Dow Corning, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, announced today at SEMICON West 2013 that it is among the newest member organizations to join imec, a leading research center for the advancement of nano-electronics.
A thin silicon wafer on dicing frame after successful debonding from a silicon carrier wafer at imec, using Dow Corning's silicone-based temporary bonding solution. Courtesy of imec
The announcement signals expanded opportunities for both organizations to combine their expertise toward the development and broader adoption of 3D integrated circuit (IC) packaging technologies, wherein IC chips are stacked in vertical 3D architectures.
"This move is a natural and strategic step for Dow Corning and imec, as we both believe collaborative innovation is as critical to industry leadership as native expertise," said Andrew Ho, global industry director, Advanced Semiconductor Materials at Dow Corning. "Our access to imec's world-class resources and expertise will not only help us further refine our unique temporary bonding solution, it will allow imec to leverage that solution to advance integration of the 3D IC packaging process that they've been developing for years."
By integrating multiple chips into a single package, 3D IC technology promises to reduce form factor and power consumption, and increase bandwidth to enable more efficient inter-chip communication for next-generation microelectronics devices. Yet, before 3D IC fabrication can see broader adoption, it will require innovative advances in materials and processing technologies.
One of the key challenges imec is tackling is the bonding of the device wafer to a carrier wafer, prior to wafer thinning, and the safe debonding of the thin wafer after completion of backside processing. This was Dow Corning’s goal when designing its Temporary Bonding Solution, aimed at simple processing using a bi-layer concept comprising an adhesive and release layer. The Dow Corning technology also enables room-temperature bonding and debonding processes based on standard manufacturing methods.
Together with imec, Dow Corning will explore its temporary bonding CMOS-compatible solution for 3D Through-Silicon-Via (TSV) semiconductor packaging. The collaboration will aim to further expand the technology’s ability to achieve simple, cost-effective bonding-debonding techniques compatible with standard manufacturing processes.
"Imec's precompetitive programs are an essential platform for industry leaders to share the risk and cost of advanced research," said Eric Beyne, program director 3D System Integration at imec. "As one of the semiconductor industry's most proven pioneers in advanced silicone-based solutions, Dow Corning brings valuable materials and processing expertise to imec's global network of innovators – as well as a key enabling technology for TSV fabrication. We look forward to collaborating closely with our newest member organization as we drive the next stage of 3D integration, and help ensure compatiblity of the proposed thin wafer carrier solution with advanced, sub-10-nanometer CMOS device technologies."