Reliability of Components and Systems
Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems
The knowledge and the experiences of Fraunhofer ENAS in the field of reliability are the relult of developments in the past 20 years. Strated as research work in the field of lifetime prediction, fracture mechanics, and damange mechanics within the former Institute of Mechanics in Chemnitz, the methods have been transferred and widely expanded by the Micro Materials Center into the field of electronic components and systems during the 90s of the previous century. With the foundation of Fraunhofer ENAS, the work has been continued with the clear focus on the reliability of components and systems in the micro / nano transition range.
Today, the accumulated competences allow the identification, the analysis, and the evaluation of the effects and their interactions leading to drift or degradation of functional parameters and finally to failures of components and complete micro/nano systems. Based on this "physics of failure" approach, which includes comprehensive calibration of all models and rigorous validation of all simulation results by experimental tests and analysis, the mechanisms and the consequences are studied thoroughly so that the reliability risks can be quantified and converted into lifetime models. These models are directly utilized in the design and development of new smart systems and technologies (design for manufacturability and reliability). The ultimate goal is to completely avoid the time and staff consuming preliminary experiments in the design optimization of new products. Instead, this should be done by "virtual prototyping", i.e. by means of prefectly validated numerical simulation, which requires a fraction of the experimental effort only. Hence, the solutions and decisions based on virtual prototyping shall be as reliable as those based on the conventional sample tests. This way, the first physical realization of the new products would immediately be able to enter and to pass the linal qualification test. Today's best practice in microelectronics' circuit design and in the automotive industry gives rise to optimism that such a vision can also be implemented successfully in the complex field of micro and nano systems.
This area of expertise of Fraunhofer ENAS is mainly supported by the depatment Micro Materials Center and to some degree also by the department Advanced System Engineering and Multi Device Integration. Through the years of systematic development and consistent implementation, it has clearly become a unique feature of this institute. The strategy of seamless combination of experimental investigations and realistic numerical simulation pioneered and advanced by Fraunhofer ENAS has reached a level of excellence that is well known and acknowledged.