The APAs: Honoring Industry Innovation


In a ceremony on July 18, 2007, Advanced Packaging celebrated the 7th Annual APA awards. The program was slightly different this year, because we acknowledged two finalists in each category, and announced the winners during the event.

My speech, “Motivation,” spoke of Winston Churchill and how his ability to motivate others during wartime was so remarkable. This related to how the creative innovations of award submissions can spur others toward greater achievement. Each improvement builds on those of the past.

There were three “ties” presented for the winning product or service as chosen by our host of judges. Everyone had a chance for a winning photo: both winners and finalists. The winners held their crystal statues high. The finalists displayed walnut plaques. When the announcements finished, everyone joined the Cuban Nights party on the SF-MOMA floor, sipping mojitos, salsa dancing, or enjoying a hand-rolled cigar made on site. It was a lively night of celebration and a meeting place for life-long friends.

Gail Flower


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Fan-in package-on-package (FiPoP) accommodates multiple die and larger die sizes in a reduced footprint. Multiple logic, analog, and memory die can be stacked in the bottom PoP package. Smaller, conventional memory packages with center ball grid array (BGA) patterns can be stacked on top, due to an exposed array of land pads on the top, center surface of the package. The inherent design of the FiPoP structure provides a more stable base that improves final assembly yields by eliminating warpage in the bottom package. FiPoP may reduce form factor up to 25% in the bottom package; up to 65% in the top package. STATS ChipPAC, Singapore,

TSV Alignment Method

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Front-to-back-side alignment enables high-density vertical interconnects for 3D packaging and system-in-package (SiP). The AP300 DSA lithography system uses front-side infrared (IR) to perform dual-side alignment, reportedly increasing target-placement flexibility. This feature is designed to achieve front-to-back overlay of less than 2 µm at 3 sigma over a 300-mm wafer. Features include machine vision alignment system, image processing, control hardware, and system-level software. Primary development involves illumination wavelength, illumination source type, image sensor type, and optical design, with an optimized combination of silicon image sensor and LED light source. Three standard LEDs provide the required illumination irradiance and uniformity at the wafer. This also allows the illumination source to be placed remotely to minimize heating effects. Ultratech, San Jose, CA,


Inline Die-bonder Platform
The AD8912 inline die-bonder consists of three major modules: the CPS12 automatic tape cut-and-paste module, AD8912SD automatic die bonder, and APS70 automatic press station. The inline system handles all stacked-die configurations, such as pyramid, cross, stair, arrow, and film-on-wires (FOW) stacking, in one module; it also performs thin die bonding down to 1-mil die thickness for ultra-thin packaging. It offers strategic die-picking algorithms with a proprietary ejector system for such applications. The combination of CPS12, AD8912SD, and APS70 provides reportedly high accuracy, mixed process capability, and high throughput. ASM Assembly Automation Ltd., Kwai Chung, Hong Kong,


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Stencil/Dispense Converter
The Active Stencil system transforms inline screen printers with 29" × 29" frame capabilities into accurate fluid-dispensing systems, adding dispense capabilities to an SMT line without additional standing equipment. A proprietary servo robot cassette inserts into the printer, like an ordinary stencil, and users program dispense routines: importing, editing, and converting common image files. The dispense valves accommodate adhesives and solder pastes. An HD-stainless-steel roll cabinet houses the PC and display, and stores the robot and dispense supplies. Ovation Products, Bethlehem, PA,


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Zero-Discharge Defluxing System
With single-, two-, three-, and four-chambered options, SMT1000-ZD automatic defluxing systems offer various throughput capabilities; enabling individual recipes to run simultaneously. Automatic operation includes wash, rinse, dry, and cleanliness testing. The system removes rosin, no-clean, water-soluble, and other fluxes, and is compatible with lead-free solder. Features include real-time cleanliness and a computer controller to automatically expand or contracts cycle time. A built-in chemical management system automatically mixes and doses wash chemical into the wash-solution recycling system. Standard features include SPC data logging with network-compatible viewing, unlimited alpha-numeric recipe generation, ESD-safe adjustable board rack, and Focus-Wash defluxing technology. Aqueous Technologies Corp., Rancho Cucamonga, CA,


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RCP Packaging Technology
Redistributed chip packaging (RCP) claims up to 30% package area and package thickness shrinkage, along with 30% cost reduction due to the elimination of wirebonds, bumps, and PCB substrates. Dice are repackaged in panel form using silica-filled epoxy encapsulation. The activeand mold compound surfaces are flush and the die bond pads are readily available for redistribution to the pad location for connection to the motherboard. RCP uses copper-plated circuitry and insulating dielectrics, and integrates the package using interconnect technology created by fab-like tools and processes. RCP materials are halogen- and lead-free and RoHS-compliant. It suits end-product applications in portable, compact devices. Freescale Semiconductor, Orlando, FL,


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Substrate Centering and Carrier Technology
Virtual panel carrier (VPC) substrate centering and carrier technology enables multiple component support and alignment during screen printing and subsequent assembly processes. The design comprises a base carrier with a low-maintenance consumable foil; VPC reportedly provides stability, centering, and alignment capabilities required to process multiple substrates or components in a single panel, improving throughput and uph. Parts are placed in the carrier either manually or loaded with a placement system. Substrates are held in the carrier with a proprietary four-sided tensioning mechanism and then aligned within the carrier by a centering system. Parts are referenced using two global fiducials. VPC is also scalable. DEK, San Jose, CA,


