Author Archives: sdavis

IFTLE 238 ASE & the Apple watch, ASE / TDK JV; China: the Wild Card

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

ASE rumored to get Apple watch SiP order

Rumors are that ASE has won the contract to package the S1 processors for Apple Watch using SiP packaging to reduce overall dimensions achieving the required compactness necessary in the watch [link]. Apple appears sold on the technology after implementing it last year in Apple WiFi chips and fingerprint recognition chips also packaged by ASE. Apple indicates they are “…quite optimistic about the commercial potential of SiP” and “…plan to build SiP devices into half its iPhone 6S in the second half of 2015 and all  iPhone 7, which reportedly will go on sale in the 3Q 2015.

In related activity, ASE announced that it will be spending $3-6B to double its SiP production capacity over the next 3 years. [link]

ASE and TDK form JV to Address SESUB Embedded Packaging

ASE and TDK have announced an agreement for a JV (ASE Embedded Electronics Inc.), based in Kaohsiung, to manufacture IC embedded substrates using TDK’s SESUB (Semiconductor Embedded Substrate) technology [link].

TDK has been producing SESUBs internally for a little over a year, but has entered into this JV “…to meet the anticipated increase in demand”…and take advantage of ASE skills in the area of “…assembly of IC packages, and … a world-class performance record in product testing.”

SESUB is a high-end substrate technology where thinned semiconductor chips are embedded in laminate substrate with copper interconnection down to 20µm minimum L/S. The thickness of the substrate including the integrated semiconductor chips is just 300 µm.

Multiple chips can be embedded side by side to produce MCP /SiP products. Discrete components can be mounted on the top of the substrate. Since the copper layers that form the interconnect are defined by photolithography, their dimensions can be controlled to enhance thermal performance of the modules.

Below are examples of (A) Maxim Power Management Unit (PMU) Module and (B) Bluetooth module.



China: The Wild Card

When we look at what’s going to happen in the Semiconductor industry in terms of consolidation the wild card is always China. It has been well publicized that China national policy is to acquire and grow in this area. China represents about one-third of the approximately $330 billion global IC market, however, domestic production supplies only 10 present or so of its demand.

China’s government policy “National Guidelines for Development and Promotion of the IC Industry,” which was released in June of 2014 calls for expansion and vertical integration of the domestic semiconductor value chain.  The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and the National Development and Reform Commission support the targets of achieving domestic sales revenue of $56B by 2020 and reaching the technology level of international “tier 1” companies by 2030 [link].

Initially, the government investment fund has about $20B. Over the next decade, however, most expect to see $100B  stimulation across the Chinese semiconductor ecosystem.

According to John Pitzer, managing director at Credit Suisse, speaking at the “Wafers to Wall Street” SEMI forum in San Jose, China’s intention to increase domestic semiconductor production represents the single most significant risk factor to U.S. semiconductor industry dominance [link].  He believes that significant intellectual property and R&D barriers will constrain China’s domestic technology development and mitigate some of the intensity of its domestic growth ambitions.  However, the accelerated policy-backed Chinese merger and acquisition activity and an active Chinese R&D university agenda presents a longer-term risk in the industry. Recall in IFTLE 222 we have discussed Chinese intent to become an acquisition “predator” in microelectronics.

china aquisitions


Pitzer noted that China is planning semiconductor industry investment of $170B in an attempt to reduce dependence on semiconductor imports.  Potential M&A of U.S. companies appears to be a near-term theme. Consequently, he expects to see more Chinese companies collaborating with leading U.S. companies and more overseas M&A from China.

For all he latest in 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 237 ETERIS NO MORE; Samsung Invests Big ; Comparing Systems & Chip Growth

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor


Eighteen months after announcing a deal to Tokyo Electron, Applied Materials has announced that the $7B deal will not go through due to regulatory concerns [link]. The two companies said the decision for terminating the deal came after the U.S. Department of Justice told the companies that their proposals for a combined business were not good enough to replace the competition lost from a merger.

The Korea Times has also reported that “the Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) disapproved the proposed merger between Tokyo Electron and Applied Materials in line with the latest objections by Washington.”

As IFTLE has mentioned many times in the past few years, the decline in the number of semiconductor firms that can afford to have their own chip fabrication plants has reduced the customer base for the industry.

