Industries
Services

Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Development Services

EAG brings unparalleled expertise to the development and commercialization of small molecule drugs, biopharmaceuticals, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), drug-device combination…

EAG brings unparalleled expertise to the development and commercialization of small molecule drugs, biopharmaceuticals, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), drug-device combination products and other therapies. From designing IND-enabling studies to delivering full CMC analytical and QC support, we join your R&D team as a true partner. EAG scientists take time to understand both your commercial goals and the unique characteristics of your compound. We provide expert guidance to balance regulatory expectations with expediency and cost, and approach technical challenges with flexibility and resolve.

Materials Testing & Analysis

When it comes to understanding the physical structure, chemical properties and composition of materials, no scientific services company offers the breadth of experience, diversity…

When it comes to understanding the physical structure, chemical properties and composition of materials, no scientific services company offers the breadth of experience, diversity of analytical techniques of technical ingenuity of EAG. From polymers to composites, thin films to superalloys—we know how to leverage materials sciences to gain a competitive edge. At EAG, we don’t just perform testing, we drive commercial success—through thoughtfully designed investigations, technically superior analyses and expert interpretation of data.

Environmental Testing & Regulatory Compliance

Having helped develop the test methods that shape current regulatory guidelines, EAG chemists, biologists and toxicologists have evaluated the environmental impact of thousands of…

Having helped develop the test methods that shape current regulatory guidelines, EAG chemists, biologists and toxicologists have evaluated the environmental impact of thousands of active ingredients and formulations—from pesticides and pharmaceuticals to industrial chemicals and consumer products. Whether you are exploring “what if” scenarios, registering a new active ingredient or formulation, responding to a data call-in or seeking to understand the latest guidance, turn to EAG for technical excellence, sound advice, GLP-compliant study execution and expert interpretation.

Microelectronics Test & Engineering

Whether connecting the internet of things, guiding surgical lasers or powering the latest smart phone, integrated circuits and microelectronics touch nearly every aspect of human…

Whether connecting the internet of things, guiding surgical lasers or powering the latest smart phone, integrated circuits and microelectronics touch nearly every aspect of human life. In the world of technology, innovation and continuous improvement are imperatives—and being able to quickly and reliably test, debug, diagnose failures and take corrective action can make the difference between a doomed product launch and building a successful global brand. EAG offers you the world’s largest and most diverse collection of specialized analytical instrumentation, capacity to perform a variety of microelectronic tests in parallel, and the multi-disciplinary expertise required to draw true insight from data.

Custom Synthesis & Radiolabeling

No contract service provider has more experience performing custom synthesis and producing isotopically labeled compounds to support product development in life science, chemical…

No contract service provider has more experience performing custom synthesis and producing isotopically labeled compounds to support product development in life science, chemical and related industries than we do. From 14C and 3H radiolabeled clinical trial materials synthesized under cGMP, to stable-labeled active ingredients for metabolism and environmental fate/effects testing, turn to EAG. We have extensive experience with multi-step and other complex synthesis projects, and our comprehensive, in-house analytical services ensure quick turnaround of purity and structural confirmation.

Crop Biotechnology & Development

EAG combines biotechnology and protein characterization expertise with more than 50 years' experience analyzing chemical compounds in plant and environmental matrices to address…

EAG combines biotechnology and protein characterization expertise with more than 50 years’ experience analyzing chemical compounds in plant and environmental matrices to address the growing needs of the biotechnology crop industry. We offer a wide range of techniques required to fully characterize the event insertion and expressed proteins, as well as the various studies required to confirm the food, feed and environmental safety of products that represent the trait. From early-stage protein confirmation to GLP-compliant EDSP and allergenicity testing, we help you make faster, more informed development decisions and comply with evolving global regulations of genetically engineered crops.

Litigation Support & Expert Testimony

When you need solid science and investigative engineering to address product failures, inform legal strategy, protect intellectual property or address product liability disputes,…

When you need solid science and investigative engineering to address product failures, inform legal strategy, protect intellectual property or address product liability disputes, turn to EAG. We’ve provided technical consulting, analysis and expert testimony for hundreds of cases involving the aerospace, transportation, medical device, electronics, industrial and consumer product industries. Our team of experts understands the legal process and your need for responsiveness, effective communication, scientifically defensible opinion and confidentiality. From professional consulting to data review to trial preparation and expert witness testimony, ask EAG.

