Table design is just one element to accurate positioning; software is the other. So says systems integrator Jim Saudargas. His company, Concepts in Computing, South Beloit, IL, writes the source code that ties together all elements necessary for wafer fabrication: the vision system camera and lens; frame-grabber cards that convert camera output into digital data the computer can manipulate; X-Y table drives that position the camera and wire bonder; and the software platform, be it Windows 95 or NT. Saudargas notes there are many ways to accomplish precise positioning. In one scenario, the semiconductor manufacturer may opt for a medium-range positioning system "just to get in the general vicinity of the fiducials, or reference marks on the wafer." From there, the manufacturer may employ the vision system to move in closer, making relative measurements from the fiducials. "Suppose a vision system provides a quarter-pixel resolution," Saudargas speculates. "If the field of view is 300 microns and it is 480 pixels high, that equates to about 0.6 microns per pixel. One fourth of that allows submicron readings, even though the stage and scale itself are not that accurate." Regardless of positioning scenario, Saudargas claims software is the key. "You can have the best hardware positioning solutions available," he says, "but it will not be helpful unless you have the right software driving it."
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
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