The termination of AMAT-TEL merger will affect AMAT’s position in the etch and deposition equipment segments. Although Applied has a larger  deposition market share (47%) than TEL (~12%), the new company, preliminarily named ETERIS, had opportunities to fill out its product portfolio by the merger. Applied is clearly behind in the deposition segment after LAM merged with Novellus in 2012 to gain a substantial presence in the segment. The Applied / TEL merger was expected to close the gap with LAM but now that will not happen.

2013 semi equipment market share leaders are shown below.

semi equipt mkt share


Samsung Invests Big
Samsung has announced a $14.7B plan to build a new wafer fab south of Seoul.  Slated to begin production in 2H17, will add to Samsung’s current fabs (listed below) [link].

Samsung has spent at least $10 billion per year on semiconductor capital since 2010 and has accounted for 17-21% of total industry capital expenditures each year since then.



Samsung did not identify what type of chips will be manufactured at the new fab.
Samsung is expected to give strong consideration to foundry operations at the new fab.  Despite losing the Apple A8 processor business to TSMC (a $2 billion foundry customer), Samsung reportedly is committed to growing their foundry business.  Its leading-edge manufacturing capabilities make it an attractive option for several fabless and fab-lite logic IC companies.

IC Insights Compares Market Sizes and Forecasted Growth Rates for Systems, ICs

IC Insights reports that total production value of electronic systems increased 5% in 2014 to $1,488B. Cellphones expanded their lead over PCs (desktops and notebooks) as the largest electronic systems market in 2014 after overtaking standard PCs for the first time in 2013.



Cellular handsets accounted for 25% of IC sales in 2014, while standard PCs represented about 21% of the total.  IC revenues generated by these 11 end-use systems categories represented nearly 80% of total integrated circuit sales worldwide in 2014.



For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 236 IMAPS DPC Part 3: Yole Update on FOWLP and Embedded Packaging

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

Continuing our look at the IMAPS Device Packaging Conference:

Yole Developpement

Based on his new Yole report “Fan out and Embedded Die: Technology and Market Trends,” Jerome Alzemer updated the IMAPS audience on the Fan Out and Embedded die marketplace.

Embedded Packaging refers to many different concepts, IP, manufacturing infrastructures and related technologies. The two main categories of embedded packages are (1) those based on a molded wafer infrastructure such as FOWLP and (2) those based on a PWB/PCB laminate panel infrastructure.

Fan-out WLP are “re-configured” by placing known good ICs active face down on a foil and by over-molding them. These wafers are then flipped and processed in the wafer fab with RDL / ball placing and diced.

For chip embedding in laminate, known good ICs are picked and placed on top of an organic layer of Printed circuit board and subsequent layers are laminated on top. Regular PCB manufacturing operations then take place on the panel containing the embedded ICs. These generic process flows are contrasted in the figure below.

FO & embbedded process flows



Unlike Fan In WLP which has been commercial since the late 1990’s, FOWLP is not constrained by die size, and thus can offer an unlimited number of interconnects for maximum connection density. One can also achieve  finer line/spacing, improved electrical and thermal performance and small package dimensions to meet the relentless form factor requirements and performance demands of the mobile market.

Commercialization of the Infineon e-WLB (embedded wafer level BGA) technology started in 2009 with single die packages for cell phone baseband chips.   The Infineon technology was later licensed to OSATS Nanium, STATSChipPAC and ASE thus creating a multi sourced infrastructure.

A similar process called Redistributed Chip Packaging (RCP) was developed by Freescale during the same time period. It was subsequently licensed to NEPES but has not yet reached HVM. Other developing FOWLP  technologies including those of  TSMC (called InFO), SPIL and J- Devices are approaching commercialization but will initially lack the multi-sourcing available with eWLB.

The second generation of FOWLP are multichip packages including PoP and SiP configurations. These are generating increased interest in this packaging approach.

2nd gen FOWLP2014 FOWLP market share

Technical Challenges, such as warpage, die shift, chip-to-mold non planarity and topography, remain significant limitations. FOWLP requires specific re-design vs  FC-CSP solutions which are more flexible and mature.

The sweet spot for FOWLP application is restricted to die that need more  I/O at a given pitch than can be accommodated by the the chip dimensions otherwise fan-in will meet the requirements.

Laminate Embedded Die

Laminate Embedded die packages are not widespread yet. They are currently limited to low I/O count die. AT&S and TDK/Epcos have a DC-DC converter in production for TI since 2010 but no other HVM products have appeared since then. Such laminate embedded die packages are currently a niche technology in the wireless and mobile markets.

