Research Summary for Peter Sandborn

[Current] | [Completed]


Current Research Programs

Current research programs are summarized in the Electronic Systems Cost Modeling Laboratory web pages.  The research programs focus on the analysis of complex electronic systems, and specifically the packaging and interconnection technologies associated with the physical implementation of the systems.  Specific ongoing research includes:

  • Electronic Part Obsolescence (DMSMS) - Also known as DMSMS (Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages); we develop algorithms for forecasting electronic part obsolescence dates, support a tool called MOCA for performing design refresh planning systems, perform optimization of lifetime buys, and aid organizations in performing DMSMS plan development.
  • Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) for Electronic Systems - Development of decision models that determines when scheduled maintenance makes good business sense, i.e., makes possible a business objective such as a balance of cost and availability.  The models calculate the return on investment associated with applying PHM to systems and enable the optimal interpretation of life consumption monitoring damage accumulation or health monitoring precursor data, and applies to failure events that appear to be random or appear to be clearly caused by defects.
  • Economic Ramifications of Lead-Free Solder - Development of economic models for determining the cost of transitioning from tin-lead solder to lead-free solder including the risk of tin whiskers.  Also developing simulation tools for understanding the cost and availability ramifications of supporting a mixture of tin-lead and lead-free systems (dynamic lead-free repair simulation), and the repair consequences of using lead-free solder.
  • Cost of Ownership of Electronic Parts - Determination of the total cost of ownership of electronic parts including the cost of part selection and qualification, supporting the part in databases, purchase order generation, assembly (including test and rework) associated with the part, field use costs associated with the part (repairs and spares), and the cost of long-term supply chain disruptions (including obsolescence).
  • Throwaway Electronics - The high rate of technology change that characterizes electronic parts, subsystems and software has made the vast majority of electronic products disposable commodities.  The idea of disposable (or throwaway) electronics is accepted for consumer products, and as a result the supply chain that supports these products is driven by it.  However, a disposable electronics policy at the assembly level would represent a considerable departure from common wisdom for the aerospace industry (e.g., avionics and military electronics).  Aerospace adopted an assembly-level repair maintenance culture for a variety of reasons that include technical, business, contractual and legal.  However, by doing so they adopted a “culture” (policy) that is orthogonal to the underlying assumptions that their COTS supply chain is based on, thus creating a host of unique (and ultimately very expensive) problems for themselves.  This project addresses throwaway at both the product level and industry-base level.
  • End of Repair (EOR) Analysis - Develop a method of calculating the effective End-of-Repair (EOR) date for systems composed of multiple assemblies where each assembly has multiple parts and parts may appear within more than one assembly.  EOR is the last date on which the system (or specific individual assemblies within the system) can be supported.  The methodology uses data from a FRACAS (Failure Reporting and Corrective Action System), the state of existing parts inventories, and the obsolescence status of the individual parts to determine application-specific EORs.  The resulting analysis is not intended to be used to perform a single static evaluation, but rather provide the capability to continuously generate an EOR metric that can be used to monitor the sustainability of a system.

Completed Research Programs

The following are significant research programs or research areas that have been concluded:

  • Electronic Packaging (Life Cycle Costing and Reliability)
    • Advanced Embedded Passives (NIST ATP) - Develop and apply detailed cost models for substrates with embedded passives.  Using the models developed within this program, compare the economics of applications implemented with discrete passives to implementation using embedded passives.
    • Physics of Failure Approach to Sustainable Electronic Systems (PASES) (USAF ManTech) - Decrease life cycle costs by managing life cycle risks associated with the design and manufacturing of sustainable military electronic systems by instituting a cradle-to-grave Physics of Failure (PoF) based program as a pro-active approach to achieving system reliability, manufacturability, technology risk management, and affordability.  This program integrates PoF based virtual qualification of systems with detailed life cycle cost modeling that includes models for assessing the economic impact of reliability and obsolescence.
    • Advanced Electrical Power Systems (Office of Navel Research) - AEPS refers to a packaging concept that replaces complex power electronics circuits with a single multi-function device which is intelligent and/or programmable. For example, depending on the application, a AEPS might be software configured to act as an AC to DC rectifier, DC to AC inverter, motor controller, actuator, frequency changer, circuit breaker etc.  Our role in this program is the development of technical cost modeling, its application to AEPS structures, and its integration into a multi-attribute optimization environment (with thermal, reliability, and mechanical analyses).
  • Design for Environment (Environmental Economics)
    • The Salvage Software Tool - Allows optimization of a product who's life cycle includes a primary build, disassembly, and a secondary build using a combination of new and salvaged parts.  Includes material used and wasted inventories coupled with detailed cost modeling.
    • PWB Fabrication Cost and Energy/Mass Balance Modeling (DARPA) - Development of a material-centric printed wiring board (PWB) fabrication model in which each activity or process step is defined in terms of what it does to the materials associated with the substrate being fabricated.  The model has been applied to conventional and photovia PWBs.
  • Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
    • Micromachined RF Technology (NASA JPL) - evaluate the manufacturing processes associated with fabricating advanced high-frequency modules composed of a combination of micromachined and electronic solid state components (Si/Ge HBTs). Evaluation of the manufacturing processes includes identification of the process steps, evaluating compatibility of the necessary processing, cost analysis, and yield analysis.
    • MEMS Packaging and Reliability Assessment (NSWC Indian Head) - identify and document the dominant defects, failure mechanisms, failure modes, and failure sites in a specific MEMS supplied by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (Indian Head, MD). The critical system features include chip-to-chip bonding, a MEMS chip fabricated using the LIGA process, and system packaging (Kovar can and plastic quad flat pack).

Peter Sandborn
University of Maryland
Last Updated:
January 13, 2011
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