MEMS packaging growth, trends, and special requirements

April 3, 2012 — The MEMS packaging sector is growing 2x faster (~20% CAGR) by unit shipments than the larger IC packaging industry, shows Yole Développement in its report “MEMS Packaging.” Wafer level packaging (WLP) and through-silicon via (TSV) technologies will see the fastest growth, with leadframe and organic laminate-based packages hitting 16% CAGR over the next 5 years.

There are plenty of MEMS and sensors to be found in recent smartphone designs: MEMS accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, electronic compass magnetometers, multiple silicon MEMS microphones, FBAR / BAW filters & duplexers, RF switches and MEMS oscillators: there is no doubt that MEMS content is growing faster than standard IC content.

Figure. Key elements of a MEMS package. SOURCE: MEMS Packaging Report, Yole.

In terms of how the packaging is involved, it’s all about orchestrating the assembly of MEMS sensor and their related ASIC inside a module. But this is costly: packaging, assembly, test and calibration steps account for nearly 35% to 60% of a total MEMS packaged module’s cost.

MEMS types of packaging are more complex than most standard IC packages because they require “System-in-Package” type of assembly. Additionally, most MEMS packages are connecting sensors to their final environment, bringing very specific constraints at the module level such as building a cavity, a hole in the substrate or metal lead for pressure sensor and microphones, an optical window for optical MEMS, a full vacuum hermeticity at the die level.

The application scope of MEMS is broad and very diversified. Since its early beginnings, the MEMS industry faced the issue of being a highly fragmented market, with NO manufacturing standards clearly emerging.

However, the MEMS law “One MEMS = 1 Device with 1 Process with 1 Package” is now changing as several packaging platform standards are now clearly emerging (such as WLP & TSV interconnects, SiP module assembly based on molded or cavity packaging for e.g.)
This Yole Développement’s report is featuring a full analysis of packaging, assembly & test requirements application by application as well as a dedicated focus on MEMS package substrates such as ceramic, leadframe and organic laminates.

While there are a lot of developments happening for high reliability, low cost MEMS packages in the automotive, medical and industrial application space, the number of MEMS and sensors going into mobile, consumer and gaming applications is expected to continue to skyrocket, driving integration of an incredibly high number of MEMS and sensor devices in unprecedented volume. As a result, OSAT and wafer foundry players are getting more and more interest in MEMS module packaging, as volume and complexity of
MEMS SiP modules is increasing dramatically, implying several key trend in this space:
— IDMs needs to find second sources partners and qualify some OSATs in order to secure their supply chain
— Standardization (coming from both foundries, OSAT, WLP houses or substrate suppliers) is critical and necessary to implement in order to keep the packaging, assembly, test and calibration cost of MEMS modules under control.

More than ever, system-level integration (including package co-design & software competencies, SiP module assembly, passive integration and 3D TSV / WLP capabilities) will be key to leverage a high added value solution to final OEM customers as well as an efficient infrastructure to support the high volume grow of consumer MEMS applications. “There are many different players with different designs, and it’s not likely we’ll see one solution adopted by all the players. Expect to see a blooming of several “big niches” standards in the future, driven by the biggest and most successful players,” says Laurent Robin, Activity Leader,

Report authors:
Jérôme Baron is the business unit manager of the advanced semiconductor packaging market research at Yole Développement. He has been following the 3D packaging market evolution since its early beginnings at the device, equipment and material levels. He was granted a Master of Science degree from INSA-Lyon in France as well as a Master of Research from Lyon Institute of Nanotechnology.

Laurent Robin is in charge of the MEMS & Sensors market research at Yole Développement, with a focus on inertial sensors and RF-MEMS related technologies. He holds a Physics Engineering degree from the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Toulouse, plus a Master Degree in Technology & Innovation Management from EM Lyon Business School, France.

Companies cited in the report:
AAC Acoustic Technologies, Aichi MI, AKM, Akustica, Amkor, Analog Devices, ASE, Avago Technologies, bTendo, Bosch, Carsem, Canon, China WLCSP, Colibrys, DALSA / Teledyne, DelfMEMS, Denso, Discera, DRS, Epcos – TDK, EPWorks, FLIR Systems, Freescale, Fujifilm Dimatix, Fujikura, GE Sensing, Goodrich-AIS, Hana Microelectronics, Honeywell, Hosiden, HP, Infineon, Invensense, Ion Torrent, JCAP, J-Devices, Kionix, Knowles Electronics, KYEC, Kyocera, Lemoptix, Lexmark, Lingsen, MEM Hitech, Melexis, MEMJET, MEMSiC, Microvision, Miradin, Murata, NEC / Schott, Oak-Mitsui, NXP Semiconductor, Olympus, Omron, Panasonic, PlanOptik, PoLight, Pyreos, Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Raytheon, Rohm, Rood Microtec, Sand9, Sencio, Seiko-Epson, Sensata, Sensonor, Sensor Dynamics, Shinko, SiTime, Silex Microsystems, Silicon Sensing Systems, Sony, SPIL, StatsChipPAC, STMicroelectronics, Systron Donner Inertial, Taiyo-Yuden, Tecnisco, Teramikros, Texas Instruments, Tong Hsing Electronics, Triquint Semiconductor, Tronics Microsytems, TSMC, ULIS, Unimicron, Unisem, UTAC, VTI Technologies, WiSOL, Wispry, X-Fab, Xintec, Yamaha…

Yole Développement is a group of companies providing market research, technology analysis, strategy consulting, media and finance services. Learn more at

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