A Paradigm Shift for SMT Electronics: Micro-Coil Springs Interconnection For Ceramic and Plastic Grid Array Packaged Integrated Circuits

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Micro-coil springs provide flexible electrical interconnections and allow significant movement in the x, y, and z axes to counteract the thermal expansion and dynamic forces between a microcircuit and a printed circuit board. Micro-coil springs are able to withstand harsh thermal and vibration environments significantly better than the current state of the art (see table below for performance comparisons).

NASA Value: Marshall engineers have developed a novel interconnection structure for the integrated circuit packages used in aerospace avionic designs. Micro-coil springs (MCS) replace ball or column grid arrays (BGA/CGA), preventing connection breaks due to thermal and vibration stresses.

Partnership Mechanism: Four months after approaching Topline Corporation at the APEX Expo, NASA Marshall signed an exclusive license agreement with the company for the micro-coil technology.

Status: NASA has filed the Patent Protection Treaty. Topline is filing foreign patent protection in several countries and plans to sell the product worldwide. Topline/Marshall are collaborating on advancing surface mount technology (SMT).

Expected Results/Benefits: Topline assists thousands of customers to define and refine their SMT and microelectronics assembly processes. The micro-coil technology will substantially increase interconnection flexibility, offering longer life to these electronics.

Performance Comparisons: Test vehicles have been thermal cycle tested (-55/+125oC, 15 minute soaks at extremes = approx. 1 hour/cycle) and vibration tested at 5g, 8g, and 10g. Note: In order to determine characteristic life, thermal cycle testing of the MCS in the plastic package will continue until 63.2% of the 32 channels (20 channels) have failed.

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  • Name:
    Jim Hester
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Jim Hester, Mark Strickland
  • Jim is inspired by:
    The desire to use my engineering and manufacturing knowledge, skills, and abilities to improve life for all of us.
  • Software used for this entry:
    Inventor Fusion, ANSYS Workbench, AutoCAD, Pro Engineer
  • Patent status: