Category Archives: Packaging

SEMI met with Dr. Jose Pozo, director of Technology and Innovation at EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium), to discuss how 3D packaging applications and heterogeneous integration trends are shaping the European technology landscape. The two spoke ahead of his presentation at the 3D & Systems Summit, 28-30 January, 2019, in Dresden, Germany. To register for the event, please click here.

SEMI: What is the EPIC mission and vision?

Pozo: EPIC is an industry association with 418 corporate members that promotes the sustainable development of organisations working in the field of photonics in Europe. Our main goal is to increase the growth of photonics companies. To do so, we organize around 30 business-to-business events every year and provide market reports to our members.

SEMI: Who are EPIC members and what is your role within the association?

Pozo: Our members encompass the entire value chain, from LED lighting, photovoltaic solar energy, photonics integrated circuits and optical components to lasers, sensors, imaging, displays, projectors, optic fiber, and other photonic-related technologies. In my role as CTO, I like to describe myself as the “Geek” of photonics. Thanks to my technical understanding of the industry, I constantly travel and visit our members to understand their needs, which are very specific to their businesses. Ruring 2018, EPIC visited 142 companies. My role is to understand the industry trends and provide what I call “constant access to network” and market intelligence.

SEMI: What particularly exciting initiative are you driving?

Pozo: The interconnection with the European Commission is playing a big role for us, and we are currently cooperating with the European Commission to enable manufacturing of photonics in Europe. We have been working with our members to identify themes that hold the greatest interest with the European Commission. The Commission has funding available for the development of technologies it believes will enhance the European manufacturing landscape – the so called “Pilot Lines” – and enhance our everyday lives.

SEMI: Which pilot lines are of the greatest interest?

Pozo: There are three main directions for improvement:

  • Reduce costs
  • Enable the manufacturing of new photonic technologies in Europe, such as novel concepts for additive manufacturing, silicon photonics, freeform optics and biosensors
  • Enable volume production

One example of an EU-funded pilot line is “MIRPHAB,” which focuses on Mid-IR sensor manufacturing. Another, PIXAPP, enables the volume production of packaged Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) for established industries such as chemicals, telecommunications and medical.

SEMI: Your 3D & Systems Summit presentation will focus on European demand of new laser systems and processes, application markets and innovative laser technologies. What’s the future of these technologies?

Pozo: Europe should focus on networking because connectivity will help Europe become a leader in manufacturing. The constant development of laser material processing leads to process improvements for modifying materials at the sub-microscale level such as cutting, engraving, drilling and welding. At the core of laser is the so-called beam shape (or beam converter), an optical device that reshapes a light beam. Today, technological innovations based on laser materials processing enable the development of several applications that involve a precise control of the shape, power, and dynamics of the light beam.

SEMI: You have mentioned numerous company visits with industry leaders and experts. What did they say? Where is Europe going?

Pozo: Every company is a unique universe. Every company is so different. Two companies might belong to photonics and still develop different products and technologies – lasers can be the size of building or of a human hair! But there are some aspects of photonics that are much broader in scope. Take the automotive industry. The autonomous car of the future will be driven by photonics and lighting. How often do we hear about LiDAR? While automotive is a key markets for photonics, the technology is also important in driving advances in areas such as “environmental monitoring” and even “urban landscaping.”

SEMI: What are some key trends in photonics?

Pozo: One important trend is that high-powered lasers are required more and more in manufacturing. We are moving from 3 KW to 15 KW lasers, and many companies are now working hard to noto only increase power but to control the laser beam shape.

Another key trend is that MedTech is enabling early stage cancer diagnosis and reducing the number of related deaths, though there is so much room for improvement here!

A third trend is the rising adoption AR/VR solutions in gaming, medical, communication, transportation and many other industries as the technologies mature.

Photonics is also being used more in imaging cameras, microscopy, photography, SMART lighting and lasers and in antibacterial environments.

Come to Dresden to learn more and discuss trends during a coffee break!

SEMI: What are your expectations for 2019 3D & Systems Summit in Dresden, and why do you recommend your members and other industry leaders to attend?

