, methods, technologies and a greater leverage from Standards. Accordingly, the SEMI Standards Global MEMS Technical Committee receives input from the Microfluidics Task Force to determine the critical common needs in this area and develop technical standards.
Two Standards have been produced by the task force and more are on the way. The first Standard is MS6-0308: Guide for Design and Materials for Interfacing Microfluidic Systems. The Standard provides guidelines for general fluidic interface design and materials selection that can reduce redundant effort and lead to improved design, manufacturability and operation.
The design section provides a list of generic design parameters that a designer should consider up front. The materials section provides a matrix of materials compatibility for commonly used materials and fluids. The intended use of the compatibility matrix is to provide a general resource to the user.
References are widely used in this section due to the frequent need to perform in depth research into materials and fluid analysis. It provides classes of commonly used solid materials, liquids, and gases to aid in high level materials and fluid candidate selection. The third section provides examples of fluidic interfaces developed with elements of microscale precision. As TSV (Through Silicon Via) technologies proliferate, there will be more applications leveraging the ability to manage fluid flow and heat transfer.
The second Standard created by the Microfluidics Task Force is MS7-0708: Specification for Microfluidic Interfaces to Electronic Device Packages. The specification describes the connection attributes and interface requirements between EFICs (Electro-Fluidic Integrated Circuits) and macro-sized interface boards. The standard is intended as an enhanced capability to state-of-the-art electronic device technologies incorporating a combination of electronics and fluidics. The standard contains four mutually exclusive sections of requirements:
- Part A – EFIC Fluidic I/O Design Constraints
- Part B – In-package (micro-to-micro) Fluidic Adapter Design Constraints
- Part C- Fluidic Routing Card Constraints
- Part D – Mini-fluidic Adapter Constraints
Design examples of one implementation adhering to all the constraints are shown in the Figure 1 and 2 on this page. Validation of this design is in progress with participating companies.
New areas of work will focus on standard microtube interfaces, leveraging TSV processes, reliability, electro-osmotic mobility from which you can extract the zeta potential (also known as the surface potential), and temperature test methods.
In addition, work is starting on developing a technology roadmap for MEMS, a challenging task given the widely varied MEMS industry. An initial template draft can be found at www.semi.org/memsroadmap. SEMI has published six other MEMS standards and is looking forward to contributions from professionals like you.
For more information on MEMS Committee activities, please contact Michael Tran at email@example.com.
Mark Crockett has been leading the Microfluidics Task Force since 2004 and has been chairing the North America MEMS Standards Technical Committee since 2006. Mark has received the North American Standards Outstanding Contributor Award multiple times for his dedicated work in the SEMI Standards Program in the MEMS, Facilities and Gases Committees. Mark also received the North American Standards Leadership Award in 2008 for his efforts in leading the Microfluidics TF in the creation of two standards.