New Technologies and Intelligent Mechanisms for Very High Productivity Handling and Contacting of Miniaturized Semiconductor Devices
- Politecnico di Torino
The SIMeCH project (Semiconductor Intelligent Mechanisms for Contacting
and Handling) stems from the need to create an intelligent mechanism
for high productivity pick and place of miniaturized parts,
characterized by very low mass (the current dimensions are about 2x2
mm, and they are going to further decrease). This necessity comes from
the semiconductor industry, where no handling solution is now
available for MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems micromachined in
silicon) and microchips, with the required productivity and
reliability, for production test. The major difficulty is in
performing the parallel handling of a high number of miniaturized
systems on chip, while contacting them for testing sakes with an
enough compact device and without interfering with their delicate
micro electro mechanical functioning.
The project pursues the objective to research new technologies and
solutions, including validation through experimental test, and
integration in a prototype.
The results will enhance the role of Piedmont in high tech, with
solutions able to satisfy the requirements coming from the
semiconductor industry worldwide. It will have important spin-offs on
local employment, and will provide an innovative technological
solution with possible applications wherever the movement of small
parts is required.
In this context, the main objective lies in identifying new
technologies for the pick and place of the components, for their
positioning and contacting, providing the required productivity,
reliability and with mechanisms that avoid any possible damage or
interference with the MEMS functioning.
These results will generate possibilities of growth in MEMS
applications, whose importance is becoming strategic in many fields:
automotive, audio/ video, security, microfluidics, computers,
communication, sport and medical equipment, entertainment.
Miniaturized 3-axial accelerometers, pressure sensors, gyroscopes,
microphones, are being used more and more, e.g. for image
stabilization, anti-heft, navigation, active safety, freefall sensor,
control and feedback of sport performance, remote monitoring of
kinematics parameters, etc.
The research integrates mechanical, electronic and informatics
competences. The first activity consists in defining all the technical
specifications required, including the characteristics of the parts to
handle and the expected performance. All the other activities concern
the technology research, evaluation and suitable experimentation for
each part of the system.
The second activity concerns the movement of the pick and place
units. This requires the research of the technologies for the axis
structure and the type of actuators to be used. Both the mechanical
and control aspects must be considered. One of the main issues in this
phase consists in guaranteeing the reliability of the component
positioning: since the components are very small and light, they can
easily overturn or pop of when accelerating or decelerating.
The third activity focuses on the development of the pick and place
mechanism. It involves the research of possible technologies for
moving a high number of components, combining the speed of the
movement and the capacity to handle in parallel the highest number of
components possible, while maintaining compact dimensions of the
Both the second and third activities include the research of
intelligent sensors for controlling the correct pick and place and
The fourth and fifth activities consist in the research, study and
experimentation of mechanisms for positioning and contacting many
components in parallel in the test area, and for the transmission of
the test stimuli to the components from the test equipment, and vice
Finally, a complete prototype will be designed and realized in order
to test the overall effectiveness of the proposed solutions. The
prototype validation will take place on a real test case.