Techniques

Chromatography

Using an array of advanced separation techniques and innovative technology, we conduct highly precise analytical chromatography for various industries. Whether you want a closer…

Using an array of advanced separation techniques and innovative technology, we conduct highly precise analytical chromatography for various industries. Whether you want a closer look at the purity of your pharmaceutical or need to better understand an agrochemical’s components, EAG has the expertise to separate and evaluate any compound.

Mass Spectrometry

Need to evaluate the molecular structure of a compound or identify its origins? EAG knows how. With state-of-the-art tools, we can separate, vaporize and ionize the atoms and…

Need to evaluate the molecular structure of a compound or identify its origins? EAG knows how. With state-of-the-art tools, we can separate, vaporize and ionize the atoms and molecules in almost any pure or complex material to detect and obtain mass spectra of the components. We rely on decades of experience in mass spectrometry to provide our clients with precise analyses and the best detection limits.

Imaging

EAG is a world leader in high-resolution imaging down to the atomic level. We offer unmatched analytical know-how, generating extremely detailed surface and near surface images…

EAG is a world leader in high-resolution imaging down to the atomic level. We offer unmatched analytical know-how, generating extremely detailed surface and near surface images for various industries, from consumer electronics to nanotechnology. Using state-of-the-art equipment and innovative techniques, we conduct expert imaging to aid in failure analysis, dimensional analysis, process characterization, particle identification and more. If you want to investigate a material with angstrom scale resolution, you can count on EAG to get the job done quickly and precisely.

Spectroscopy

EAG offers a vast array of spectroscopic techniques to clients in various industries, from defense contractors to technology pioneers. We combine unparalleled expertise and…

EAG offers a vast array of spectroscopic techniques to clients in various industries, from defense contractors to technology pioneers. We combine unparalleled expertise and methodology with cutting-edge technology to analyze your organic, inorganic, metallic and composite materials for identification, compositional, structural and contaminant information. Whether you need expert spectroscopic analysis to improve your production process or to surmount a technical challenge, EAG is up to the task.

Physical/Chemical Characterization

Need to identify your unique material? Want to analyze the thermal properties of a sample, or measure the success of a process step? If it has to be done quickly and it has to be…

Need to identify your unique material? Want to analyze the thermal properties of a sample, or measure the success of a process step? If it has to be done quickly and it has to be done right, you can count on EAG. We offer a range of adaptable techniques and innovative methods to evaluate the physical and chemical characteristics of any compound. Our highly precise testing and analytical services will improve your production process, expedite R&D and help you conquer any technical challenge.

About

A Global Scientific Services Company

One of the most respected names in contract research and testing, EAG Laboratories is a global scientific services company operating at the intersection of science, technology and…

One of the most respected names in contract research and testing, EAG Laboratories is a global scientific services company operating at the intersection of science, technology and business. The scientists and engineers of EAG apply multi-disciplinary expertise, advanced analytical techniques and “we know how” resolve to answer complex questions that drive commerce around the world.

Our Customers

Science and technology transcend industry boundaries, and so does demand for EAG’s expertise. We partner with companies across a broad spectrum of high-tech, high-impact and…

Science and technology transcend industry boundaries, and so does demand for EAG’s expertise. We partner with companies across a broad spectrum of high-tech, high-impact and highly regulated industries. We help our customers innovate new and improved products, investigate manufacturing problems, perform advanced analyses to determine safety, efficacy and regulatory compliance, and protect their brands.

Our Company Culture

EAG’s corporate culture is firmly rooted in four guiding principles: “foster a growth mindset,” “find a better way,” “earn more loyal customers,” and “win…

EAG’s corporate culture is firmly rooted in four guiding principles: “foster a growth mindset,” “find a better way,” “earn more loyal customers,” and “win together.” Across all of our 20+ locations, you will find a true passion for science and the power of science to improve the world we live in. Hear what some of our ~1200 scientists, engineers and support personnel say about what it means to be part of EAG Laboratories.

Careers

EAG is growing, and we are always looking for talented, problem-solving oriented individuals to join our company. If you have a “we know how” spirit, we want to hear from you.…

EAG is growing, and we are always looking for talented, problem-solving oriented individuals to join our company. If you have a “we know how” spirit, we want to hear from you. Browse current openings now, and re-visit our careers page often.

