IWLPC (Wafer-Level Packaging) Conference Proceedings


Author: Joseph Fjelstad
Company: SiliconPipe, Inc.
Date Published: 11/1/2006   Conference: IWLPC (Wafer-Level Packaging)

Abstract: The electronics industry’s birth is marked by many with the invention of the transistor at Bell Labs, however others place the date much earlier with Lee De Forrest’s invention of the vacuum tube. An intermediate birth date was suggested in the National Geographic in an issue published late in 1945. The article contained a statement that 1945 marked the beginning of the new “Era of Electronics”. However, going back in time again, one will find that the term “electronic” was actually coined around 1910, substantiating the claims of those who give De Forrest credit. While determining a birth date is an entertaining exercise, a pragmatist might well argue that it was the invention of the IC that marked the birth of the electronics revolution we see about us today. As important and the IC is, it is useless without a supporting interconnection structure and experts are increasingly coming to agree that it is the IC package that holds the key to unleashing the performance potential of current and future integrated circuits. Today’s multi-gigahertz processors operate at internal clock speeds that outstrip the electronic interconnection infrastructure’s ability to support them. There is clear need to fill this performance gap. The potential of the processor becomes difficult to tap. While on-chip clock speeds keep pace with Moore’s Law, short range transmission of those signals is being degraded by the IC packaging and circuit interconnection which have not been able to keep pace.

While optoelectronic interconnection solutions are being worked on as possible future solutions, electronic interconnection technologies are likely to the used far into the future. This is both due to the dominance of electronics and significant number of impediments to near term adoption of optical solutions. Optical data transmission technologies are stymied by such road block issues as high cost; high power requirements; limited infrastructure and lack of experienced engineers. Even so, for long distance signal transmission, optoelectronic solutions are unparalleled. However, it is cost effective transmission of signals over short distances that is needed. Lacking immediate cost effective and reliable solutions for optical interconnections, the near term challenge is to solve the problem of designing and constructing an optimal electrical signal channel. Digital signals in the gigabit-per-second range must overcome many of the same problems that have faced the designers of RF and microwave circuits in terms of managing signal loss. Designers must manage signal transitions along an often tortuous path from chip-to-chip and in doing so overcome the parasitic effects of all interconnections, beginning with the IC package.

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