Pozo: Laser-based manufacturing companies in the semiconductor industry should attend the summit. A wide variety of laser technologies that enable the development of innovative semiconductor manufacturing processes is available today. According to Yole Développement (Yole), the laser equipment market will grow at a 15 percent CAGR between 2016 and 2022 and should reach more than US$4 billion by 2022. Those figures are showing the massive adoption of laser technologies for semiconductor manufacturing processes.

Serena Brischetto is a marketing and communications manager at SEMI Europe.

Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: RTEC) announced today that it has received orders for 12 of its Dragonfly™ G2 system, just months after releasing the product. Several systems were delivered in the fourth quarter to the largest OSAT where the Dragonfly G2 systems displaced incumbent 3D technology and retained the Company’s market leadership in 2D macro inspection. The remaining systems will ship in the first half of 2019 to OSAT, IDM, and Foundry customers who are adopting the Dragonfly G2 platform for its high productivity in two-dimensional (2D) inspection, and its accuracy and repeatability in three-dimensional (3D) inspection of the smallest copper pillars. The Company expects additional adoptions of the Dragonfly G2 system across multiple key market segments in the first half of 2019, which validates Rudolph’s collaborative R&D approach with its key customers.

The new Dragonfly G2 platform delivers up to 150% improvement in productivity over legacy systems as well as exceeds competitive system throughputs. Its modular architecture provides a flexible platform with plug-and-play configurability to combine 2D with 3D Truebump™ Technology for accurate copper pillar/bump height measurements. Clearfind™ Technology detects non-visual residue defects and advanced sensor technology measures 3D features and CD metrology. Additionally, the Dragonfly G2 platform has been specifically architected to allow the measurement, data collection, and analysis of bump interconnects nearing 100 million bumps per wafer using Rudolph’s Discover® software and advanced computing architecture.

“We are pleased that our leading-edge customers across multiple market segments are quickly recognizing the value of the Dragonfly G2 system,” said Michael Plisinski, chief executive officer at Rudolph. “Today’s interconnects for advanced memory are now at or below five microns, which require higher accuracy and repeatability versus standard copper pillar bumps. With approximately 65 wafer-level packages in today’s high-end smartphones, a single weak interconnect or reliability failure can result in a high cost of return, driving our customers’ need for the enhanced process control performance. Defect sensitivity, resolution, and productivity are combined in the Dragonfly G2 system to deliver a capability and cost of ownership that is unparalleled in the competitive space.”

Intevac, Inc. (Nasdaq: IVAC) announced today it has received multiple new program awards that together increase Photonics backlog by over $35 million, to an expected five-year record level at year-end 2018. These awards include development programs for digital night vision cameras for the dismounted soldier, and a follow-on order for the U.S. Military’s leading attack helicopter platform.

“Over the last 25 years, Intevac has been driving our founder Norm Pond’s vision of enabling night vision systems with the power of digital technology,” commented Wendell Blonigan, president and chief executive officer of Intevac. “Intevac’s digital night vision camera systems are currently the solutions of choice for the premiere fighting platforms of the U.S. Military, and our largest recent award is the beginning stage of bringing our digital technology to the dismounted ground soldier.”

“This week we announced the largest contract award Intevac Photonics has ever received, which is a direct result of our digital night vison design and domain expertise,” added Timothy Justyn, executive vice president and general manager of Intevac Photonics. “Our product offerings will leverage the successful development work of our state-of-the-art, Low Light Level CMOS cameras accomplished over the past year.”

The awards together contribute over $35 million in increased backlog for Intevac Photonics, in multiple programs that include camera deliveries scheduled over the next two years. The helicopter program award consists of a continuation of the company’s gold-standard ISIE-11 digital night vision sensor. The development program awards for the dismounted soldier leverage Intevac’s next-generation ISIE-19 sensor currently under development.

Over a long period, industrial companies followed up at a distance the development of GaN-based solutions mainly managed by R&D institutes and laboratories. Today the context has changed.
Under the updated of its annual report, Power GaN: Epitaxy, Devices, Applications and Technology Trends, Yole Développement (Yole) identified, a lot of power electronics & compound semiconductor companies including leading players such as Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics… strongly engaged in significant projects of development. Some of them already introduce in their portfolio a GaN product. But it is not the majority. So what is the status of GaN technologies? Can we affirm a clear adoption of GaN products? What would be the main applications?… Business dream or reality, the power GaN industry has been deeply analyzed by the Power & Wireless team from Yole. The analysts propose you today to discover a snapshot of this industry.

