In the era of Industry 4.0, next generation embedded systems will be more intelligent – deeply integrating the information and physical worlds. These embedded systems, referred to as Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) by scientists in Europe, will be deployed in the domains of automotive, aerospace, health and energy as well as smart city. Enabled by Model-based Design (MBD), the next generation of embedded systems will emerge, leading to significant cost-saving and improved productivity in the ICT sector.
System-Level Virtual Prototyping of Embedded Systems
Performance-critical embedded systems consist of hardware, software and physical systems. In order to meet the sophisticated design requirements of these systems, ASTRI has developed innovative co-modelling technologies for systems-level virtual prototypes. The system architecture is based on the SAE AS5506B standard (Architecture Analysis and Design Language, AADL) and the AADL Behaviour Annex (INRIA Polychrony). Different types of simulation could be carried out at the system level, including Model-In-The-Loop (MIL) simulation, Software-In-The-Loop (SIL) simulation, and Hardware-In-The-Loop (HIL) simulation. System-level virtual prototyping involving an integrated simulation enables performance prediction of the system prior to constructing physical prototypes.
The natural user interface sensing platform focuses on information extraction from human eyes and hands.
Based on the captured eye image sequence, eye related information such as user’s eye gazing direction, iris information, blinking frequency can be obtained. By applying the extracted eye information into the HUD platform, we can make warning if we detect the user is not in a proper driving condition, e.g. in a drowsing or distracted condition. By applying the extracted eye information into the HMD platform, we can determine user identity for login or online payment. By analysing user gazing direction, we can also determine user intension and concentration level for applications such as gaming or education.
Based on the sensed hand and finger image sequence, user gesture, pose and pointing direction can be determined. By applying the extracted hand or finger information into the HUD platform, driver is able to take control on the HUD by simple gestures such as flipping right/left. By applying the hand information into the HMD platform, it is easy for user to input into the user control interface and make interaction with displayed virtual object.
To capture the eye image and finger image efficiency, a dedicated hardware processing platform is integrated to control the synchronization between external light source and camera sensor. The hardware processor platform processes the incoming camera data and then performs the real-time analysis for the eye and finger information. With the benefit of all-in-one system, the related information can be displayed on the HUD or HMD system more conveniently and effectively.
ASTRI’s AR (Augmented Reality) Head Mount Display uses proprietary sensing integrated optics module for both display and sensing. The intelligent projection solutions cover see through, non-see through virtual display with different types of field of view (FOV), including small FOV prism type and large FOV combiner type. With its sensing capability, it is able to realise finger touch sensing on air, pupil detection and tracking and iris recognition. As there is a built-in android embedded system, it is user friendly to connect to any Internet of Things (IoT) system such as In-door navigation for different types of AR applications.
User scenario of HMD
High resolution and brightness display for both indoor and outdoor applications with augmented reality sensing integrated for touch control, face recognition, and eye tracking.
To meet the requirements of high brightness and compact size, for applications of Automotive Head-up-display and large screen displays on wall, especially in outdoor environment, breakthrough in the development of laser based projection display, including increased optical system efficiency and reduced size/weight and cost is much desired.
In laser based projection display, including conventional imaging/projection and scanned-beam display technologies, additional restrictive requirements must be fulfilled for commercialisation and market acceptance:
• High resolution
• High brightness
• Low speckle
• Eye safe
• Large depth of focus and wide projection angle
ASTRI focuses on developing 2D laser holographic projection display optics engine design and its computer generated hologram (CGH) algorithm, which are expected to have unique ability to achieve key requirements outlined above.
CGH (Computer Generated Hologram) Algorithm:
• Phase-only LCoS SLM based
• Variable Laser Wavelengths (Red, Green, Blue, UV)
• Simple Optical Structure
• High brightness
• High Signal Noise Ratio
• Wide throw angle with throw ratio of <1.0
• Dimension: ~80mmx60mmx25mm
Liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) panel has long been used as a light amplitude modulator for projection display applications. With proper liquid crystal mode and arrangement of incident light polarisation, LCOS panel can also be used as a pure phase modulator, and functions as a dynamic diffractive element.
ASTRI’s LCOS panel can work as an amplitude modulator with high contrast, fast response time, which is suitable for Head Mounted Display (HMD) and Head Up Display (HUD) see-through display applications.
