One of the strengths of the Microelectronic Engineering program is the unique preparation our students receive for coop employment. Our Statistics and Design of Experiments course is one of the keys to student preparation and was implemented at the request of our industrial advisory board. Not only do students learn statistical theory but they utilize our clean room to generate and gather real-world data on process variation for later analysis. Then they learn the statistical tools (JMP for example) necessary to design and execute an experimental investigation of various processes resulting in a mathematical model. This is the same type of activity that many students encounter on their first coop job.
We run a CMOS integrated circuit “factory” course in which students are divided into multiple teams of two to three students. On any given lab day each team is responsible for advancing their “lot” of silicon wafers from the current step in the process through the next step. The factory utilizes work-in-progress tracking software similar to software packages found in industry. Students who are familiar with our tools can easily pick-up the use of other similar tools when on coop.