Semiconductor assembly equipment supplier BE Semiconductor Industries NV (Duiven, The Netherlands) is joining forces with nanoelectronics research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) to develop a thermocompression bonding technology for 3D ICs. The duo plan to make the technique suitable for narrow-pitch die-to-die and die-to-wafer bonding, with high accuracy and high throughput.
Stacking planes of active circuitry, both within a monolithic production process and as a multiple die in to a single component is expected to have a significant impact on future electronic systems. It is seen as a way to reduce footprint and power consumption. It is a key technology to enable the next generation of portable electronics, such as smartphones and tablet computers, which require smaller ICs that consume less power, IMEC said.
However, existing methods, such as the use of through-silicon vias and bumping of die have yet to see large-scale take up within the semiconductor industry. Flip chip and reflow soldering, which are currently combined for bonding, require lenient bonding accuracy on large bump pitches at around 150- to 50micron bump pitch.
Bump pitches need to scale down to 40- to 10micron to realize a sufficiently high performance. This needs bonding accuracy to within 1 or 2 micron.
One thing that has hindered the adoption of thermocompression bonding has been the long temperature and pressure cycles previously required that have hindered throughput and an automated process flow is essential for industrial adoption.
Imec and Besi will conduct joint research to develop a high-throughput thermocompression bonder in an automated process flow, with high accuracy and shorter cycle times, paving the way to the manufacture of 3D, 2.5D and 2.5D/3D hybrid technology.
"This collaboration will enable us to benchmark our Chameo tool to meet the industrial needs of the semiconductor industry, offering our customers a viable and effective solution for 2.5D/3D IC manufacturing," said Richard Blickman, CEO at Besi, in a statement issued by IMEC.
In a separate and unrelated matter Besi announced in December of 2013 that an investigation had started into the theft of approximately $2.0 million from a bank account managed by one of its US subsidiaries. Besi retained counsel for the investigation and contacted local and federal authorities.
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