A rebound in demand has put the semiconductor industry back on a growth trajectory. But the industry needs to produce "collaborative advances in materials and processing technologies" to keep the momentum going.
That's the message that Dow Corning is trying to get out, as the industry works to sustain a tenuous recovery.
"The pace of innovation across the semiconductor processing and packaging value chain has never been greater," says Andrew Ho, Dow Corning's global industry director for advanced semiconductor materials.
"While the industry hasn't reported any insurmountable challenges ahead for advancing such promising technologies as 3-D IC integration, several critical needs are emerging among our global semiconductor customers that we are addressing head on."
Those needs include "the steadily accelerating demand for high-performance silicone solutions to help collaborators along the value chain to manage the impact of heat and stress, while reducing overall systems costs wherever possible," Ho says.
Dow Corning, which is equally owned by the Dow Chemical co. and Corning Inc., asserts that the industry needs "innovative new silicone solutions" to address the following challenges:
- Improved heat management—The trend toward ever-smaller devices with more densely packed electronic components is coinciding with the expanding use of flip-chip and stacked-die architectures. As a result, the industry is seeking improved thermal management from advanced silicone technologies that effectively dissipate heat and deliver greater device reliability and longer life.
- Enhanced stress passivation—The rapid growth of wafer-level packaging and power electronics is posing new manufacturing challenges for stress mitigation. At issue is thermo-mechanical stress failure caused, in part, by conventional organic passivation materials. This has prompted new explorations in photo-patternable silicone solutions that help minimize thermo-mechanical stress during processing, and deliver higher thermal stability and low temperature cure.
- Lower systems costs—Minimizing total cost of ownership is a key enabler for next-generation semiconductor technologies such as 3-D IC integration built on ultrathin active wafers. Recent industry collaborations have yielded a simpler, more cost-effective process for producing these wafers. The breakthrough technology now enables room-temperature bonding and debonding of active and carrier wafers using conventional manufacturing methods.
"After decades of serving the semiconductor-manufacturing industry, Dow Corning recognizes that few if any companies can single-handedly anticipate the next-generation of semiconductor solutions," Ho says.