Friday, February 6, 2009
So — on to topics pertinent to 3D….a headline in today’s Semiconductor Packaging News, which linked to a story in Cybermedia Online India caught my eye – "Semiconductor Industry Recession then Boom!" As you know, I’ve been avoiding any of the doom and gloom, but the "boom" in the title made me click on the link. Could it be good news? YES! Finally. Thank you, Bill McLean. You’re a man after my own heart. While 2009 overall may still see negative growth, McLean recommends looking at it quarter by quarter. Recessions are usually followed by periods of strong growth, and McLean predicts that to begin by the 3rd quarter. That’s more like it. I’m going to shake your hand next time I see you.
Lee Smith of Amkor and I chatted a bit yesterday about a market rebound and where 3D technologies fit into this. He said that even when there’s a major market crash, development is still ongoing. Fueling productization requires compelling innovations. Even through a down cycle, Amkor introduced three packaging innovations. Two of them - FusionQuad and FCmBGA – were developed to provide next-generation solutions using existing infrastructure. The third, which will be launched soon in the 3D packaging space, is TMVPoP. This package-on-package design uses lasers to create interconnects between the top and bottom packages allowing memory/logic interface with finer pitches, higher density, and a thinner bottom package to accommodate more configurations.
Other interesting tidbits this week….
Henkel Corp. announced the appointment of Luc Godefroid as the company’s Global Sales Director for its Semiconductor Group. Since the company’s acquisition of National Starch, Godefroid has been leading the integration process as head of project management. With that task well underway, the company says it has decided to leverage Godefroid’s advanced materials knowledge and management skills by transitioning him to lead the semiconductor group.
SUSS MicroTec announced that Frank Averdung is ready to take the helm four months ahead of schedule. Franz Richter, Ph.D., chairman of the supervisory board, says he’s pleased with that Averdung is available early, because his industry and marketing experience is “invaluable to the strategic advancement of the Company. to the strategic advancement of the Company.”
And lastly, Ultratech received the Zurich North America Commercial and Wells Fargo Insurance Services' award, which acknowledges companies whose corporate culture makes safety a "value system." The company’s track record for employee health and safety certainly establishes them as an industry benchmark.
That pretty much wraps up the week. Enjoy the weekend. I’m sure there will be much more to talk about next week in the wonderful world of 3D IC Packaging. – F.v.T
Thursday, February 5, 2009
"I am very pleased with the overwhelming support we received from industry experts to speak at this event,” says Smith. “I've been involved with 3D packaging from folded flex assemblies to TSV interconnects over the past 28 years and believe this conference is a must-attend for anyone who is looking to develop, use or supply 3D IC, TSV or 3D packaging technologies.” He added that the GBC forum’s high level of speakers and attendees fosters open communication and is unique because rather than discussing technologies or products, the focus is placed on the business and logistics issues associated with developing a capable supply chain, which is critical to both users and suppliers.
This year Jan Vardaman, president, TechSearch International sets the tone with her keynote, “Market Demand, Applications, and Requirements for 3D Packaging and 3D ICs”. The morning session focuses on supply chain collaboration from R&D to commercialization of 3D ICs with TSVs beginning with "The Role of Consortia", featuring presentations by Rosalia Beica of EMC3D, and Eric Beyne of IMEC. Next, executives from several IC suppliers offer their perspectives. Among them, Bob Patti, of Tezzaron offers insight as an early supplier of 3D IC products, talking about obstacles his company faced due to lack of supply chain infrastructure.
During lunch, Bill McLean of IC Insights will offer a keynote on an upbeat topic, “Poised for Quick Rebound”. Hopefully this will help boost attendee optimism about the economic climate, or at least get us through desert without causing a room full of indigestion.
The afternoon is divided into two sessions, “3D Packaging, TSV, Roadmap, and Supply Chain/Technology Development” and “Multi-sources of Supply and Lessons Learned from 3D Packaging-based Products”. Here’s where other 3D flavors share the spotlight with TSV. Bill Bottoms of Nanonexus will talk about system-in-package (SiP) integration for 3D, Bob Lanzone of Amkor will unveil the company’s next-generation package-on-package (PoP) built on its proprietary through mold via (TMV) technology platform, and Marc Robinson, CTO of Vertical Circuits, will no doubt at least touch on the company’s jetted silver-filled polymer interconnect technology for chip stacking in his presentation, “Rolling Out a New Packaging Technology; Maximizing Supply Chain Opportunities.”
For maximum value, Smith recommends that technologists and business leaders consider coordinating their companies participation in the GBC and the two and a half days of strong 3D technical papers and exhibits that follow at the IMAPS Device Packaging Conference. “Within Amkor, we see the GBC and DPC as our top conference for 2009 participation; due to the quality of the topics, speakers, attendees," he says. "and of course our Arizona weather in March is a huge draw."
