SEMICON West 2008 in Review

The line in the sand is slowly being washed away. At this year’s SEMICON West, it was hard to tell the difference between the front-end and back-end players. It wasn’t so long ago that the back-end equipment and materials manufacturers had their own show in San Jose, while the front-end portion happened in San Francisco. Then, the companies targeting front-end were located in Moscone Center North and South Halls, while West Hall was the home of final assembly, test, and packaging. But, as delineation between the two disappears, companies offering back-end solutions are spread between the three. It certainly made for a lot of fancy footwork. The culprit seems to be advances in wafer-level processes and materials, 3D IC, and 3D packaging.

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It took a whole team of experts to explain Oerlikon’s latest back-end venture still in development: a highly ionized sputtering process that achieves full coverage of TSV 3D features at the conductive, insulation and seed layers. (L-R) Jeff Doub, US sales; Sven E. Jarby, global marketing manager; Françoise von Trapp, managing editor, Advanced Packaging; Albert Koller, V.P. PVD wafer; Garrie Murphy, US sales; Andreas Dill head of systems.

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Fred Dimock, manager, process technology; Rob DiMatteo, eastern regional sales manager; and Elizabeth Weber, marketing coordinator; proudly display BTU’s double whammy for the Pyramax 100: the Advanced Packaging Award for reflow equipment, and the Attendee’s Choice Award for most innovative product.

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Hans-Ulrich Zühlke, business development manager, Jenoptik, demonstrated the company’s thermal laser singulation process that he says dices faster than a saw, with zero kerf and an optically clean edge. Jenoptik won a Best of the West award for this innovative technology and tool.

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Doug Dixon, newly appointed director of global marketing, Henkel, and Laura Simms, public relations specialist for the electronics group of Henkel, help spread the word about a product portfolio that spans the supply chain with the acquisition of the adhesives and electronics materials businesses from National Starch and Chemical Company.

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Notker Kling, general manager, North America, Synova, demonstrates the Hybrid Laser Saw, officially launched at the show. Acollaborative effort of Synova and Disco, the tool features a Synova integration module on a Disco platform. The first system was delivered and installed and is reportedly showing promising results.

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Joe Hauck, business development manager; and Brian Crisp, regional sales manager, for the contact products group of Everett Charles Technologies; introduced the companies external spring Z-pin, which features interchangeable parts that mix-and-match to suit customer needs.

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In conjunction with Asymtek, Eelco Begman, V Caps, and Marc Robinson, CTO, VP Vertical Circuits showcased Vertical Circuits novel interconnect technology. This process of jetting silver-filled polymer was developed as a replacement for wire bond.

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Paul Walter, managing director, Dage Precision Industries; and Stephen Clark, Ph.D., product manager, bond testers demonstrate the enhanced high-speed bonder toolset, targeted for full production lines rather than R&D labs like its predecessor.

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Manish Ranjan, director, product marketing keeps a tight watch on market trends for Ultratech. He says there’s no question that image sensors are going to TSV, and predicts there will be more transition next year with memory

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