The Battle for Progress in 3D Integration

The Battle for Progress in 3D Integration

By Heinz Kundert, president, SEMI Europe 

Profound changes — in technological complexity, market demand and business model diversity — are taking place in the markets that SEMI serves. In the semiconductors industry, demand drivers in mobile applications and other areas are accelerating the introduction of non-planar transistor architectures, 3D chip stacking, 450mm wafer manufacturing, and other areas.

I’d like to focus in on the area of 3D integration. European companies continue to be at the forefront of 3D TSV technology. R&D organizations such as CEA-LETI, Fraunhofer-IZM and imec are among the pioneers. On the IDM and foundry side, STMicroelectronics and ams AG are leaders. In the last few years, equipment and materials suppliers have achieved important developments in 3D-IC.  Much progress has been made and European leaders — such as BESI, EV Group, Oerlikon, Suss MicroTec and SPTS — are among the players that invested significant R&D efforts.

However, some key challenges remain. I’m talking about complex technology that requires diverse stakeholders to get together and achieve a common vision for the next chapter in the industry. One of SEMI's objectives — getting the right people talking to each other — seems relatively simple but it’s not. Facilitating better communication between manufacturers, their suppliers, research institutions, system OEMs, and other stakeholders is an important issue as challenges remain in the areas of cost control, design, mass production and testing on the “road to 3D-IC commercialization.” With computing and smart devices fueling growth of the market, commercialization needs to occur. But when?

SEMI has worked hard to help resolve some of the manufacturing challenges that remain. In addition to organizing large SEMI exhibition like the SEMICONs in Europe, the U.S., Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, where discussions about 3D-IC evolve and progress, SEMI is also involved in bringing the right people together for standards and also recently announced a new international event focusing on 3D-IC.

Nearly 200 technologists from industry, research institutes, and academia around the world have already joined the SEMI 3DS-IC Standards Committee. Formed in late 2010, the SEMI 3DS-IC Committee recently approved its first Standard for publication, SEMI 3D1, Terminology for Through Silicon Via Geometrical Metrology, which provides a starting point for standardization of geometrical metrology for selected dimensions of TSVs. SEMI 3D1 is an important first step in promoting common understanding and precise communication between stakeholders in the 3D-IC manufacturing supply chain.

To solve the remaining technical and business challenges, strategic discussions need to occur, requiring   coordination and cooperation along the supply chain. To facilitate that goal, SEMI is launching a new event in Grenoble on January 22-23, 2013 at the European 3D TSV Summit, which will strongly focus on the manufacturing aspects of 3D Integration and TSV.

Laurent Malier, CEO of CEA-LETI, Ron Huemoeller, senior VP of AMKOR, and Suresh Ramalingam, senior director at Xilinx, will keynote. The Summit features plenary sessions, an exhibition, business meetings, and a market briefing. In addition, attendees will be offered an option to visit the CEA-LETI 300mm TSV line, one of the world’s most impressive 3D R&D facilities. International leaders from Europe, the U.S. and Asia will be in attendance, discussing the issues.   

I hope that you join us. Let’s move the industry forward!

November 7, 2012