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Tanner MCM, a compact and affordable controller, next to a U.S. penny

Multi-chip modules (MCMs) open up new application domains that previously were technologically impossible. For example, compared to printed circuit boards, MCMs can provide better signal integrity in high bandwidth and high clock-rate designs. In addition, MCMs can be significantly smaller and less power-hungry.

The challenges of MCM design are twofold. First, they require sophisticated design tools to ensure that the system achieves its specifications. Second, MCMs that comprise only affordable components require creative design, especially when only small quantities are needed. Because the technology is still developing, there are few commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components available.

Tanner Labs has successfully tackled both problems in our design and development of a variety of MCMs. Perhaps our most innovative MCM is a comprehensive real-time video data acquisition system on a 37 × 37 mm substrate. We have also designed MCMs with specifications that included

  • High-speed digital I/O circuitry
  • 25 kV ESD protection (HBM)
  • Die-to-die wire bonding to minimize size
  • MCM-L substrate and palladium alloy with gold flash wire bonds, to minimize cost
  • Only COTS components
  • Custom and COTS components


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