AT&S and TDK-EPCOS are collaborating on standardization of products, which they see as necessary to obtain better acceptance of this packaging format.

Other players such as Taiyo-Yuden, Unimicron and DNP have proposed products such as camera modules, MEMS, DC-DC convertors, RF modules, etc.  Few production products have appeared reportedly due to the absence of standards, lack of multiple sources, and high prices due to low yield.

As of 2014, Yole estimates a market of around $14MM driven by AT&S with TDK having a minor market share.

2014 embedded laminate mkt

Initial commercialization of Embedded Die Package technology has started but is currently limited to low pin-counts, small die-size, low-cost, power, RF and mixed signal chip applications.

Potential exists for entering the power, RF and mixed signal chip applications but standardization and multiple sources are lacking. Yole does not expect the technology to near HVM before 2016 at the earliest and this will require the appearance of standardized, more complex integrated SiP modules from multiple sources.

Challenges for Laminate Embedded Die Packaging

Supply chain evolution and process standardization are the main challenges for Embedded Die package technologies.

– Total accessible market is currently limited by current poor pad pitch performance

– It is not yet clear whether improving resolution to produce better pad pitch will require moving to higher cost manufacturing tools which would negate the attempt to use laminates  mature manufacturing flow to achieve low costs.

– Without a defined supply chain and an accepted process flow, multi-sourcing and cost reduction are not possible

– HVM is required to reduce costs to acceptable levels

FOWLP and Laminate Embedded Die are complementary technologies. That situation might change if Embedded Die achieve higher resolution, but that currently is not the case. They are compared in the figure below.



A complete outline of the Yole report can be found here [link]

For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 235 KNS Update on Thermo compression Bonding and Dow Update on Mechanical & Laser Debondable Temp Adhesives

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

Continuing our look at the 2015 IMAPS Device Packaging Conference:

KNS – Thermocompression Bonding

Thermocompression bonding is required for the next generation fine pitch assembly technology. Applications for TCB are based on fine pitch Cu pillar technology with typical pitches of 40-60um and a pillar height of 30um. High accuracy placement is required to ensure high yield in these assemblies with placement accuracy of + 2um typical. Stacked memory products are driving the initial commercial volume in the technology, using TSV technology and thin die memory stacks 4+ layers in height. K&S projects that 75 to 80% of TCB bonders will be used for such memory stacks.

The key factors that have enabled TCB to move to HVM include:

– Equipment with higher UPH (units per hr) for lower cost per unit

– TCB equipment with excellent stability

– Advanced in-line process control

The TCB process is complex and can require 10 operations including temperature ramps, applied force, position control, and vacuum release. The process is being developed both for pre applied underfill and post assembly capillary underfill (CUF).

fig 1 process flow


The cost of TCB must be competitive with alternative assembly technologies which can only be achieved if the throughput and yield of the process is high. The critical requirement for adoption of TCB is cost reduction which requires high process UPH. Actual process time will vary based on the process selected but 1000 UPH is generally considered to be the threshold for cost effective production.

KNS concludes that:

–        The design of the bond head is critical to achieve fast temperature ramps and excellent uniformity

–        Planarity of the bond head to the target surface must be < 2um/10mm

–        Z-Position control during the bonding process must be +/- 1um

  • Heating bond head from 160C to 280C creates ~15 um Z movement which requires compensation to maintain accurate position

–        Accurate force applied before and during the bonding process is critical and the capability to switch between force and position mode during the process is key

–        Accurate high force is particularly critical for bonding with NCP or NCF. Depending on the die size and number of pillars, forces upwards of 300N may be required

–        Excellent Uniformity with rapid heating and cooling Rates is essential

–        Silicon die with TSV can be 50um or less, so TCB equipment must be designed to handle and bond thin silicon die without inducing mechanical damage.

fig 2


The KNS bonder and its specs is shown below.

fig 3 KNS bonder


Dow Chemical – Mechanical and Laser Debondable Temporary Adhesives

Temporary bonding is a major unit operation in the commercialization of 2.5 and 3DIC. The industry has been fine tuning this operation for nearly a decade and still have not come to consensus on what the appropriate low cost / high yield process should be. Temporary bonding can also be used in FOWLP  to maintain flatness during reconstituted wafer processing. Dow Chemical presented their take on mechanical vs laser debonding of temporary adhesives.

