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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D055814/1
Title: Equipment for Physics-of-Failure and Reliability Research in Electronics
Principal Investigator: Johnson, Professor CM
Other Investigators:
Bailey, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Electrical and Electronic Eng
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 February 2007 Ends: 30 April 2010 Value (£): 338,530
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Power Electronics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Through its contribution to the establishment of a laboratory dedicated to electronics reliability and packaging, this equipment-rich research project aims will provide an underpinning capability that extends the boundaries and flexibility of existing research programmes and enables new and innovative programmes to be developed in the area of electronics reliability.In an increasingly competitive manufacturing climate, the consideration of reliability and the physics-of-failure (PoF) has become an integral part of the design and development cycle of all electronic products, whether they are consumer items with a design life of 18 months or safety-critical systems with a design life of 30 years. Technology areas of particular interest to the UK include the more electric aircraft (MEA) and automotive electronics, both of which increasingly require electronic systems to be incorporated into operating environments that have hitherto been considered too extreme for long-term reliable operation. Establishing the reliability of systems intended for these environments is hampered by the absence of definitive standards and lack of established test methods and reliability models. Experimental and simulation-based research is therefore essential to establish and validate the PoF models applicable to these environmental conditions, from which accelerated test methods can be developed. The equipment described in this proposal will provide a unique resource that will be accessible by the UK academic and industrial communities for collaborative research. It is particularly aimed at consortia including a mixture of academic groups and smaller companies who wish to develop novel programmes of research in physics-of-failure and reliability testing but who do not, themselves, have the resources to do so. Collaboration will be facilitated through the research instruments of the EPSRC and through the activities of related bodies, such as the recently established Innovative Electronics Manufacturing Research Centre (IeMRC). The proposal targets 3 sprecific items of equipment, namely a high-speed thermography system, a vibration testing system and a thermal shock system, that when integrated with existing systems at Sheffield will provide reliability testing capabilities that are unique in any academic institution in the UK. For example, the combination of the thermography system with laser pulse heating sources will provide access to a range of active transient thermography techniques that can be used in defect analysis and materials characterisation. The combination of a vibration system with the wide-temperature-range rapid thermal cycling system will allow the study of accelerated stress testing methodologies for systems being developed for operating in challenging environments.A key objective of the research enabled by the equipment will be to develop test methods and predictive models that can be used in the design, development and qualification of electronic products in order to meet specific reliability goals. Initial work will combine the results of experimental studies conducted at Sheffield with the results of thermo-mechanical simulations performed at Greenwich in order to construct validated physics-of-failure models for a range of wear-out mechanisms. Further research will concentrate on the introduction of new materials and assembly technologies into power electronic modules with the aim of meeting the stringent environmental and lifetime demands of emerging application areas such as the more electric aircraft. A longer-term key objective is the stimulation of new collaborative programmes of research in reliability and physics of failure across the electronics community.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk