Keeping Focused


It takes a while for changes in technology to affect the standard business measurements of success, and many decisive steps are taken before the rewards are apparent. In the area of advanced packaging, many companies cooperate in consortia-style arrangements to work on specific challenges that will certainly pay off, such as the area of 3D integration using through silicon vias (TSVs). At this year’s IMAPS International, in Providence, RI, we couldn’t help but noticed the cooperative efforts in roadmapping between different industry segments.

During the Global Business Council presentation at IMAPS, the differences between roadmaps concerned with packaging and IMAPS cooperation with these groups was presented. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) addresses semiconductor packaging needs to ensure advancements in IC performance. The ITRS includes a group of suppliers, government-based organizations, consortia, universities, and manufacturers worldwide. One of the technology working groups at ITRS concentrates on assembly and packaging among others more concerned with the front end. Short-term challenges include embedded components, thinned-die packaging, improved organic substrates, and flexible system packaging.

iNEMI focuses on top-level industry segments via their product emulator (PEG) groups, and has more of a business slant focused on end markets. iNEMI’s working groups have design, business technologies, manufacturing technologies, board assembly, and component subsystem technologies. Packaging remains a part of the the latter. Short-term challenges include the reduction of flip chip pitch from the current 150µm to 110µm in 2009 and from there to 70µm beyond 2009, and the infrastructure for including embedded passives into interposer substrates.

Where does IMAPS stand? The ITRS Roadmap focuses on front-end wafer fab with a chapter on semiconductor assembly and packaging. iNEMI focuses mainly on board-level assembly with a chapter on semiconductor assembly and packaging. The difference with IMAPS is that their whole focus is on semiconductor assembly and packaging.

ITRS and iNEMI work together to align this segment of their roadmaps, and according to Laurie Roth of K&S, co-chair of IMAPS’ Global Business Council, IMAPS will focus on the gaps in roadmaps. The GBC will support ITRS/iNEMI updates with input and communicate back to IMAPS members on issues and trends. Recommended areas of focus include: development of feasible embedded components; development of enhanced materials for wafer-level packaging; resolution of thermal management issues; development of new materials to reduce system cost; closing the gap between chip and substrate interconnect density; and resolution of issues involving low-k and Cu.

Though the business market struggles worldwide, the focus of our industry has aligned in many ways to tackle the tough issues, proving that rising to a challange brings out the best in all of us.

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