The innovative co-labelled EURIPIDES²-CATRENE SAM3 project is gearing up to meet the challenges the next ten years will bring as we witness the next big changes to package materials, highlighting the need for proper characterisation and failure-analysis techniques.
Complex microelectronic devices are at the very core of such innovative projects as the futuristic Smart Cities. This makes More-than-Moore (MtM), System-in-Package (SiP) and 3D high-density integration essential in the design of these projects. To ensure that these devices remain at the technological cutting-edge, we are already witnessing new developments in package materials and processes. This, in turn, will require effective analysis techniques to understand new failure modes and reliability-limiting factors caused by thermo-mechanical mismatch, residual stresses and interaction of new materials and processes.
Now, at the time of this project, there were challenges to be dealt with. For instance, failure-analysis techniques to localise electrical defects in SiP devices with multilevel wiring and efficient and artefact-free sample preparations for physical analysis techniques were limited. This led to a strong interest in ‘3D-SiP’ integration and MtM performance, together with miniaturisation and cost-reduction. Notably, failure analysis was first recognised as a major enabler. This, in turn, called for the development and qualification of new diagnostic tools and advanced methods for material characterisation, defect localisation, sample preparation and physical-failure analysis.
Driving competiveness through quality, price and failure diagnostics
The prime objectives behind the SAM3 project were to strengthen global competitiveness of European Union semiconductor and system suppliers in designing and manufacturing reliable, high-quality and cost-effective MtM and SiP products, and to foster a closer cooperation with suppliers of failure-diagnostics tools in order to shorten product-development cycle times.
This project also aimed at strengthening global competitiveness of innovative diagnostic-tool suppliers by providing them access to the latest available MtM and SiP technology developments. Crucially, implementing innovative failure-localisation and analysis methods and tools in MtM and SiP developments would secure reliability and reduce field returns. Furthermore, by supporting suppliers of semiconductors, systems and diagnostic equipment, research institutes could establish an international, competitive infrastructure and know-how.
The SAM3 project was run by a consortium from France and Germany, comprising four leading European semiconductor and system suppliers, ten tool providers and four research institutes, which provided specialist expertise and experience in such areas as failure localisation, preparation and analysis, and material characterisation.
Project activities – mainly focusing on the impact of analytical methods and the causes of reliability failures – can be summarised as follows:
1. Early technology concept phase:
2. Technology & assembly-process development:
3. Product development & qualification:
5. Customer returns, field failures.
Significant progress was made in failure localisation, preparation and analytical characterisation in 3D packages and SiP. In particular:
Additional significant results with respect to failure analysis equipment were:
Commercial potential and early market introduction
Importantly, collaborative work by the project’s major semiconductor and system suppliers, together with the failure analysis of compact SiP solutions by equipment and method suppliers, produced results with high commercial potential. Here are some notable examples:
SiP integration is widespread
Thanks to miniaturisation, SiP has become an enabler for heterogeneous integration. The SiP market is growing and 3D-SiP solutions are appearing in products and components in various sectors: such as automotive electronics (3D image sensor chips); energy generation and energy distribution (like Smart Grid); industrial electronics, where SiP growth of over 20% is predicted; and in such sectors as solid-state lighting, medical and aeronautics.
All this is backed by market statistics. Yole’s 2019 report predicts a CAGR of about 11% between 2018 and 2023 for the total assembly market for RF-SiP components in mobile phones. In their market report from May 2019, Zion Market Research forecast a CAGR for SiP of around 8.1% between 2019 and 2025. And market growth is supported by statistics from Allied Market Research, which expect the global SiP packaging technology market to reach US$30 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 9.0% during the forecast period 2016–2022.
Crucially, SAM3 secures European competitive power in key industry sectors already mentioned, allowing Europe to hold a strong position in high-density, complex SiP technologies. All this is occurring just as mass production of some microelectronic devices moves out of Europe. This makes it even more critical for Europe to develop intellectual property in this emerging field to maintain existing employment levels, develop replacement products and reap financial benefits.
PROJECT CONTRIBUTES TO
Infineon Technologies AG / Robert Bosch GmbH / MUEGGE GmbH / PVA TePla Analytical Systems GmbH / Point Electronic GmbH / SmarAct GmbH / WITec GmbH / 3D-Micromac AG / STMicroelectronics (Grenoble2) SAS / STMicroelectronics (Rousset) SAS / STMicroelectronics (Tours) SAS / Thales Systèmes Aéroportés / Thales Research and Technology / Digit Concept / Orsay Physics / Predictive Image / Sector Technologies SAS / CNRS (represented by LP3-Marseille, LEPMI-Grenoble, and GREMAN-Tours) / GREMAN Tours University / Fraunhofer IMWS / Reutlingen University
PROJECT LEADER: Klaus Pressel, Infineon Technologies AG
KEY PROJECT DATES: 1 October 2015 - 31 December 2018
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