Advanced Packaging Hits the Road

Advanced Packaging thought it was time for a fresh look at what’s really happening in the semiconductor packaging industry, so we’ve hit the road. To give readers an “in-the-trenches” view, we’re coming to you. We want to meet everyone from senior executives to cleanroom technicians – not only to learn what’s new, but to get a first-hand look at how it’s done.

The first stop on the Advanced Packaging Roadshow tour was SUSS MicroTec in Waterbury, VT, to learn more about their part in IBM’s C4NP project, and to tour the wafer bonder facility. Next was a tour of IBM Microelectronics Division in Essex Junction, VT, where John Harris, manager of worldwide test engineering, gave us an inside look at the engineering test center.


It was a team effort. We donned our Roadshow Crew T-shirts, packed the van, and headed to the hills of Vermont.

Pictured here from left to right are Kathy Poggi, associate publisher; Lee Mather, assistant editor; and Françoise von Trapp, associate editor. Gail Flower, editor-in-chief, is taking the pictures. (Hey, we said this was a grass roots thing!)

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All work and no play makes this just another editorial visit, right? To get us in the right frame of mind, we started with a hike up what locals call “The Pinnacle,” in Stowe, VT.

Lee, Gail, and Françoise almost made it to the top, but we didn’t want to be late for our appointment at SUSS.

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SUSS MicroTec’s North American headquarters was established in Waterbury Center, VT, in 1980, when the company was still called Karl Suss Industries. With the first IPO in 1999, the name was changed to SUSS MicroTec. Karl Suss, the company’s founder, chose this location because it reminded him of Bavaria.

SUSS’ wafer bonder division is also located here, and focuses on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), research and development (R&D), silicon-on-insulator (SOI), light-emitting diode (LED) and contract manufacturing markets. Michael Kipp, general manager, says the MEMS market is the largest-growing market for SUSS.

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Carol Menard (left) and Leah McMahon (right) took us on the grand tour of the facility. They demonstrated the MFI Probe, which is capable of probe placement and signal acquisition in structures down to 0.18 µm. All North American sales, services, and spare parts operations are at this location.
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Our tour included the cleanroom. Lee and Françoise suited up and headed in to check out bonding in action.
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SUSS bond cluster tools feature modules that can be customized for different applications. Paul Gorund, bond cluster product engineer, showed us a bonded wafer destined for use as an accelerometer in the automotive industry that had tiny cantilevers unable to be seen with the naked eye. We were amazed.
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In the words of Ben and Jerry, founders of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, if it’s not fun, why do it? Our thoughts exactly. Lee, Gail, Kathy, and Françoise took some time out to show off the Roadshow Crew T-shirts, and pose at the entrance to IBM Burlington.

Our second stop on the debut Roadshow tour was IBM Microelectronics Division in Essex Junction, VT.

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SUSS MicroTec welcomes the Roadshow Crew. From left to right: Daniel Ouellette, product specialist MFI/AFP Test Systems; Frank-Michael Werner, business manager, Opto and MEMS Test Systems; Carol Desautels Menard, marketing communications manager, Wafer Bonders; Leah McMahon, marketing support, Specialist Test Systems; and Roadshow Crew members Gail Flower, Kathy Poggi, Lee Mather, and Françoise von Trapp.
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Gail Flower presents Emmett Hughlett, business manager and director of the C4NP business unit, with the cover story from the November 2005 issue of Advanced Packaging. C4NP was developed by IBM using equipment provided by SUSS. Hughlett says a prototype production line is online in Fishkill, NY, and that C4NP is going through IBM’s qualification stages.
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Kathy Poggi and Amir Mirza, Ph.D., international product manager, wafer bonding at SUSS, discussed the future of MEMS. “The traditional market for MEMS is automotive – but more and more, we’re seeing it in consumer applications. Sony is producing 90 million silicon microphones a year using MEMS chips,” noted Mirza.
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Impressive to say the least, this “city within a city” occupies 3.5 million square feet on 725 acres, and has its own waste treatment facility, utility plant, back-up generators, ambulance and fire engines with emergency response crew, cafeterias, a credit union, medical staff, a library, and more than 250 process flows.
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Approximately 6000 employees help to manufacture 5,000 products. Our visit took us to a small part of the facility – the engineering test center.

John Harris said the facility is a semiconductor operation that provides technology for the IBM systems group and the general OEM market. They are a supplier to the RF mixed-signal market, developer of next-generation game processors, and foundry supplier for digital system-on-chip (SoC) devices.

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The Test Engineering facility provides test and burn-in expertise and technical solutions for all IBM and OEM products. All types of sockets were in use here. Harris showed us several styles of burn-in boards, including one that IBM engineers develop in-house.
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From the burn-in area, we toured the 200-mm wafer-probe test line. As probes test each die on a wafer for functionality, both bad and good die are marked so the good ones can be picked off and used. Yield rate of wafers varies, depending on the number of die per wafer. The smaller the die, the higher the yield there is a lower probability of a defect on any given die, Harris explained. We also had a peek at the 300-mm wafer-probe test line shown here.
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