Working with Suss Microtec and Fraunhoffer IZM, Dow has studied mechanical vs laser ablation debonding as shown below.

fig 4

Mechanical debond has issues with:

  • Higher wafer stress due to higher required debond force
  • Potential wafer damage from debond process

Laser Debonding has issues with :

  • material modification to enable laser ablation
  • Potential wafer damage from unabsorbed laser energy

Laser debond reveals a considerable lower debond force than mechanical debond as shown below.

fig 5

Also of interest for laser debonding is the effect of wavelength on the debonding mode. A 248nm UV laser tend to cause delamination at the glass/adhesive interface whereas a 308nm UV laser tend to cause delamination at the substrate adhesive interface due to differences where the light is absorbed.

fig 6


For all the latest in 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 234 IBM to Share Technology with China; More on Apple A9 Business; Fujitsu puts liquid Cooling in Smartphones

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

IBM to share technology with China

In IFTLE 222, we discussed the recent announcement by China that they are becoming a major predator of the IC business. This is exemplified by recent acquisitions of STATSChipPAC (see IFTLE 222)(link),  FlipChip Int (FCI) (link) and Omnivision.

Now, according to Reuters, IBM Corp has announced that they will share technology with Chinese firms and will actively help build China’s industry. “IBM’s new approach allows Chinese companies to build everything from semiconductor chips and servers based on IBM architecture, to the software that runs on those machines”.

Apple A9 Orders Shift to TSMC

EE Times reports that TSMC will take more orders for Apple’s A9 processor (for the iPhone 6S) at the expense of Samsung, which reportedly is having yield problems. Apple originally gave Samsung about 80% of the A9 orders and the rest to TSMC. Now reports are that TSMC will get about 70% of Apple’s overall business starting in the third quarter of 2015 (see previous discussions in IFTLE 228).

There are reports that TSMC’s 16nm yield is better than Samsung’s 14nm yield (both using finfet technology).

This will be the first time that Apple has split the foundry service of the same processor at two suppliers. Equipment and materials will likely see rush orders from TSMC to meet demand. TSMC will also need to work more closely with OSATS such as ASE and SPIL for the full solution.

Because of the reported overheating issue in Qualcomm’s 20nm Snapdragon being made at TSMC,  Qualcomm is reportedly cutting its 20nm orders at TSMC and is accelerating its transition to 14/16nm at Samsung. Since Qualcomm accounts for 40% to 50% of TSMC’s 20nm demand, this will have a significant impact on TSMC revenue.

This has also caused issues at Sony who recently reported overheating Issues were stalling release of Sony’s Xperia Z4 smartphone (link).

“The Xperia Z4 is expected to be an extremely thin smartphone; thus the need for successful heat dissipation is important. The Xperia Z4 tablet is also powered by the Snapdragon 810; however, there is more surface area for heat dissipation on this 10-inch tablet than the small smartphone”.

Fujitsu Puts Liquid Cooling in Smartphones

Many manufacturers struggle with removal of heat from chips in phones and tablets. Unless that heat is removed, hotspots can form when devices are in use, causing thermal damage.

Engineers at Fujitsu have now developed a liquid cooling solution for smartphone devices (link).

Fujitsu has built a microscale heat pipe, less than 1mm thick. It’s comprised of two parts — the first is an evaporator that absorbs heat from a heat source and the second is a condenser that dissipates the heat away, with the two parts connected by pipes.



Capillary action to drive flow. Inside Fujitsu’s device, the tubes are filled with pores that are just the right size to get fluid to circulate. Fujitsu reports that “Compared to the previous thin heat pipes and material of highly thermal conductive sheets, this new device allows for approximately five times greater heat transfer,” The technology allows CPUs and other parts to function at low temperatures while preventing heat concentration within localized areas. Fujitsu reports the technology should make its way into smartphones around 2017. Fujitsu adds that it’s also looking into potential applications in communications infrastructure, medical equipment, and wearable devices.

For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 233 Package Shrinkage Continues with ASE FOCLP

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

The IMAPS Device Packaging Conference in Ft McDowell, AZ is an annual meeting where we have grown to expect major new technical introductions from the OSAT and materials community. This year’s meeting was no exception with key new package introductions from Amkor and ASE. This week we’ll look at the ASE FOCLP (fan out chips last package) and next week we’ll take a look at the new offerings from Amkor.