How do you harness science to build a brand?

Performing Reliability Qualification Testing On CSP Without Damaging Devices

WHITE PAPER

System miniaturization, especially in the handset market, is driving the development of advanced packaging technologies to accommodate products as thin as 6 millimeters (mm), or less. Unfortunately, traditional epoxy plastic packages are simply inadequate for building these extremely thin smartphones and other mobile devices, as their footprint area is up to 6 times bigger than the chips they house.

The solution of choice for cellphones and other handheld and wearable electronic products is Chip Scale Packages (CSPs), which are the same size as the chips, themselves. CSPs are attached directly to circuit boards using solder balls. Unfortunately, the size advantages that make CSPs so attractive also make them fragile and susceptible to damage during handling. This has created a need for new ways to qualify devices so that failures are understood, screened before they invalidate reliability qualification, and not introduced during the very process intended to screen for them.

THIN IS “IN,” MOVING INDUSTRY TO MORE FRAGILE PACKAGING

Today, the state of the art for smartphones is 7.6mm thick for the iPhone 5, which compares to the earlier iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 at 8.8mm and 9.5 mm thick, respectively. Since batteries and screens aren’t shrinking, the size of the packaging and substrate board must be reduced in order to achieve these thin product profiles, which has driven the move to CSPs.

Packages are getting smaller, so the qualification challenge is getting larger. According to Brandon Prior of the research firm Prismark, the Apple 5S was the first mobile device to use 50 µm line/space (L/S) and CSPs on a 0.4mm pitch. Prismark forecasts that more than 28 percent of CSPs and wafer-level CSPs (WLCSPs) will be at 0.4mm or less by 2018. Qualcomm’s senior director of package engineering, Steve Bezuk, discussed packaging challenges at the IMAPs Device Packaging Conference in March 2014, saying that, while very few packages during the late 2000s were WLP, this category now accounts for nearly half of IC packages.

Meanwhile, CSP substrates are getting even thinner. The SEMI global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chain says that today’s leading-edge CSP substrates have 15 micron (µm) lines and spaces, and are moving toward even finer lines and spaces so they can handle fine bump pitch of ≤110 µm. In its report titled “Global Semiconductor Packaging Materials Outlook – 2013-2014,” SEMI said that substrate vendors are targeting 5µm lines and spaces, as well as 40µm via diameters in the build-up layers in 2015. The report said that core layers are being fabricated with 12µm lines and spaces, with vias as small as 50µm and capture pads as small as 110µm.

These and related trends continue to make CSPs increasingly difficult to handle, and even more prone to damage prior to and during the qualification process. In general, the CSP reliability qualification process must address four key issues: handling; incoming and outgoing quality control (IQC/OQC); socketing; and unbiased stress testing.

Handling – The raw and very brittle exposed silicon material in a CSP can easily suffer stress cracking during handling. This can create imperfections in the silicon matrix, which can cause the resulting cracks to propagate with the additional stress of various qualification processes. These and other dynamics make it extremely difficult, for instance, to differentiate between CSP failures induced by qualification-related stress tests, and those induced earlier during handling. The problem becomes even more challenging at the high volumes of consumer smartphones and other mobile devices, and with the growing premium on thin product profiles.

IQC/OQC – This process is difficult and costly to automate, and therefore must be performed through visual inspection by technicians with proper training. Metrics are often an issue, requiring customized specifications in order to optimize screening effectiveness for the given device.

Unbiased Stress Testing – Unbiased stress tests include preconditioning moisture sensitivity, reflow, high temperature storage (HTS), temperature cycle tests (TMCL) and highly accelerated stress test (uHAST). These tests are relatively straightforward for non-CSPs because they’re larger with more mass, and less fragile. If the same procedures are used with CSPs, though, this will generally lead to device damage. Solving the problem requires choosing solutions for protecting the CSP during these unbiased stress testing, including using carriers and other custom fixtures, and providing training in how to use them.

Socketing During Stress Testing – Parts must not only pass unbiased stress tests, but also biased tests including biased stress testing and bias reliability qualification testing, in which the part is powered up and exercised. Biased tests can include high temperature operating life (HTOL), high temperature cycle, early failure rate (EFR), and burn-in. During biased tests, a part generally goes into a socket, and the socket makes the electrical connection to the board, as an alternative to soldering parts to a board for these tests. This requires the use of sockets or, in some cases, specially designed daughtercards. Tests might range from high temperature operating life tests, to biased versions of other tests. This ensures that parts can more easily be removed after testing; however, it can still be challenging to get the parts in and out of their sockets without damaging them.

