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3D-IC: Taking the next steps towards broad adoption

Posted: 31 Jul 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D-IC  manufacturing  technology 

The semiconductor supply chain is restored to an even keel, thriving and growing again after a few stormy years. Then again, this improvement delivers a fresh set of challenges evident in the growing interest around 3D-ICs—the latest and greatest technology path that promises to make a significant impact in many segments of the semiconductor market.

Opinions regarding the viability of 3D-IC as a broad-market technology range from guarded enthusiasm to blatant dismay. It is an exciting technology, but it has equally challenging hurdles to overcome if it is to move it from the world of potential to the world of high-volume production. Many companies are applying their collective engineering prowess towards making 3D-IC commercially viable, and to bring the associated manufacturing costs in line with required levels of profitability.

A breakdown of these elements is presented in Figure 1.

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One of the big challenges facing 3D-IC is that it appears that many of the tried-and-true methods in process technology, design and testability, and ATE may not be enough to achieve the desired effective cost necessary for broad adoption. Historically, test data has primarily been used in a post-manufacturing role, but it will need to play a much larger position when it comes to 3D-ICs.

The component margins in 3D-IC are not and very likely will not be very generous for the foreseeable future. This means that the management of manufacturing test parameters will play a significant role in the successful and profitable manufacturing of 3D-ICs. In this scenario, and understanding the compounding effect of yield loss in the multi-die architecture of a 3D-IC, the need to do smart pairing and smart screening of devices takes on an even more important role.

Commercial solutions are already providing increases of up to three per cent in recovered yield in single die manufacturing by applying manufacturing intelligence across test operations. With the multiple dice involved in 3D-IC design, there can be a compounding benefit by leveraging that same level of intelligent data for all the devices in a 3D-IC package. As depicted in Figure 2, this includes not just aggregating data from the different processes, but correlating that data across all elements within the test spectrum to achieve the best possible results for a given 3D-IC design, thus lowering the overall effective cost.

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