Today, it is crystal-clear that, from theoretical point of view, GaN offers fantastic technical advantages over traditional Si MOSFETs; the technology is very appealing, and more and more players are entering; moreover the lowering of prices could make GaN devices a good competitor of the currently used Si-based power switching transistors.

“Nevertheless the technical panorama is not clear yet; every manufacturer presents its solution on die design and packaging integration. This brings to a strong competition which will accelerate technical innovations in terms of integration and better performances,” says Elena Barbarini, PhD, Head of Department Semiconductors Devices at System Plus Consulting.

Even though the current GaN power market remains tiny compared to US$32.8 billion silicon power market, GaN devices are penetrating confidently into different applications.

The biggest segment in the power GaN market is still power supply applications, i.e. fast charging for cellphones. This year, Navitas and Exagan introduced 45W fast-charging power adaptors with an integrated GaN solution. Then, LiDAR applications are high-end solutions that take full benefit of high-frequency switching in GaN power devices.

And what about the EV/HEV market? What is the status of GaN solutions in a market segment step by step dominated by SiC technology replacing Si IGBTs in main inverters? Therefore, Yole announces a US$450 million SiC market in 2023 in its Power SiC report.

“The accumulation of the market growth in various applicative markets, especially the power supply market segment which is the most important in that case, confirms our first scenario,” comments Ana Villamor, PhD, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole.“Under this Base Case scenario, GaN market is expected to grow steadily. At Yole, we announce a GaN market to grow with 55% CAGR between 2017 and 2023”.

However, this analysis is not the only way to see the tomorrow’s industry. Yole’s Power & Wireless team went further in their investigations. Is there any killer application that could cause the GaN power device market to explode? Yes possibly, Yole’s analysts said. As matter of fact, several industrial players confirm that the leading smartphones manufacturer, Apple could consider the GaN technology for its wireless charging solution.

“It goes without saying that the potential adoption of GaN by Apple or another smartphone giant would completely change the market’s dynamics and finally provide a breath of life to the GaN power device industry,” comments Ezgi Dogmus, PhD, Technology & Market Analyst and part of the Yole’s Power & Wireless team. “Indeed we imagine that after a company like Apple adopts GaN, numerous other companies would follow on the commercial electronics market.”

What could be the added-value of GaN technology? Various players, such as EPC and Transphorm, have already obtained automotive qualification in preparation for GaN’s potential ramp-up. In addition BMW i Ventures’s investment in GaN Systems clearly demonstrates the automotive industry’s interest in GaN solutions for EV/HEV technology… Globally, Yole’s second scenario, named Bull Case Scenario is much more aggressive, conditioned by the adoption of GaN wireless charging solution by leading consumer manufacturers.

According to the market research, in this context, the GaN power business could reach around US$423 million by 2023, with 93% CAGR between 2017 and 2023.

In microelectronic devices, the bandgap is a major factor determining the electrical conductivity of the underlying materials. Substances with large bandgaps are generally insulators that do not conduct electricity well, and those with smaller bandgaps are semiconductors. A more recent class of semiconductors with ultrawide bandgaps (UWB) are capable of operating at much higher temperatures and powers than conventional small-bandgap silicon-based chips made with mature bandgap materials like silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN).

In the Journal of Applied Physics, from AIP Publishing, researchers at the University of Florida, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Korea University provide a detailed perspective on the properties, capabilities, current limitations and future developments for one of the most promising UWB compounds, gallium oxide (Ga2O3).

Gallium oxide possesses an extremely wide bandgap of 4.8 electron volts (eV) that dwarfs silicon’s 1.1 eV and exceeds the 3.3 eV exhibited by SiC and GaN. The difference gives Ga2O3 the ability to withstand a larger electric field than silicon, SiC and GaN can without breaking down. Furthermore, Ga2O3 handles the same amount of voltage over a shorter distance. This makes it invaluable for producing smaller, more efficient high-power transistors.

“Gallium oxide offers semiconductor manufacturers a highly applicable substrate for microelectronic devices,” said Stephen Pearton, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida and an author on the paper. “The compound appears ideal for use in power distribution systems that charge electric cars or converters that move electricity into the power grid from alternative energy sources such as wind turbines.”