ASTRI’s LCOS panel can work as a phase modulator as well, which can be used for manipulating wave front for various applications, such as high efficiency holographic HMD, HUD application.
• Amplitude modulated LCOS Panel:
o Panel size: 0.37”
o Resolution: 720p
o Contrast: 1000:1
o Frame rate: 180Hz
• Phase modulated LCOS Panel:
o Phase only modulation
o ≥2π phase shift up to 633nm
o Small pixel size 4.5um
o High resolution 1080p
o High diffraction efficiency
Application: HMD, HUD, POS (projection on surface)
ASTRI proposes a new approach for defect analysis, namely the deep learning/machine learning based defect classification technology. The proposed deep model is tailored and optimised for industrial applications. It is equipped with precise multi-scaling mechanism to provide high precision feature extraction for high precision inspection. In addition, it has self-learning ability to adaptively adjust and tuning the model to boosting the performance. The deep model network is also optimised for high speed industrial applications. For example the network flatten technology reduces the complexity of network to speed up the testing procedure to meet the high UPH requirement from production line.
Based on this technology, we can develop amazing applications for industry. For high precision inspection, the existing inspection system may encounter the noise from the manufactory environment of the production line, which causes false alert to the AOI system. The proposed technology can extract complex and multi-module features, which may be easily ignored by human to detect the noise, and prevent the false alert so that the performance can be boosted.
The proposed deep learning technology can be also used as a data analysis module to classify different type of defects with the statistical data. The data is processed real-time in the proposed system, rather than taking the existing human based approach that has a time delay. In addition, this well-organised data will be used in supporting the system to improve the production cycle during manufactory.
WPT means transferring electrical energy from the power source to the electrical device for charging of the battery and/or supporting the device operation without wire or conductor, by using magnetic field coupling, including Magnetic Inductive Coupling and/or Magnetic Resonant Coupling. In general, all radio wave broadcasting system can be regarded as a kind of wireless energy transfer, but in WPT, the “power level” and “transfer efficiency” are much higher.
ASTRI has developed the medium-range power transfer solution based on magnetic coupling resonance theory. Our design of the WPT module has a performance of transmission power higher than 33W, charging distance larger than 15cm, and supporting multiple device simultaneously charging. It can serve as a wireless power technology platform for various electronic products and applications.
Medium range (up to 7 or 8 times of coil diameter)
Flexibility in position alignment
Multiple device simultaneously charging
High Safety, non-radioactive, low inductive heat generation
Consumer Electronics, e.g., home, street, car, etc.
Others, e.g., automobile, robotics, military, implanted medical device, etc.
Power semiconductors are primarily used as high switching speed and long lifetime commutation switches in the circuits of inverters and converters, which have been widely utilised in home appliances, electric vehicles, wind and solar power, etc. Apart from the design of the device, electronics packaging plays a crucial role in determining the electrical, thermal and reliability performance of the final products.
Based on the 3D wirebondless packaging technology, ASTRI has successfully developed a new type of IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) power electronics module, and combining the large-scale molding technology, a fully-molded 3D wirebondless packaging format was developed in 2015 to overcome the bottlenecks caused by wirebonded interconnects.
Compared to conventional wirebonded module that normally contains heavy aluminum wires as interconnects, ASTRI’s technologies can reduce the parasitic parameters by an order to reduce its overshoot voltage, and provide a double-side cooling interface to enhance its overall heat dissipation performance. In addition, a power semiconductor packaging pilot assembly line, which includes the traditional heavy aluminum wire bonder, vacuum reflow oven and the newly imported ultrasonic welder for bus bar assembly, has been established. It targets to:
Transfer the total solution with the process recipes to the customers.
Provide support for production of small volume of IGBT modules to the industry.
In the meantime, our team also provides package/system-level multi-physical coupling design, analysis and test services, such as the extraction of parasitic parameters, evaluation of thermal resistance, optimisation of electrical, thermo-mechanical performances and the packaging-related material characterisations.
Current density: ≥10kW/cm3
Switching loss reduced by: ≥40%
Thermal resistance (junction-to-case): 0.1ºC/W
Life time: 10+ years
High speed train
Data communication equipment
Integrated Power Module (IPM)
Power module is the core component of the power supply unit (PSU). Its main function is to convert electricity from the grid to various applications at different voltage and current levels. The highly integrated and compact power modules can improve the system performance and long time reliability by delivering increased power density, power conversion efficiency and better thermal solutions.
