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18 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2019 Feature Interviews by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 PCB fabrication is a technical business. There's chemistry, machinery. and complex processes that need to be followed in a com- petitive environment that changes constantly. Still, the industry continues down an evolution- ary, rather than an revolutionary, path, but that may be changing. Cutting-edge automation, ar- tificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and Industry 4.0 are all part of the response to the increasing demands for printed circuit boards that are not only faster, smaller, and cheaper but also higher-frequency, lower-loss, more temperature tolerant, and higher reliability. In many cases, it will be unique and advanced re - search coming out of the university system that will help move the industry forward. In this article, I introduce you to four students who are examples of the caliber of research be- ing undertaken by the youth of this industry. Meet Goutham Ezhilarasu, Tony Verghese, Sa- meeksha Katoch, and Emma Pederson—three doctoral candidates and an undergraduate en- gineering student. I became acquainted with them at the recent FlexTech conference hosted in Monterey, California, by SEMI in February 2019. Among them, the basic research they're conducting includes the development of mate- rials that can either act as a heat exchanger and a thermal sensor (Tony Varghese), AI learning techniques for equipment optimization (Sa- meeksha Katoch and Emma Pederson), and embedding ICs in flexible interconnect packag- ing (Goutham Ezhilarasu). These four students discuss their work, goals, and student careers. Nolan Johnson: What university do you attend, and can you tell me about your research proj- ect? Tony Varghese: I attend Boise State University where I'm doing my Ph.D. I'm in the final year of my degree program, and my work is focusing on flexible thermoelectric generators, which produce electricity based on waste heat or temperature difference. They can also be used as a thermohaptic instrument, so it can produce heat and cold based on the direction you apply current to it. Finally, they can be used for temperature sensing.

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