Pearton and his colleagues also looked at the potential for Ga2O3 as a base for metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors, better known as MOSFETs. “Traditionally, these tiny electronic switches are made from silicon for use in laptops, smart phones and other electronics,” Pearton said. “For systems like electric car charging stations, we need MOSFETs that can operate at higher power levels than silicon-based devices and that’s where gallium oxide might be the solution.”

To achieve these advanced MOSFETs, the authors determined that improved gate dielectrics are needed, along with thermal management approaches that will more effectively extract heat from the devices. Pearton concluded that Ga2O3 will not replace SiC and GaN as the as the next primary semiconductor materials after silicon, but more likely will play a role in extending the range of powers and voltages accessible to ultrawide bandgap systems.

“The most promising application might be as high-voltage rectifiers in power conditioning and distribution systems such as electric cars and photovoltaic solar systems,” he said.

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in the development of standards for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of an update to JESD235 High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) DRAM standard. HBM DRAM is used in Graphics, High Performance Computing, Server, Networking and Client applications where peak bandwidth, bandwidth per watt, and capacity per area are valued metrics to a solution’s success in the market. The standard was developed and updated with support from leading GPU and CPU developers to extend the system bandwidth growth curve beyond levels supported by traditional discrete packaged memory. JESD235B is available for download from the JEDEC website.

JEDEC standard JESD235B for HBM leverages Wide I/O and TSV technologies to support densities up to 24 GB per device at speeds up to 307 GB/s. This bandwidth is delivered across a 1024-bit wide device interface that is divided into 8 independent channels on each DRAM stack. The standard can support 2-high, 4-high, 8-high, and 12-high TSV stacks of DRAM at full bandwidth to allow systems flexibility on capacity requirements from 1 GB – 24 GB per stack.

This update extends the per pin bandwidth to 2.4 Gbps, adds a new footprint option to accommodate the 16 Gb-layer and 12-high configurations for higher density components, and updates the MISR polynomial options for these new configurations. Additional clarifications are provided throughout the document to address test features and compatibility across generations of HBM components.

Panel FO-WLP is in production at Powertech Technology, Inc. (PTI) for MediaTek’s power management integrated circuit (PMIC) for smartphone applications. The Samsung Galaxy watch uses the fan-out panel level process (FOPLP) developed by Samsung Electro-Mechanics (SEMCO) to package the application processor and PMIC. Future applications under consideration for panel production include application processors, memory and RF modules. TechSearch International, Inc. details these applications and analyzes monthly panel requirements and planned capacity. Supplier plans are discussed and consortia activities are highlighted.

One of the major market trends in wearable electronics is the shift to smartwatches, which have surpassed shipment numbers for wristbands. Package trends for wearable electronic products are analyzed, including Apple’s new smartwatch using TSMC’s InFO and Samsung’s Galaxy using FOPLP. The latest trends in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets are discussed. A detailed analysis of the change in packages from the previous generation HTC Vive VR system is presented.

A detailed analysis of the OSAT financials is provided with regional growth documented. Board and substrate material requirements for 5G applications are presented.

The latest Advanced Packaging Update is a 45-page report with full references and an accompanying set of 46 PowerPoint slides.

TechSearch International, Inc., founded in 1987, is a market research leader specializing in technology trends in microelectronics packaging and assembly. Multi- and single-client services encompass technology licensing, strategic planning, and market and technology analysis. TechSearch International professionals have an extensive network of more than 18,000 contacts in North America, Asia, and Europe. For more information, contact TechSearch at tel: 512-372-8887 or see Follow us on twitter @Jan_TechSearch

By Walt Custer

Global growth by electronic sector

Now that most companies in our sector analyses have reported their calendar third quarter 2018 financial results, we have final or 3Q’18/2Q’17 growth estimates for the world electronic supply chain (Chart 1). We estimate electronic equipment grew 6.7% on a U.S. dollar-denominated basis.

Source: Custer Consulting Group based on consolidated financial reports of public companies

Electronic equipment growth has peaked for this current business cycle (Chart 2), dropping from +11.1% in the second quarter to 6.7% in the third quarter. Most of the supply chain is responding to this slowing.

