Sensors are key elements for capturing environmental properties and are increasingly important in the industry for the intelligent control of industrial processes. While in many everyday objects highly integrated sensor systems are already state of the art, the situation in an industrial environment is clearly different. Frequently the use of sensor systems is impossible, because the extreme ambient conditions of industrial processes like high operating temperatures or strong mechanical load do not allow a reliable operation of sensitive electronic components. Fraunhofer is running the Lighthouse Project ‘eHarsh’ to overcome this hurdle. In the course of the project an integrated sensor readout electronic has been realized based on a set of three chips. A dedicated sensor frontend provides the analog sensor interface for resistive sensors typically arranged in a Wheatstone configuration. Furthermore, the chipset includes a 32-bit microcontroller for signal conditioning and sensor control. Finally, it comprises an interface chip including a bus transceiver and voltage regulators. The chipset has been realized in a high temperature 0.35 micron SOI-CMOS technology focusing operating temperatures up to 300 °C. The chipset is assembled on a multilayer ceramic LTCC-board using flip chip technology. The ceramic board consists of 4 layers with a total thickness of approx. 0.9 mm. The internal wiring is based on silver paste while external contacts were alternatively manufactured in silver (sintering/soldering) or in gold-alloys (wire bonding). As interconnection technology, silver sintering has been applied. It has already been shown that a significant increase in lifetime can be reached by using silver sintering for die attach applications. Using silver sintering for flip chip technology is a new and challenging approach. By adjusting the process parameter geared to the chipset design and the design of the ceramic board high quality flip chip interconnects can be generated.

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