The iRel40 project brings together the expertise of 75 European partners from the worlds of science and industry – 24 of which are from Germany alone. All of these partners are keen to help establish a high level of reliability as a key feature of European-made electronics. For example, new technologies for autonomous driving, renewable energy supplies, or power-saving networked solutions will only achieve market success if users can rely on the components and systems to be durable and to continue providing reliable functionality.
As part of the project, the Engineering of Adaptive Systems EAS Division of Fraunhofer IIS is developing practical approaches that allow the reliability of integrated circuits and entire electronic systems to be evaluated using simulations. After all, future development teams will face an even greater need to design electronic parts and components that offer exceptional robustness and durability without being excessively large. If they can predict the reliability of their designs accurately at the design stage, they will be able to factor it in much more effectively.
The solution explained
There is therefore a need for newly developed methodology and models – both for electronic systems in general and for integrated circuits (ICs) in particular. With this in mind, the scientists are first working on hybrid approaches for system simulation models. These models apply the technique known as “physics of failure”. This involves bringing together knowledge of physical mechanisms with approaches based on statistical data regarding failures during operation. The models can then be used on virtual systems to generate the essential information. Second, the researchers want to provide specific support to IC designers when it comes to securing their reliability objectives. The aim is to shorten the existing process for aging simulations in order to incorporate universally applicable methodology for evaluating reliability as a standard procedure within the process of electronics design.
Under the overall control of Infineon Technologies AG, 75 science and industry partners from 13 European countries are joining forces as part of the project iRel40. The European Union supports iRel40 as part of the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL) program. From Germany, financial support for the project – which will run until April 2023 – is provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as well as by the federal states of Saxony and Thuringia.