Semiconductors, SEMI equipment an Taiwan chip foundries

While the most recent growth rates in Charts 1 & 2 are for the third quarter, October and November growth is included in Chart 3.  Foundry growth was +4.6% in November, world semiconductor shipments eased to +12.7% in October and SEMI capital equipment slipped to +10% also in October. The days of the +30% growth rates are behind us for this current business cycle!

Sources: SIA; SEMI; financial reports of Taiwan listed foundry companies

Global semiconductor growth outlook for 2019

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics Organization in conjunction with the SIA just updated the chip shipment forecasts for 2018 and 2019 (Chart 4). World semiconductor shipments were estimated to have climbed 15.9% (in U.S. dollars) in 2018 but are predicted to slow to a +2.6% rate in 2019.


Looking forward

The Global Manufacturing PMI (Chart 5) leveled out in November but remained well below its December 2017 high.  This translates to a slower but still positive world expansion in the short term. By region (Chart 6), U.S. growth remains robust, Japan picked up, Europe continues to decelerate, China is near zero growth and Taiwan and South Korea are contracting.


ll eyes are on the global economy, Brexit, trade wars and bizarre political wrangling. 2019 could be a very volatile year!

Walt Custer of Custer Consulting Group is an analyst focused on the global electronics industry.

Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: LSCC), a provider of customizable smart connectivity solutions, announced the appointment of Glenn O’Rourke as the Company’s Corporate Vice President, Global Operations, effective immediately. Mr. O’Rourke brings extensive business and technical experience, and expertise in supplier management, technology, product quality, and cost optimization to his new role. Prior to Lattice, Mr. O’Rourke was Corporate Vice President of Supplier Management, Technology & Product Cost Center at Xilinx, Inc.

Jim Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are excited to welcome Glenn O’Rourke to Lattice’s leadership team, as we continue to attract key talent to our team. Glenn’s deep understanding of the FPGA industry and all facets from strategic planning through manufacturing and quality make him a perfect fit as we work to better optimize Lattice’s operations to support our strategic goals and customers’ multi-year product roadmaps.”

Mr. O’Rourke said, “I am excited to be part of Lattice’s leadership team. Having worked in the FPGA industry for many years I know the strength of the Company’s FPGA portfolio, global customer base and talented employees. I look forward to leveraging my expertise to help the Company enhance the capability, efficiency and profitability of its operations to enable exceptional growth.”

Glenn O’Rourke brings to the role 30 years of FPGA technology and semiconductor industry experience. Over the last 15 years, he has been responsible for Xilinx Inc.’s supplier strategy, management and sourcing; foundry, package, assembly and reliability engineering; and product cost center and gross margin. He most recently served as Corporate Vice President of Supplier Management, Technology and Product Cost Center at Xilinx, Inc. He was previously Vice President of Technology, Product Quality and Reliability for all Xilinx processes and products, after serving as Senior Director of Product Development Engineering. Earlier in his career Mr. O’Rourke was Senior Group Manager Product and Test Engineering at Lattice Semiconductor, and was a Product Development Manager / Program Manager at STMicroelectronics. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University.

As the Silicon Valley in California and the West Coast continue to be the hub of the semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S., HEIDENHAIN has expanded its motion systems support by establishing an ETEL facility in Fremont, CA.  This new 2018 office will provide product, service and support of its ETEL motion systems designed specifically for that industry and others.

The Fremont office is an expansion of HEIDENHAIN’s San Jose, CA, office and provides warehouse space to keep multiple ETEL motion systems on site.  On display currently is an ETEL VULCANO stacked platform motion system, the METIS planar platform, and a demo bench showing ETEL single-axis solutions all operating using ETEL’s AccurET controls.

A cleanroom has been built at this ETEL facility to simulate the expected working environment of its operation, and multiple Service Engineers are on hand to provide real-time support.  A conference room space has also been established as a meeting area for visitors.

“The opening of this facility in 2018 has allowed HEIDENHAIN to meet the needs of the high-tech and fast-paced nature of Silicon Valley that often demands immediate response and is yet another example or HEIDENHAIN’s Customer First initiative,” said Daniel Wiseman, HEIDENHAIN Motion System Sales Engineer. “And actually, area customers of all kinds can now walk-in and see motion systems in person.  Plus, we can now provide on-site trouble-shooting more easily when required.”