Development of Electronics Manufacturing Engineering Instructional Materials for ECE Sophomores and Juniors

Keywords: Electronics Manufacturing, Educational Materials

Date: March 30, 1994

Principal Investigators:

Leonard Bobrow (
Co-Principal Investigator
Donald Scott (
Co-Principal Investigator
Ting-wei Tang(
Keith Carver(


In this manufacturing-across-the-curriculum proposal, we outline our plans for developing novel electronics manufacturing instructional materials to be used in core ECE sophomore and junior courses at UMass Amherst as well as other institutions. In Phase 1 of this proposal, we plan to develop novel sophomore level course materials on semiconductor fabrication, packaging and manufacturing techniques starting at the integrated circuit level. These materials will be developed with assistance from industry experts for use in existing courses on digital electronics and semiconductor devices and materials. Starting during the Spring 95 semester, these new lecture materials will be videotaped, thus providing easy portability to other EASNE institutions.


We wish to deveelop new electronics manufacturing concepts and instructional materials for use acrosss electrical and computer engineering curricula, particularly in ECE sophomore and junior-yaer courses. Standard ECE undergraduate curricula include a sophhomore-level digital electronics course and a junior-level course in semiconductor devices and materials, both corses emphasizing the electrical physics and circuit behavior of digital and analog solid-state devices and integrated circuits. We propose to introduce semiconductor device fabrication, packaging and manufacturing concepts into these courses. WE plan to develop electronics manufacturing instructional materials for use in our Amherst campus ECE courses and in such a way as to assure portability to similar courses within the ECE programs at the Lowell, Storrs and Kingson campuses.

Description and Approach

At UMass, Amherst, the ECE Department offers two ABET-accredited undergraduate programs, one in Electrical Engineering (EE) and the other in Computer Systems Engineering (CSE). Both the EE and CSE programs include a required sophomore course on digital electronics (ECE 214); EE majors also take a junior course on semiconductor devices and materials (ECE 316). As it now stands, both of these courses focus entirely on the semiconductor physics and terminal behavior of common solid-state devices such as diodes, transistors and integrated circuits. ECE 214 emphasizes digital electronic logic devices and device families such as TTL (transistor-transistor logic), ECL (emitter- coupled logic), NMOS Field-Effect Transistors, and CMOS devices, which are the typical building blocks of modern digital microelectronics circuitry. The junior course ECE 316 goes into considerable more detail on the physics of semiconductor devices and materials, focusing on energy bands, carrier diffusion, p-n junctions and high-frequency performance of advanced devices such as JFETs and MOSFETs. In their current form, these courses do not introduce students to semiconductor device fabrication, packaging and manufacturing processes.

We propose to introduce electronics fabrication, packaging and manufacturing concepts to these courses. In the 14-week sophomore course ECE 214, we plan to eliminate some existing topics, making room for a new electronics manufacturing-related module which would require three weeks to cover. The intent is to include "non-electronic" manufacturing concepts in the context of digital electronics devices. This module would emphasize integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing, and would include topics such as the following:

These topics are illustrative only; the exact choice of topics and sub topics will be developed during the summer of 1994 by ECE faculty with assitance from industrial experts in New England semiconductor manufacturing companies such as AT&T, M/A-Com, DEC, etc.

Because these manufacturing processes are technology intensive, we plan to supplement the classroom materials with lectures by industry experts, and with at least on field trip to a chip manufacturing process line in the Boston area. We also plan to use videotaped demonstrations of IC and chip manufacturing process lines.

NOTE: Phase I of this project (ECE 214) was completed during the Spring '95 semester. To access the final report, click here.

In the junior-level course ECE 316, we plan to introduce new material on basic semiconductor fabrication and device manufacturing concepts. The materials and device physics topics within this course could alone fill two semester-long courses, so this 3-credit course is already "packed". Nonetheless, we feel that one to two weeks of device fabrication on p-n junctions (diffusion, ion implantation, etc.), fabrication of Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs), fabrication of monolithic circuits (including masking, selective doping, fine-line lithography, etc.), and the testing, bonding and packaging of Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) devices (including wire bonding, flip-chip techniques, and packaging). We already have an elective senior-level course on microelectronics fabricatons techniques (ECE 571), but this is taken by only a dozen or so undergraduate students each year. By modifying the required course ECE 316, we can ensure that all undergraduate electrical engineering majors will have had at least some exposure to microelectronics fabrication concepts.

Faculty teaching these sophomore and junior semiconductor electronics courses are normally not experts in electronics manufacturing, and for that reason we ill require considerable assistance from industry in the development of appropriate materials. It is important to select topics which will (a) mesh well with the semiconductor electronics concepts already in these courses, (b) provide meaninful learning experiances and quantitative problem-solving in electronics manufacturing processes, but (c) not overwhelm the students with details of manufacturing technologies that are beyond their comprehension.

We plan to enhance portability of new instructional electronics manufactuing materials in ECE 214 by offering the course on video-tape during the Spring'95 semester. Thus, the videotapes wil be immediately available to other ECE departments in EASNE institutions. This will also provide an easy way to project videotaped segments of semiconductor electronics manufacturing and assembly processes.

Work and Time Plan

Phase 1. The development of manufacturing-related materials for the new ECE 214 course will be conducted during the summer of 1994. Either Dr. Don Scott or Dr. Leonard Bobrow will teach this course during the Spring'95 semester; they will work with Dr. Keith Carver and industry experts to develop this module. We estimate that this will require 1.5 months of faculty time dufing the summer of 1994. Becasue this is "non-standard" material, not to be found in textbooks on digital electronics, we will need considerable help from our industrial friends an dbelieve that we can enlist assistance from AT&T, DEC, M/A-Com, and other semiconductor chip and multi-chip module manufacturers in Massachusetts. We will enlist industrial expert assistance frm Dr. Robert Maurer (AT&T Bell Labs, North Andover, Massachusetts) and other industrial experts at DEC, Raytheon, etc.

Phase 2. The development of the new ECE 316 course materials will be conducted during the summer of 1995. Dr. Ting-wei Tang will be responsible for the development of these new materials, which would be class- tested during the Spring'96 semester. A specific proposal and time schedule for the junior-level course will be submitted to the EASNE Curriculum Council in January, 1995.

Project Evaluation Criteria

The success of this curriculum-development project will be measured by the following general criteria:
  1. instructional efficacy and practicality of introducing highly complex and technology-specific electronics manufacturing concepts to typical ECE sophomores and juniors,
  2. acceptance by ECE faculty of teachign manufacturing concepts in fundamental electrical science courses,
  3. influence (positive or negative) of these new concepts on retention of ECE majors,
  4. practicality of developing electronics manufacturing instructional materials using industry experst working with ECE faculty, and
  5. portability and acceptance of these new curriculare materials be ECE programs in other institutions, especially EASNE universities.
We realize that none of these criteria admit to exact quantitative measurement. However, we plan to develop assessmant tools that will give qualitative measures, these tools including pro- and post-course learning survey questionnaires, one-on-one oral post-course student interviews by independant surveyors, etc. This assessment phase for the ECE 214 materials will begin in May 1995, near the end of the spring semester; that for the ECE 316 materials would be conducted in May 1996.

Videotapes of the new sophomore-level instructional materials wil be available for use by other EASNE institutions by September 1995.


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