Let’s see, all the 3D I could possibly want to know about; a 3-day exchange of ice and snow for warm sunshine… I’ve heard enough. Come March 8-11, you know where to find me and my laptop. Hope to see you all there. – F.v.T
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Just today, AllVIA announced it has received the third round of funding to allow expansion of the facility and build more capacity. Here. In the US. During a recession. With a technology that’s still, for the most part, trying to break out of the gate. What could be better news than that?
I first met Sergey Savastiouk, CEO of ALLVIA, at IMAPS 2008 and he talked to me about the company’s history. He said he first licensed the technology and developed equipment for TSV processes in 1996, but it drew no interest. So he set about building a foundry to change all that. He even coined the name through silicon via.
In 2005, ALLVIA began working with customers MEMS sensors and packaging people to integrate vias into products and generate missing data. Since then, Savastiouk says the have been working to develop reliability data, costing and manufacturability parameters, which he says are the keys to transport TSVs from niche to volume production.
“As a technology TSVs are going through a similar life cycle as flip chips,” commented Savastiouk. “Flip chips were first developed in the 1960s by IBM. But it took decades to develop the feasibility, reliability, cost effectiveness and manufacturability to get them into volume production. TSV has passed the feasibility phase, but reliability and manufacturability figures, and most importantly, those applications that are willing to pay for the technology, are still being determined.” Savoustiak also said the timeline could be accelerated if a company such as Intel were to lead the charge.
This latest injection of cash – reportedly $5M – brings the company’s investment total to $25M. Looks like ALLVIA is drawing interest now. – F.v.T.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
While many of the companies on my radar also have a presence in other market segments, I'll be focusing on their activities as they pertain to 3D IC packaging innovations. So please don't feel slighted if you don't see coverage of a particular press release. It doesn't mean I don't care. I'll do my best to find a connection if there is one. If not, well then, maybe next time. Just keep them coming.
If you're looking for blog coverage serving a broader electronics industry market, check out Gail Writes 4 U. Well-known throughout the electronics industry as editor-in-chief of Advanced Packaging and SMT magazines, Gail Flower has launched her own blog to present coverage in a way that no one else can.
People keep asking how to subscribe to my blog, Françoise in 3D. I've enabled several tools to do this, none of which I'm an expert at explaining how to implement. Mostly I just click on links and follow the instructions. I suggest you try that first. There are two places to do this, at the top of the right hand navigation and after the very last post. There's also an invitation to become a follower. So far I have 3. I'd love for there to be more, so please sign up by clicking the link and following instructions. If all of this baffles you, email me at fvontrapp@gmail and we'll handle it the old-fashioned way. I'll add you to an opt-in subscriber list that will receive email updates once a week. Sound like a plan? -F.v.T
Monday, February 2, 2009
While eGViacoat is actually the second product in the Alchimer arsenal of three, the strategic decision to target its promotion first was all about timing. Lerner explained that as TSV metallization processes are still being established, the opportunity exists to assume a leadership position where there is no established process.
“This is going to be a hot wave – better than bumping,” says Lerner. “This is an industry-wide wave affecting both front and back-end processes.” He said the company has recipes for via-first, middle, and last processes, as well as TSV for interposers, different substrates and a whole range of dimensions. “We will evolve with the field and provide solutions for everyone; logic, memory, image sensors…” he said.
Alternatively, Lerner explained that eGSeed, the first product developed based on the company’s electrografting (eG) processes, is a dual damascene process that competes with the more complex, established market currently committed to dry PVD and CVD processes. Lerner is confident that Alchimer’s processes can out-perform dry processes at a fraction of the cost, and it’s simply a matter of time before displacing them. Once eGViacoat’s position is secure, Lerner intends to do just that.
The third product (still in beta) is AquiVia, a wet process for isolation, barrier, and seed layer deposition that picks up where Viacoat leaves off. It allows the same tool to be used for insulation, barrier and seed layer deposition, and completely eliminates dry process techniques from TSV metallization resulting in a 70% cost reduction. “It’s all about cost,” says Lerner about TSV adoption. “Quality and design rules are a given, but the overriding driver is cost.” AquaVia is positioned to launch mid-year, and by SEMICON West 2009, all three products will be promoted as a full-line solution.
In addition to the Best of the West Award, eGViacoat has racked up recognition as finalists in both the 2008 Advanced Packaging Awards, and Eurasia IC Industry Awards, and as a top new product for 2008 by Fabtech.
The company announced its first licensing deal with NEXX Systems, provider of electro-deposition systems for TSV applications, for metallization of high-aspect ration TSVs.
Landing its first user licensee , according to Lerner, was the result of meeting with DALSA Semiconductor’s visionary Luc Ouellet. Ouellet analyzed the MEMS manufacturing process and recognized Alchimer’s value proposition as applied to copper TSVs for the company’s low-cost MEMS products. After successful testing, DALSA decided to license the technology.
Lerner scoffs at statements reverberating currently throughout the industry that the front-end is dead and the back-end will follow. He’s been around awhile, and knows that this is all part of the industry lifecycle. Those who make it through will be the ones who are strategically positioned, offer innovative solutions, and are open to collaboration. The semiconductor phoenix will rise again, and Alchimer will assume an active role.