We’re all aware that miniaturization has driven our industry  for decades until we finally reached the WLCSP (wafer level chip size package) where the size of the package became the size of the chip. At this point we all looked at the vertical dimension and became focused on stacking chips (to gain x,y area) or thinning chips and package to produce thinner lap tops and or  cell phones.

John Hunt offered this interesting slide showing the thinning of the Apple I phone plotted against the increase in use of WLPs.

fig 1


As chips have been shrunk to the 22nm node and beyond there is not a lot of room under the chips for I/O, thus the focus on fan out WLP (FOWLP).  ASE addressed the question, “How do we reduce the cost structure in fan out packaging ?”

By moving to a totally laminate based solution they have been able to combine coreless laminate substrate, copper pillar bumping and molded underfill to produce a low cost ultra thin ( < 375um) package.

fig 2


  • Chip Last vs Chip First for Higher Assembly yields
  • Fine Pitch bumping direct on die pad without RDL
  • Thicker Copper (15-50µm)allows higher current
  • Thin Package < 375µm

The single layer coreless substrate utilizes embedded traces and pads for fine feature resolution.

fig 3


Fabrication is done on a 510mm x 410mm panel which is assembled in strip form similar to what is done for BGAs. No fan out wafer fab investment is required.

fig 4


FOCLP can be identical in size, thickness, foot print, trace layout and performance as FOWLP while using only lower cost  laminate packaging technologies. Electrical Simulation shows comparable performance.

fig 5


Multiple actives and passives can easily be included in FOCLPs using existing volume production equipment. Thermal Heat spreaders can be included in molded FOCLPs. Thick Copper can be used for high current and/or thermal transfer. Standard packages such as SiP and PoP will be transferrable to WLCLP.

For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 232 SEMI 3D Summit Part 3: Besi, IMEC, AMS, Asahi Glass and Yole Developpement

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

Finishing up our look at the Semi 3D Summit in Grenoble we’ll look at the presentations of Besi, IMEC, AMS, Asahi Glass and Yole.

BESI – 3D Stacking with Thermocompression Bonding (TCB)

Hugo Pristauz of Besi updated the attendees on the advances in 3D Stacking with thermocompression bonding (TCB).

Thermocompression bonding which requires both heat and pressure is contrasted to mass reflow bonding (also simply called solder reflow) where no pressure as to be exerted. The latter is a high productivity process whereas the former is known for slower throughput.  It is usually accepted that TCB is required at pitches less than 40um.

TCB may be done with capillary underfill or more recently with NCP (substrate side) or NCF (chip side) as shown below.

Besi 1


Besi indicates that TCB is being used for Micron HMC production.

IMEC – 3D Technology Depends on Application

Eric Beyne of IMEC examined mapping 3D technology to 3D applications.

For instance,

–        Logic + wide I/O density: high interconnect density

–        Mixed signal/MEMS : lower interconnect density

Interconnect technology options include:



A high bandwidth interconnect bus requires a ref/shielding plane for signal integrity and reduced cross-talk which would mean:



Choices will depend on the interconnect density that is needed.

[added note from IFTLE] All interposer products announced thus far are still requiring the high density dual damascene interconnects.

AMS AG – Sensors for Smart Systems

Martin Schrems of AMS AG reported on “3D Sensor Integration for Smart Systems”. Certainly we would all agree that sensors are a major part of what will make smart systems smart. AMS offers the following as a standard block diagram for a smart system:



For instance, indoor air quality sensors measures standard  temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as well as the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as smoke, cooking odors, bio-effluence (body odor), outdoor pollutants or human activities. While temperature and humidity are easy to measure, sensors for measuring CO2 (IR absorption) can be expensive.  VOC detection uses micromachined metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) technology to detect a broad range of VOCs while correlating directly with CO2 levels in the room.



The motivation to move to 2.5D packaging is the size reduction advantages.  At this point these systems are still at the R&D conceptual stage.

Asahi Glass – Update on glass for 2.5D Interposers

Asahi Glass is one of the glass producers putting their money where their mouth is in terms of funding R&D and development into the use of glass as a 2.5D interposer material. We have discussed in length their investment into Triton, a start-up looking at manufacturing  commercial glass interposers [ see IFTLE 141 “IFTLE 141 100GB Wide IO memory; AGC Glass Interposers; Nvidia talks stacked memory”]

At the 3D Summit in Grenoble Shin Takahashi of Asahi Glass reviewed the status and challenges of glass interposer activity. Below we can see their listed technical and manufacturing challenges.

