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Flip-chip platform to lift wafer shipments

Posted: 07 Mar 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flip-chip? 3D IC? wafers? CMOS?

The flip-chip platform will grow by threefold over the next five years to reach over 40 million 12" equivalent wafer (eq) start per year, according to research firm Yole Dveloppement.

IBM first introduced the flip chip process over 30 years ago, updating it constantly with new bumping solutions to serve the most advanced technologies like 3D IC and 2.5D. In 2012, bumping technologies accounted for 81 per cent of the total installed capacity in the middle-end area, with over 14 million 12" eq wafers. Fab loading rates are high as well, especially for the Cu pillar platform (88 per cent). Flip-chip earned $20 billion last year and is expected to hit $35 billion by 2018.

Flip-chip capacity is projected to expand further to meet high demands of CMOS 28nm IC, including new applications like APE and BB, next-generation DDR memory and 3D IC/2.5D interposer using micro-bumping. Driven by these applications, Cu pillar is on its way to becoming the interconnect of choice for flip-chip. Yole analysts expect to see strong demand from mobile & wireless, consumer applications, computing and high-performance industrial applications such as network, servers, data centres and HPC. The massive adoption of Cu pillars is motivated by a combination of several drivers, including very fine pitch, no UBM needed, high Z standoff, etc.

Cu pillar flip-chip is expected to grow at a 35 per cent CAGR between 2010-2018 in terms of wafer count. Production is already high at Intel and by 2014, more than 50 per cent of bumped wafers will be equipped with Cu pillars.

The ultimate evolution in bumping technologies will consist of directly bonding IC with copper pads. 3D integration of ICs using this bump-less Cu-Cu bonding is expected to provide an IC-to-IC connection density higher than 4 x 105 cm-2, making it suitable for future wafer-level 3D integration of IC in order to augment Moore's Law scaling.

Concerning geography, Taiwan has the biggest overall bumping capacity (regardless of the metallurgy), with important capacity coming from foundries and OSAT factories. Taiwan currently leads the outsourcing 'solder & copper' flip-chip wafer bumping market.

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