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Passives Design-in Software
Embedded Passive Designer offers automated planning, design, and implementation solutions that mitigate risks, reduce cycle time, and optimize material utilization and package cost. Users create libraries of suppliers’ material characteristics and manufacturing rules, then perform cost, performance, and size tradeoff analyses based on these libraries. Results are used to decide which passives to implement in discretes and which to embed in a product design. Those to be embedded are automatically synthesized to proper sizes, shapes, tolerances, and layers. The passives can then be placed and manipulated, and manufacturing data is automatically generated. Mentor Graphics, Wilsonville, OR,


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Ball-attach Fluxes
The NC500 series offers low-viscosity, thixotropic, no-clean fluxes for ball attachment to substrates in BGA manufacturing. They are appropriate in applications requiring good solder wetting to high-oxide surface finishes, such as nickel. The fluxes also perform well in air reflow environments, and under high lead-free reflow temperatures. No hazardous cleaning chemicals are required. The NC500 series is suitable for joining substrate and solder spheres in pin-grid and standard ball-grid-array applications. Indium, Clinton, NY,


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Conformal Coating Jet
The SC-400 PreciseCoat conformal coating jet selectively applies materials onto small substrates or in tight tolerances. Using a needle design with non-contact jetting and pulse-width modulated control, the product delivers conformal coating in small volumes at widths down to 1.2 mm, and thicknesses of 15 µm with solvent-based materials. One applicator delivers multiple dot sizes for small sections and an available dual-valve configuration covers large areas. Asymtek, Carlsbad, CA,


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Burn-in Strip Socket
Executing burn-in and test in the leadframe format, the universal burn-in socket interconnects any strip layout of a given size to the burn-in board independent of device contact arrangement. Up to 800 devices can be loaded per burn-in board with product. A PariPoser contactor provides a high-performance interconnect for burn-in and test with one socket. The technology is said to reduce inventories of burn-in boards, allow more components per oven slot, and reduce energy consumption. The heat source and thermal feedback system are incorporated directly into the socket body for local thermal-environment control at each component, eliminating complex air-flow controls in the oven. Paricon Technologies Corp., Fall River, MA,


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Thin-film Thermoelectric Components
The thin-film thermoelectric module eTEC is fabricated using semiconductor processing techniques, which enable scalability and embedding into applications for cooling, heating, and power generation. The miniature, thin-film eTECs offer a micro-refrigerator in a form factor as small as 0.3 × 0.3 × 0.1 mm. It enables active, solid-state temperature control or power generation in close proximity to a heat source, operating as point-specific heat pumps for rapid cooling or heating of semiconductors and other electronics. In cooling mode, the eTEC removes up to 40ºC and pumps a maximum heat flux of 175 W/cm2. Deployed as a thermoelectric generator (TEG), it can convert waste heat to more than 3 W/cm2 electrical power. Nextreme, Research Triangle Park, NC,


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WLP to Tape Reel
The CS1250 wafer-level package (WLP)-to-tape-reel system’s dual pick-and-place arms pick, flip, and place bumped devices into tape pockets at 16,000 cph. A four-camera system monitors and adjusts arm mechanics and part alignment. Two independent, four-axis robots pick devices from 300-mm wafers and place them into tapes as wide as 24 mm. The axes move less than 5 mm to maintain stability and speed. The vision system allows process control and product inspection at four points. Digital, progressive-scan GigE cameras are said to offer high speed and resolution, quality light sensitivity, and improved image acquisition time. The compact machine includes a user interface with large buttons, smaller stylus menu items, large map display, and quick-touch camera icons. Laurier Inc., Londonderry, NH,

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Electro-deposition Plating system
The Stratus S300 is a configurable, fully automated electrodeposition system designed for thick metal deposition for advanced packaging applications. The Stratus architecture permits a variety of process configurations with up to 22 process modules (44 wafer positions). The system checks wafer seal integrity upon wafer load. A patented contact ring seal provides a leak-tight, uniform, self-checking seal of the wafer in the wafer holder. ShearPlate technology creates fluid agitation less than 2 mm from the surface of the wafer. NEXX Systems Inc., Billerica, MA,


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Copper Capillary
The CuPRAplus copper capillary was developed to meet challenges associated with fine-copper-wire packaging; it incorporates a geometrical design and material surface properties that increase first and second bond pull strength. It is said to generate consistent and stable second-bond quality in X and Y axes along the capillary life span while maintaining overall wire-bonding quality. Available in a range of wire diameters to address different wire bonding challenges, the CuPRAplus product can handle fine copper wires from 0.8- to 1.5-mil thicknesses. It suits existing bonding platforms for fine-pitch wire bonding to low-pin-count devices. Kulicke & Soffa Industries, Inc., Ft. Washington, PA,

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Wedge Emulation
Model 8000 wedge emulation uses a ball bonder instead of a wedge bonder for low-profile interconnects, fine pitch, running-stitch interconnects, and die-to-die bonding in high-density packages. Chain bonding with stitch-stitch interconnects is said to maximize bonding speed at 7-12 wires per second. The chain bonds also offer improved reliability and reduced keep-out space typical of ball bonding. Wedge emulation controls interconnect geometries according to user-supplied inputs. With no tail-off, bond deformation is reportedly reduced, increasing destructive pull strength up to 5×. Throughput and ease-of-use are increased with all wires a single diameter. Machine software programs interconnects to begin with a stitch instead of ball, enabling the use of gold or other wires. Palomar Technologies, Inc., Carlsbad, CA,