Micralyne - Leadership in MEMS
NEWSLYNE - e-Newsletter

Micralyne News

Welcome to the first edition of Newslyne, Micralyne's quarterly e-newsletter. This newsletter will cover issues relevant to the MEMS industry and recent news from Micralyne. We hope you find it interesting, relevant and easy to read.

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Contents - December 2003

Message from the CEO

We are pleased to publish our first newsletter, and we hope that it serves the purpose of providing valuable insight into the MEMS industry.

Nobody tracking the industry can deny that the last few years have been a period of turmoil. We have seen bold predictions, exuberant investment strategies, grand business failures, and through it all, a number of strong prevailing areas of growth for MEMS applications.

Our view at Micralyne, backed up by our history of profitable growth, is that we're more likely to see the industry grow and mature as a result of a broad number of niche applications of MEMS, rather than one or two 'killer apps' driving major growth. To be sure, there are major applications, but only a few, whereas there are literally hundreds of smaller applications of MEMS. Consumers of MEMS-based products will be better served if we build a healthy broad-based industry, and this is one of the reasons why we're focusing on providing flexible manufacturing services to customers in many industry sectors, and with many different application requirements.

Micralyne recently announced its fifth consecutive year of revenue growth and positive earnings. We are very pleased with the news as, to the best of our knowledge, we are one of the few profitable MEMS manufacturers worldwide.

Our revenue growth was the result of adding two major new manufacturing customers along with a significant number of new R&D customers, many of which we expect will contribute to new manufacturing revenue in the near future.

We have actively stayed 'industry agnostic' and to this end we are able to recognize and develop business in a broad number of sectors. We have customers in transportation, aerospace, printing, telecommunications, bioanalysis, drug delivery, semiconductor test, chemical analysis, and other industries. We look forward to seeing even more applications of MEMS technology, now that the technology investment drought is coming to a cautious end.

No doubt the industry will experience more ups and downs over the coming years. Through it all we expect that our excellent quality practices, stable business operations, and strong customer commitment will enable us to continue to contribute to the growth of this exciting industry.

I hope you enjoy reading the following content in this first edition of Newslyne.

– Chris Lumb, President & CEO, Micralyne Inc. –


Tech Brief

Electroplating of AuSn Solders onto Patterned Substrates for Packaging Applications

With the increasing demand for reducing the size of electronic and optoelectronic parts, numerous attempts have been made in the packaging industry to miniaturize bonding media features in order to meet the new requirements. This has necessitated the use of more delicate processes for depositing and placing solders between submounts and dies. Among the different available processes, electroplating seems most promising, because of its simplicity and low capital cost.

AuSn eutectic solder has excellent mechanical and thermal properties compared with traditional PbSn solders. It is especially ideal for flip-chip techniques and laser bonding in electronic/optoelectronic packaging.

The gold-tin binary phase diagram contains two eutectic transformations; one occurs at 280 °C (Au-20Sn wt%) while the other at 232 °C (Au-90Sn wt%). The latter is not of much interest because it forms brittle phases that are deleterious to packaging applications. The former eutectic composition is widely used for soldering. The Au-20Sn (wt%) eutectic composition consists of two phases, AuSn and Au5Sn. The Au5Sn phase forms at compositions ranging from Au-6Sn (wt%) to Au-12Sn (wt%) and is essentially the matrix phase (65 volume percent) for the eutectic. The AuSn phase forms at Au-38Sn (wt%) and is harder than Au5Sn. The soft Au5Sn phase bears most of the plastic deformation applied to the solder, whereas the hard AuSn phase gives strength to the structure.

Micralyne Inc. has exclusive right to use a patent for pulse-alternating plating of AuSn alloys on substrates with Au seed layers using a slightly acidic, chloride based solution. Alloys with Sn concentrations of ~10wt% and ~38 wt% can be reproducibly deposited at current different current densities. These concentrations correspond to Au5Sn (10 wt% Sn) and AuSn (38 wt% Sn) intermetallic phases. By alternatively electroplating the two phases, any Sn concentration between 10 and 38 wt% can be deposited by adjusting the electroplating time for both phases. For example, Au-Sn solder films up to 40µm in thickness have been successfully plated by depositing alternating Au5Sn and AuSn layers, from a single solution, to obtain the eutectic composition (20 wt%Sn). After reflow at 280°C for a couple of seconds, a typical eutectic microstructure is formed. This example demonstrates that Au-Sn alloys with different melting points, including the eutectic temperature (280°C), can be fabricated for specific applications without changing the electroplating bath.

– Siamak Akhlaghi, Project Scientist, Micralyne Inc. –

::Read Full Paper ::View Website


Micralyne News

Micralyne Enhances Quality Certification
Micralyne has enhanced its quality systems to move from the ISO 9001:1994 standard to the ISO 9001:2000 standard, which continues to raise the benchmark for quality and reliability in MEMS fabrication.
::Read Full Release



Micralyne Scientist Wins Research Award
A Micralyne Project Scientist, Dr. Siamak Akhlaghi, has received a Gold Medal Award from the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society (AESF). Dr. Akhlaghi was presented the Abner Brenner Award for the best paper published in the Plating and Surface Finishing Journal during the year 2002. ::Read Full Release


Appointment of New Vice President of Engineering
Micralyne has announced the appointment of Mr. Yan Loke as Vice President of Engineering. Mr. Yan Loke joined Micralyne in January of 2003, as Director of Engineering and, in his new role, will expand his leadership position within the company. ::Read Full Release


Micralyne Receives Funding for Polymer Research
Micralyne has successfully received funding from IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program) to build up its capability in the use of polymers for MEMS and Microfluidic products. The use of polymers in microfabrication is seen as a key element in lowering the costs of next generation products, specifically in the biomedical field. ::Read Full Release


Customer Announcements

MicroCHIPS, Inc.
Micralyne Inc. and MicroCHIPS, Inc. announced that they have expanded the scope of their work together for the development of MicroCHIPS' innovative drug delivery and biosensing devices. Micralyne will increase its work with MicroCHIPS as the company's drug delivery product development activities continue to advance.

“We are very pleased with our collaboration with Micralyne,” stated John Santini, President and Chief Scientific Officer of MicroCHIPS, Inc. “We have met the milestones for the first phase of this project and are now accelerating the pace of our pre-clinical development work." ::View Website


New Automotive Customer
Micralyne Inc. secured a major automotive supply contract. The order requires Micralyne to manufacture MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-systems) components for a sensor system for a North American automobile company. This order will significantly add to Micralyne's revenues and enhance the company's strong automotive MEMS-based offering.


New Telecom Customer
Micralyne Inc. announced a major order with an emerging optical switch company. This contract requires Micralyne to manufacture a MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-systems) optical switch device for use in major telecommunication networks worldwide. This new order exemplifies Micralyne's continued commitment to the telecommunications industry and is a sign of the industry's newfound growth.


Additional Reading & MEMS Industry Resources

Some additional reading that might be of interest to you in regard to Micralyne or the small tech industry are:

Nanotechnology: Creating a New Pillar of the Alberta Economy
2002 Alberta Technology Report


Canadian Microfluid Technology May Boost Drug Research

Small Times - An online magazine that provides readers with daily news coverage of small tech around the world

MEMS Industry Group - The MEMS Industry Group (MIG) is the premier trade association representing the North American MEMS and Microstructure industries


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