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Trio seeks to cut costs in chip packaging

Posted: 11 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:chip? packaging? wafer? wireless? 3D?

Infineon Technologies has granted licenses for its embedded Wafer-Level BGA (eWLB) chip packaging technology to competitor STMicroelectronics (ST) as well as to Singapore-based packaging engineering company STATS ChipPAC Ltd. The move provides the licensees the opportunity to benefit from higher integration and lower cost and enables Infineon to achieve higher market acceptance reaching to large customers.

The trio has signed an agreement to develop the next-generation of eWLB packaging technology, created and hitherto used exclusively by Infineon. The technology employs a combination of front-end and back-end chip manufacturing techniques with parallel processing of all the chips on the wafer, with an objective of reducing production costs. This also allows higher product integration at packaging level and increased chip pin count. As a result, this gives manufacturers low cost and reduction in product size.

Andreas Bahr, who oversees cooperation and licensing issues for the eWLB technology at Infineon, said ST plans to apply the technology for its production, particularly in its mobile communications joint venture with NXP Semiconductors.

Maximizing market strategy
"The license contracts are completely normal multiyear royalties-based contracts," said Bahr in an interview. For Infineon, licensing the technology does not only mean added income through license fees and royalties, but it is also aimed at increasing the market acceptance from large customers. "We expect the production infrastructure landscape to improve and establish it as a standard, especially in wireless markets," he added.

"The development of the next eWLB generation will further increase the integration by means of double-sided coating instead of the current single-sided coating," he noted. The intellectual property resulting from the joint development efforts will be owned by all these three companies.

While the technological potential of the packaging process has a broad range of applications, currently Infineon as well as ST are focusing on wireless communications products such as combinations of baseband and RF devices. "The spectrum of potential applications is very broad," cited Bahr. "This is one of the reasons we granted a license to STATS ChipPAC, which is an accepted authority in 3D chip packaging," he said. He added that STATS ChipPAC has the right to use the technology in third-party projects.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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