AG 1


With thin silicon (100um) they are now able to create 25-30um tapered TGV (through glass vias) on a 50um pitch.

AG 2


For via filling, they are looking at both conformal copper plating and copper paste filling where their capabilities are currently 50um dia. on 130um pitch.

Reports on panel based processing, which is viewed as the primary means of lowering the cost structure on interposers, is seen as lacking infrastructure.

Yole Developpement – Wafer Level continues market penetration

During her overview of the industries packaging efforts, Rozalia Beica of Yole indicated that wafer level processing will this year account for 20% of all semiconductor IC wafers.



For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 231 SEMI 3D Summit : The Future of Assembly and Test

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

Continuing our look at presentations from the Grenoble SEMI 3D Summit which took place in January lets look at an interesting presentation by ATREG consultants on the future of Assembly & Test.

ATREG – The Future of Assembly & Test

Barnett Silver from ATREG Inc. discussed their thoughts on “The Future of Assembly and Test…” They base their predictions on the following themes which are in alignment with what you all have been reading in IFTLE for the past 230 blogs.

  • Packaging and test is an enormously important component of semiconductor manufacturing.
  • Technology and economics are driving convergence / consolidation between front-end and back-end manufacturing.
  • Prior concepts inhibiting front-end / back-end convergence / consolidation are fading
  • In the future the packaging landscape will look different from today.

They proposed the following sequence time line for the evolution of the packaging and test industry  : stage 1 – fully vertically integrated companies did their own chip design, manufacture, test and packaging; stage 2 – back end packaging and test began to separate into assembly companies ; stage 3 – foundries and fabless companies created a period of specialization and separation of tasks; stage 4 –(which ATREG indicates starts around 2010) they see  re-integration.

IFTLE sees it slightly differently with convergence of package and test skills into the foundries but not a reintegration for fabless or IDMs.



Of the total industry COGS of $205 billion, ~25% (or $51 billion) is spent on assembly & test.



Five firms dominate outsourced packaging, accounting for over half of the total OSAT industry and 25% of the total back-end spend of $51B.



It has normally been assumed that since foundry margins are significantly higher than OSAT margins, traditional OSAT business would be unattractive to foundries. With a few exceptions, foundry / OSAT acquisitions would be dilutive to foundry’s gross margins yet foundries show interest in aspects of A&T.



This perceived dichotomy can be understood by looking at the difference between packaging margin on standard chips vs advanced chips. In fact, over the last five years, OSAT firms have delivered better returns for investors than foundries partially because assembly houses spend far less per year on capex than foundries [ i.e. 18% vss35% in 2013].

As prostheliytized by IFTLE,  the economics of the latest node chip fabs are limiting those who can move forward with such expendatrures, and products are being customized  by the packaging that is being chosen. It is quite likely that this will be  where margin will come from in the future. 

Customers will be choosing between a turnkey model controlled by the foundry (proposed by TSMC) or a collaborative model where the foundry and the OSAT remain as separate entities (proposed by GlobalFoundries).



Among other things ATREG concludes that:

• Foundries, OSATs, and IDMs will fight over the $51 billion A&T market.

–        IFTLE agrees that foundries will battle with OSSATS but is not yet convinced that IDM are getting back into the fray.

• As technology drivers change, there will be significantly more focus on the back-end industry.

–        IFTLE absolutely agrees.

• There will be re-integration and convergence between front-end and back-end.

–        IFTLE agrees through both convergence (which some now call “mid end”) and consolidation.

•Disruption in the OSAT industry will increase.

–        IFTLE agrees again through convergence and consolidation.

• IDMs / fabless may invest in advanced packaging

–        IFTLE is not convinced.

In conclusion, although IFTLE agrees with ATREG on most point (and has been documenting these facts for many years) we are not convinced that IDMs and the fabless are looking to get back into the packaging business.

For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 230 SEMI 3D Summit – Grenoble: Oerlikon, ST Micro, Qualcomm

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

In the next two weeks, we’ll take a look at some of the more interesting presentations from the SEMI 3DIC Summit in Grenoble last month.

Oerlikon – Capabilities of Highly Ionized Sputtering (HIS)

Juergen Weichart of Oerlikon Systems discussed the capabilities of highly ionized sputtering.

It has been known for many years that filling of high AR TSV required ionized plasmas as shown below.

