The Convergence Of Advanced Packaging And SMT
The need to provide connections among components presents a unique challenge as the number of connections increases and their sizes decrease.
By: Dr. Subodh Kulkarni, CyberOptics CEO (as published on Semiconductor Engineering)
One statement is almost always true in the electronics industry: smaller is better. The relentless demand for electronic systems that pack more computing power and functionality into less space has driven the development of new processes and designs since the invention of the integrated circuit. In recent years that drive has taken a new direction, literally, as manufacturers have discovered that it is easier to go vertical than to continue to shrink laterally, in only two dimensions. Now they are building skyscrapers where once they laid out neat neighborhoods of single-story ranch houses. The need to provide connections among components presents a unique challenge as the number of connections increases and their sizes decrease.
For most of the industry’s history the worlds of device manufacturing and system assembly were largely separate. Device manufacturers fabricated chips and packaged them to provide protection and connections to the outside world. System assemblers mounted packaged devices, usually with surface mount technology (SMT), on printed circuit boards to provide communication, power, and more. As new designs incorporate more powerful chips and sometimes multiple chips in a single package, the number of connections needed, both within the chip and to the outside world, has multiplied. To provide these connections manufacturers have adopted advanced packaging (AP) processes, many of which adapt front-end-like manufacturing processes to traditionally back-end packaging applications. As demand grows for more, smaller, denser connections, and those connections migrate inside the package, the conventional line between packaging and assembly has blurred.