Dr. Leland 'Chip' Spangler

President, Aspen Microsystems

United States

Product Development Strategies to Overcome the Challenges of Sensor Packaging


Sensor products are notoriously challenging to develop, qualify and bring to market, in large part because these devices have extreme sensitivity to environmental factors such as temperature, stress, vibration, shock, physical contact and contamination. The dichotomy of the sensor package is that it must isolate and protect the sense element from these damaging forces while at the same time it must allow the desired signals to be passed from the outside world to the sense element itself.

Successful sensor packaging begins at the earliest phases of product design by establishing a thorough understanding of the operating environment, and by thoughtful partitioning of all system functions, including the interfaces to the outside world. With this in mind, prudent component design and careful material selections further ease the requirements on the sensor package itself. Finally, well designed and properly controlled assembly processes allow the device to be packaged with high yields and low cost, essential factors in achieving market success.

This talk examines these topics in practical detail and presents, through the use of case studies, solutions that can result in sensor products that meet market requirements and are commercially successful.


Leland “Chip” Spangler, Ph.D.

Dr. Spangler is the President of Aspen Microsystems, LLC, (www.aspenmicrosystems.com) a product design, development and consulting company that provides engineering services for advanced MEMS and microelectronic devices, with specialties in semiconductor packaging and assembly technologies for consumer, medical, automotive, telecom and industrial applications. Aspen Microsystems also provides technical assistance with Intellectual property, reliability and failure analysis, manufacturing and quality operating systems.

Previously Chip was the President and CTO of Aspen Technologies, a microelectronic package and assembly service supplier. He was responsible for developing package solutions for extremely high-pixel count displays, DNA analysis products, MEMS telecom switch arrays, microfluidic devices, optical and RF MEMS, pressure and inertial sensors as well as a variety of other MEMS and integrated circuit devices. Prior to Aspen Technologies, Chip worked at Intel and Ford Microelectronics where his responsibilities ranged from pressure sensors, and airbag and chassis accelerometers to custom analog and mixed-signal ASICs. His work lead directly to the production of the world’s first wafer-level packaged surface-mount airbag accelerometer.

Dr. Spangler received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from The University of Michigan in 1988. He is the author of over 30 technical publications and has 14 patents. He is currently an editor for IEEE JMEMS and has helped organize the Hilton Head Sensors Workshop, the Transducers Conference, SPIE, IEEE MEMS Conference and regularly teaches classes throughout the world on a variety of MEMS, semiconductor and packaging topics.