Oerlikon 1


Cross sectional analysis shows that HIS which deposits 462um of Ti adhesion/barrier layer on the Si top surface and 17um in the bottom of the TSV only results in a 10-12nm coating on the TSV sidewalls.

oerlikon 2


Deposition rates, step coverage deposit resistivity and stress for both TSV and RDL processes are compared in the table below.

oerlikon 3


ST Micro – Interposers for Networking ASICS

Georg Kimmich of ST Micro gave a presentation on Network packaging trends.

Below we see the current typical packaging for a networking ASIC chip

ST 1


Higher I/O density and memory bandwidth, required for future Networking ASIC chips, can be handled by use of 2.5D packaging with high density interposers. Both Hynix high bandwidth memory (HBM) and Micron Hybrid  memory cube (HMC) memories are suitable for such networking applications.

Memory can be inserted into the packages with the following silicon and laminate interposer options.

ST 2


While the Hybrid Organic Substrate solutions (2.1D) are the most promising in terms of cost and supply chain simplicity technologically they are less advanced.

They conclude that the very high cost of ASIC, HBM and high density interposers results in very high pressure to achieve high assembly yield. The supply chain for HBM integration are ready for prototyping now and volume production in the H2 2016 time frame.

Qualcomm – Partitioning of Large Die

Mustafa Badaroglu of Qualcomm addressed the topic of “2.5 and 3D Integration: Where we have been, where we are now and where we need to go with much the same presentation that Riko Radojcic gave at the Ga Tech Interposer Workshop in November.

They conclude that large dies can be economically partitioned into smaller dies and repackaged with several options including (1) low cost SI interposer with no substrate, (2) fan out WLP or (high density organic interposer as shown below.

qualcomm 1


  • Split die requirement: 2um L/S between die

Required to support ~ 2000D2D connections

  • PoP memory requirement: PoP via + RDL

Required to leverage standard PoP package

  • Si form factor : two ~12mm x ~6mm die
  • Electrical Requirement: 3LM interconnect

Required for signal, PoP and PDN/SI needs

  • Package = 15mm x 15mm x <1mm

Required to meet the usual SP constraints

  • Cost requirement < 1c/mm2 in HVM


SoC large die partitioning challenges

–What function goes on which die

–Balance of die areas

–Power-performance trade offs


For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…

IFTLE 229 Semi Industry Strategy Symp 2015

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

The SEMI ISS (Industry Strategy Symposium) brings together industry leaders to share their opinions on where our industry is going. The US meeting is held each January in Half Moon Bay, CA.

The new darling of the microelectronics industry is obviously the Internet of Things (IoT). Many of the speakers focused on this topic though there was far more predicting than there was hard data. The thing that we know least about is always promoted as the next savior…correct ?

VLSI Research

Andrea Lati VLSI research showed an interesting slide on their opinion of what went right and what went wrong in 2014.VLSI 1

Capex continues to be concentrated in the big 3 with Intel, Samsung, Global Foundries and TSMC responsible for 72% of capex expenditures.



Assembly and Test capex remains a fraction of IC expenditures:



Assembly equipment sales are not expected to get back to 2010 levels till 2018.




Frank Jones, Vice President, GM of the internet of things group in Intel gave their perspective on IoT.

This is the first time I have seen anyone break out the predicted chip requirements by number of units and price. My presumption has always been that IoT would require super low cost technologies. Make of these projections what you will.

Intel 1



Scott McGregor CEO of Broadcom concurred with the IFTLE oft quoted theme that 28nm may be the sweet spot in terms of scaling lowering the cost per transistor.

Broadcom 1


IFTLE had been quoting the NRE costs of design at the 22nm node as $150MM. We now see that the projection for design at 16nm is up to $350MM making it even less accessible to most electronic device manufacturers.

Broadcom 2


An interesting conclusion that Broadcom has reached is that cost reductions in the future will result from better design engineering rather than better process engineering.


Jim Elliot, VP of Samsung memory, pointed out that while cell phoned has just about saturated the market globally, smartphones are only in the hands of 30% of the world’s population.

Samsung 1


I especially liked their photo of a cargo plane being required to transport a 3.75 Mb IBM disk drive in 1956.

Samsung 2



Mike Corbet, Managing Partner for Linx examined the wafer fab materials (ALD, CMP, CVD, ECD, Litho, PVD, SOD and Process Chemicals) market. The following plot shows that litho materials will dominate logic wafer fab materials cost as we move forward.



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