The term "space cube" denotes a scheme for three-dimensional stacking and interconnection of electronic-circuit modules. [This scheme should not be confused with a related one described in "Stackable Electronic Computer Modules and Interconnections" (NPO-19521), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 20., No. 6 (June 1996), page 33.] The figure illustrates a typical first-generation "space cube" stack. Each module in the stack is called a "circuit slice." The circuit slices are squares with edges 3.5 in. (8.89 cm) long, and with 160 electrical contacts on each edge. Electrical connections between corresponding contacts on adjacent modules are made by use of conductive strips on square elastomeric rings that are held in square retainer/spacer frames.

There is no particular limit on the thickness of a slice, on the material(s) of which it can be made, or the circuitry it can contain. For example, a circuit slice could be a multichip module; that is, it could contain multiple integrated-circuit chips on a printed-wiring board.

The "Space-Cube" scheme provides high packaging density, with symmetrical interconnections on all four edges of each module, and without need for interboard wiring or a back plane.

This work was done by Gary Bolotin and John Cardone of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to

Technology Reporting Office
JPL
Mail Stop 122-116
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
(818) 354-2240

Refer to NPO-20236