SOLVING THE PROBLEM

The solution to these challenges is to apply a combination of a) specialized processes, b) carriers and other custom fixtures as an alternative to sockets and daughtercards, when needed, and c) operator training covering all aspects of the qualification process.

Specialized Processes – Most important is to implement 100% top and bottom visual inspection, in order to screen out damaged parts before stress testing is initiated. EAG has collaborated with several customers on customized top and bottom inspection specifications that focus on how to measure dimensions to optimize screening effectiveness. Any missed devices will invalidate the entire lot, so the key is screening parts before putting them into stress, so that a valid sample quantity is used.

Selection of Sockets, Daughtercards and Custom Fixtures – For biased stress testing, it is important to make the proper choice between sockets and, increasingly, a specially designed daughtercard, which requires experience in designing burn-in and HTOL/HAST boards with both socket and daughtercard approaches. For unbiased stress testing where the part does not need to be powered, custom fixtures called carriers are often required.

Customized carriers protect CSP from damage during handling.

EAG has experimented with a variety of carrier materials and structures for protecting CSPs during stress tests, including small baskets with covers or a “top hat” that covers the device so it isn’t bumped, blown around or otherwise impacted and damaged. Material is important for protecting the CSP because the carrier is also exposed to extreme environmental conditions. An additional challenge is to create a carrier that is large enough so that the CSP isn’t damaged when being inserted into and removed yet not so large that it can move around inside and become cracked. Each carrier can hold up to 240 parts and is unique to the device and custom-designed for the correct size of the CSP.

EAG has designed a patented carrier that includes a “top hat” that covers the device to optimize protection during handling.

Operator Training – Training is required on issues including how to properly perform inspection, the types of defects to look for, and how to handle parts (if needed) to minimize damage. If sockets will be used during biased stress testing, training is also required on how to insert CSPs into sockets and safely remove them. Training will also be required on the use of custom fixtures if they are implemented. Any staff involved with the CSP qualification process will need to be trained, and the most valuable training is generally on the job. EAG has gone through considerable trial and error in order to derive best practices that apply to most scenarios, including developing the most effective screening processes, carriers and other elements.

BEST PRACTICES IN CSP QUALIFICATION

EAG has helped customers with CSP qualification for quite some time and, as a result, has established a number of best practices. While no two challenges are precisely alike, there are recurring issues that must be resolved.

For instance, a major chip supplier for mobile devices was having an issue with a high level of damage during stress testing. Qualification lots were being invalidated at an unknown point in the multi-step process, requiring the customer to start all over again. The resulting delays were particularly problematic because of the pressure to hit milestones in an industry with extremely sensitive launch cycles.

Analysis showed that the problem originated upstream at an assembly house where the devices were being diced and bumped. The devices were exhibiting cracks from improper handling of the parts. The solution was to institute an inspection process for outgoing devices at the assembly house, including 100% top and bottom visual inspection. EAG initiated this visual inspection process, which revealed the source of the problem at the assembly house. EAG then trained operators at the customer site on the types of things to look for, and provided guidelines for ongoing inspection. After instituting these steps, the customer is now able to screen out 100 percent of damaged parts before stress tests begin. Solving this type of problem is increasingly important because of the dynamics of today’s multi-tiered semiconductor supply chain.

In another example, a customer that manufactures ICs for consumer electronics devices was having problems with CSP cracking and chipping from the effects of airflow equipment during unbiased stress tests. Although the airflow was very minor, it was causing approximately 20 percent of the tested parts to be damaged as they were moved around, invalidating the entire screening lot. EAG designed a patented, custom fixture that allowed devices to be secured properly, eliminating the problem at its source.

CONCLUSION

Resolving CSP qualification challenges requires experience with a number of complex issues across a wide variety of customers and situations. Best practices require the use of specialized processes, the proper choice of sockets, daughtercards or customized fixtures (including specialized carriers for biased test socket insertion), and highly trained equipment operators and inspection technicians. With the right implementation, there should be less than 8 percent “fallout” on a good lot, ensuring that no lots will be invalidated at any point upstream or downstream in the complex CSP qualification process.