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A desktop simulation of the MIT.nano die bonder enables virtual tool training. MIT News

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Packaging is the final step in the manufacturing process of semiconductor devices. An important tool for packing is the die bonder. This facilitates assembly of the device, usually by attaching the chip to a precise location on the substrate.

Die bonders can be complex and difficult to master, but students and engineers around the world are using desktop virtual reality (VR) training simulations based on the die bonder found in the Lab for Education and Application Prototypes (LEAP) to You can now practice using the die bonder. ) on his 5th floor at MIT.nano.

The simulation allows trainees to practice using the tool controls to pick and place semiconductors and glass substrates, as well as to expand on the inner workings of machines that are not possible with physical equipment training. You can capture any angle or view.

The die bonder is one of 40 simulations of advanced manufacturing tools planned for the Virtual Manufacturing Lab (VM-Lab), a three-year collaboration by researchers from MIT, Clemson University, and the University of Arizona. Erik Verlage, a research scientist at MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) and leader of his VM-Lab project, and Anu Agarwal, principal research scientist at the MIT Materials Laboratory (MRL) and leader of his LEAP cooperated with He is Priya Sundararajan, an industry consultant and simulation project manager. This project is funded by the Office of Naval Research.

Researchers believe that training in VR tools will help the field by making professional training more widely available and by better preparing users when undergoing hands-on training with physical tools. We believe it will help address the skills gap facing the U.S. workforce.

Simulation democratizes access, says Sundararajan. “People can use this VR simulation to learn very useful industrial skills that they can put on their resumes and become more attractive as job seekers.”

Leaping into VR

The first training module created by VM-Lab focused on fiber optic manufacturing at Clemson University. When it came time to work on additional simulations, Agarwal saw that the MIT.nano lab contained tools that would contribute to the project’s goals. “VM-Lab aims to expand access to training,” he says Agarwal. “A die bonder is a complex but standard electronic and photonic packaging tool, and several tools at MIT.nano fall into this same category.”

Machines like die bonders typically require engineers and technicians to travel to the site for training. On-site training is compacted into a short period of time and therefore intensive. It is also costly due to lost production time on the company’s machines. And not to mention the potential costs if a new employee or student accidentally damages equipment or fragile semiconductors in a university teaching lab.

“We wanted to develop a training process so that when students go to the field, they already have a primer on the basics before they arrive,” says Sundararajan.

Perhaps the team that developed the die bonder simulation was an extensive team. Some members have never or rarely seen a LEAP die bonder in person. DMSE Professor Lionel He is a junior in Kimmerling’s Electronic Materials Group (EMAT) and his Drew Weninger is the team’s eyes and ears, demonstrating his die bonder on Zoom and sharing photos and videos of the machine. Taken from every angle. Weninger recently saw his work pay off. Experience the simulation. ”

Karina Martínez-Reyes, an MRL Summer Research Scholar and National Science Foundation research experiential scholar for undergraduates at Interamerican University in Puerto Rico, enlisted the help of a machine manufacturer to create a storyboard and parts for the project. helped create a list of “Karina said she couldn’t go to MIT because of her internship because of the pandemic, so she learned completely about the tool from her Drew-provided live simulations,” she said. recalls. “If it worked for her, she was convinced that remote training would work for her users as well.”

A major redesign of the graphical user interface by the VM-Lab team allows learners to easily interact with the tool hardware in a VR environment. Kenan Cicek, a DMSE Fulbright academic, integrated the MIT data and ported it to his Clemson University Center for Workforce Development team, which created the VR simulation. “Co-leading a multidisciplinary team has been a great learning experience,” he says, Cicek. “When both engineer and technical learners benefited from tool simulation, the end result was heartwarming.”

training for the future

One of VM-Lab’s goals is to see how students interact with simulations and whether training time can be reduced. According to Verlage, previous research has shown that interactive visualizations are more impactful than text descriptions and videos. “Students report liking these tools more and feeling more confident when they have the actual tools in their hands.”

In the next step of the project, Verlage and his colleagues will expand the simulation to bring it closer to what an educational game is. Rather than following step-by-step procedures, simulations allow students to explore the tools and use them in their own way to achieve specified goals, he says.

Ultimately, Verlage adds, immersive headset virtual reality tools and haptic feedback body suits may be used in simulations. “We want to do some basic research with the MIT.nano Immersion Lab equipment to really make these simulations a little more tactile.”