IP Protection Royalty Treatment A patent is a time-limited monopoly granted by the federal government to inventors. A patent encourages innovation by giving a patent owner exclusive rights to his or her invention. On the surface, a patent is a fairly simple concept. It protects an invention. However, just as designing, engineering and manufacturing a product is a complex process fraught with potential risks, a patent is much more than simply protection for an invention. by Kathlene Ingham
On the Web ‘No One Knows Design Like the Designer’ Experience shows perhaps one out of 20 designs has a hitch where the Gerbers aren’t outputted how they are supposed to be. A free CAM tool compares the nets against the IPC netlist file, to ensure CAM that the Gerber will load and any errors caught. by Mike Buetow
COVER STORY Benefits and Challenges of 3D Semiconductor Packaging By integrating multiple die elements within a single package outline, overall product functionality has increased and been made smaller than their predecessors, improving both performance and capability. Assembly of semiconductor die onto a substrate is essentially the same as those used for standard IC packaging in lead frames; however, substrate-based IC packaging for 3D applications can adopt a wider range of materials, and several alternative processes may be used in their assembly. by Vern Solberg
COVER STORY The Price is Right 2010 was a comeback year for printed circuit board designers: Nearly 70% saw their pay rise – and perhaps more important – job security is improving. Our annual survey also shows designers aren’t as long in the tooth as some may have thought. by Chelsey Drysdale
PCB PROCUREMENT 10 Tips for Purchasing PCBs Four industry veterans with backgrounds in PCB materials, chemistry, fabrication and assembly provided their expert advice, often echoing each other’s recommendations. If you want to maximize PCB quality, price, performance, delivery or overall value, try following some of these insiders’ tips. by Marissa Oskarsen
Signal Integrity Considerations for Proper Layout of a High-Speed PCB An endless variety of software tools exist to ensure signal integrity at the board level. The critical tool, however, is careful evaluation of considerations to maintain PCB signal integrity. A review of the signal integrity demands of digital and analog components. by Syed W. Ali, C.I.D.+
HDI Plating New Copper Electrolytes for Blind Microvia Filling Problems related to conductive pastes as fillers have led to the development of certain electrolytes. To achieve the required coating properties, these processes use high-leveling sulphuric acid copper electrolytes containing organic bath additives alongside copper sulphate, sulphuric acid and chloride. by Michael Dietterle, Ph.D.
EMS Top 50 The Great Rebound of 2010 The electronics manufacturing industry will remember 2010 for many reasons: rampant component shortages (and the rise of counterfeits), the tight financial markets and tense end-market conditions. But mostly, it will be remembered for recovery. by Mike Buetow