ASTRI has successfully developed an integrated power module of single package format for the applications ranging from telecommunication and network, railway, aerospace, medical and industrial equipment. It incorporates three-level integration by adopting the system-in-package technology to: (i) embed small passive components in Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) substrate; (ii) integrate switching devices, drivers and control/sensing circuits in the package; (iii) integrate large passive components in the package. Compared to the market available solutions, the power density of this integrated power module has been improved by 500% whereas maintaining the same IO arrangement as required by the industrial/military standards, while our advanced thermal design makes its heat dissipation efficiency doubled so as to fulfill the future demands in the high energy consumption fields.
1/8 or 1/4 brick format that fulfils industrial standard
Input voltage range 36V-75V
Output voltage 3.3V-12V
Output current 0-33A
High efficiency ~95% & high power density
Wide operation temperature range -55°C ~100°C
Excellent thermal solution
Telecommunication and network, high performance server, microprocessor
Industrial equipment, railway, medical and aerospace
Others special requirements for high power density, power conversion efficiency and thermal performance
Microvia Electroplating Additives for Next-generation High-density-interconnect Substrate
Microvia in high-density-interconnect (HDI) substrate for system integration offers a number of advantages, such as performance improvement and product miniaturisation. Electroplating additives are essential for copper electrodeposition fabrication of microvias in HDI substrate. The technology-intensive additives can only be provided by a few electronic material companies and at a very high profit margin. As the trend of miniaturisation and increased functionality of advanced electronics continues, higher technical requirements including thinner surface deposition and smaller dimple are introduced for the next-generation microvia (<75µm) fabrication, and hence new electroplating additives are in high market demand.
Guided by our mechanism-based electroplating simulation software, ASTRI has developed a methodology for fast screening of electroplating additive candidates to shorten the material development cycle time and reduce the development cost. Based on this methodology, a series of new electroplating suppressors with tuned molecular weight distribution and new electroplating levelers with lower mass-to-charge ratio and balanced functional groups have been developed to meet the above-mentioned requirements for microvia fabrication and to achieve better electroplating performances than that of existing commercial additives.
Dimple size less than 5µm; Cu thickness as thin as 10µm
High T/P performance of through hole filling
Excellent adhesion, uniformity and reliability
High density, multi-layer, ultra-thin HDI PCB for advanced electronic devices (for examples, smartphones, wearable devices, etc.)
Fine pitch IC substrate for high I/O and high speed chips (including micro-processors, memory chips, etc.)
Etching additives for Next-generation High-density-interconnect Substrate
The demand for finer line/space pattern formation of high density interconnect (HDI) substrates has replaced conventional subtractive circuit formation with semi-additive process (SAP) and modified semi-additive process (MSAP) technologies as the mainstream circuit production technologies. These advanced technologies however still face many challenges and have room for improvement. Two of the challenges for MSAP technologies are copper electrodeposition for signal line formation, blind microvia and through hole filling, and the flash etching which is to finalize the circuit formation by removing the copper seed layer through differential etching.
ASTRI has developed its novel etching additives to overcome the severe undercut issue due to narrower and higher aspect-ratio etch channels for fine circuitry. The newly designed banking agent can enhance efficiency of etching inhibition at channel sidewall. An accelerator is employed at the channel bottom to speed up the etching rate and working hand in hand with the banking agent to minimize undercut. In addition, a new electrodeposition recipe has been developed for both blind microvia and through hole filling to meet the market demand on one electrodeposition solution/cell for multi-tasks. The development of the etching additives and the recipes can be widely used in high-density interconnect applications.
• H2O2, H2SO4 based flash etchant for fine circuit etching
• Suitable for SAP/MSAP process
• L/S can reach 15µm/15µm
• High etch factor, no undercut
• Short etch time, high etch rate
• Good surface morphology and trace uniformity
• High density, multi-layer, ultra-thin HDI PCB for advanced electronic devices (smartphones, wearable devices, etc.)
• Fine pitch IC substrate for high I/O and high speed chips (micro processors, memory chips, etc.)