What is the best IC packaging for PCB?

We all know that optimal performance and reliability of printed circuit boards (PCBs) all comes down to IC packaging.

As experts in IC packaging solution providers, let us help you to choose the best suited IC packaging for your PCB from the wide range of packaging options available, including dual in-line package (DIP), quad flat package (QFP), ball grid array (BGA), and more.

You can thank us later for saving you from a daunting task.

Dual In-Line Package (DIP)

DIP is the oldest and most traditional IC packaging option and they have become quite popular due to their simplicity and cost-effectiveness. DIP packages are ideal for low to medium-density designs and are widely used in various applications due to its distinguishing feature of two rows of pins or leads extending from the sides, allowing for easy insertion into PCBs.

Quad Flat Package (QFP)

QFP is a surface-mount IC packaging option known for its compact size and high-pin count capabilities. It features four sides with leads on each side, allowing for increased pin density and better thermal performance. QFP packages are commonly used in consumer electronics, telecommunications, and automotive industries.

Ball Grid Array (BGA)

BGA is a popular IC packaging option that offers superior electrical and thermal performance. Instead of traditional leads, BGA packages utilize solder balls arranged in a grid pattern on the underside of the IC. This arrangement provides better electrical conductivity, increased pin count, and improved resistance to mechanical stress. BGA packages are widely used in high-density applications, such as microprocessors, GPUs, and memory modules.

Small Outline Integrated Circuit (SOIC)

SOIC is a widely used surface-mount IC packaging option known for its compact size and compatibility with automated manufacturing processes. It features gull-wing leads on two sides, providing excellent electrical performance and efficient heat dissipation. SOIC packages are commonly used in a wide range of applications, including consumer electronics, industrial equipment, and telecommunications.

Chip Scale Package (CSP)

CSP is an advanced IC packaging option that offers a significant reduction in size while maintaining excellent electrical performance. CSP packages have a footprint size similar to the actual IC die, eliminating the need for extra space for packaging. CSP offers high pin counts, low power consumption, and enhanced thermal characteristics, making it ideal for miniaturized devices such as smartphones, wearables, and IoT applications.

When we choose the best IC packaging for your PCB, we carefully consider key factors such as pin count, space constraints, thermal performance, and electrical requirements to ensure the optimal choice that balances performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness for your PCB.

While we work with common options such as DIP, QFP, BGA, SOIC, and CSP packages we continue to embrace newer packaging technologies that continue to emerge to meet the evolving needs of the electronics industry.

What are the processes involved in wafer fabrication?

The world of semiconductors would not exist without the process that keeps these micro components together! Therefore Wafer fabrication has become a process that is known to all.

Let’s take a look at the general steps of Wafer fabrication that would make you an expert in the industry!

  1. Crystal Growth: Wafer fabrication begins with growing a single crystal ingot of semiconductor material, commonly silicon. This is achieved through a process called the Czochralski method, where a seed crystal is dipped into molten silicon and slowly rotated to pull a larger, single crystal out of the melt. The ingot is then sliced into thin circular discs known as silicon wafers.
  2. Wafer Cleaning: Once the wafers are sliced, they undergo a thorough cleaning process to remove any impurities or contaminants. This typically involves using cleaning solutions, deionized water, and mechanical scrubbing methods to achieve a high level of cleanliness.
  3. Oxidation: Next, the silicon wafers are subjected to an oxidation process. This involves exposing the wafers to high temperatures in the presence of oxygen or steam, forming a thin layer of silicon dioxide (SiO2) on their surface. This oxide layer serves as an insulator and protects the underlying silicon during subsequent fabrication steps.
  4. Photolithography: The process of photolithography is crucial for creating intricate patterns on the wafer’s surface. A light-sensitive material, called a photoresist, is applied to the wafer, and a mask is carefully aligned and placed over it. UV light is then applied, transferring the pattern from the mask to the photoresist. This pattern delineates the areas where subsequent processes will take place.
  5. Etching: Etching is used to remove material selectively from the wafer’s surface according to the pattern defined during the photolithography step. There are two main types of etching techniques: wet etching, which involves dipping the wafer into a chemical solution, and dry etching, which utilizes plasma to remove material. These processes are vital for creating features such as transistors, interconnects, and contact points.
  6. Deposition: Deposition involves adding layers of various materials, such as metals or insulators, onto the wafer’s surface. There are different methods of deposition, including chemical vapor deposition (CVD), physical vapor deposition (PVD), and atomic layer deposition (ALD). These techniques allow for the precise formation of thin films to enhance conductivity, insulation, and other necessary properties.
  7. Doping: To modify the electrical properties of specific regions on the wafer, dopants (impurities) are introduced. This process, known as doping, involves diffusing specific atoms, such as boron or phosphorus, into the silicon lattice. Doping is essential for creating various types of transistors, diodes, and other semiconductor devices on the wafer.
  8. Annealing: After deposition and doping, the wafers go through an annealing process. Annealing involves subjecting the wafers to high temperatures to activate the dopants and fully recover any crystal damage caused during the previous steps. This helps stabilize the wafer’s electrical properties and ensures reliable performance of semiconductor devices.

Yes! You guessed right! Wafer fabrication is a complex and meticulously controlled process, involving multiple steps that transform a simple silicon wafer into a sophisticated electronic component. Through understanding these processes contribute effectively to the development of advanced electronic devices we rely on today!

What Is IC Packaging & Why Is It Important?

Need we explain what happens if the circuit design is not secured properly? Yes, you waste your entire effort and also the hassle to redo. Not to mention how your clients are not going to be happy either!

Therefore, let’s look at one of the most important processes in the world of electronics!

Semiconductor packaging or IC packaging!

What is IC Packaging?

IC packaging, or integrated circuit packaging, refers to the process of protecting and enclosing integrated circuits within a protective covering. It involves assembling and enclosing electronic components, such as the silicon chips, into packages that provide electrical connectivity and mechanical support. 

IC packaging is the crucial step that transforms the fragile ICs into sturdy, reliable, and easily usable devices.

Why is IC Packaging Important?

Protection and Reliability

Ofcourse! The most obvious importance of IC packaging is  protection against physical damage, moisture, dust, and other environmental factors that could potentially harm the delicate ICs. Furthermore, it enhances the longevity and performance of the electronic devices, making them more reliable in diverse operating conditions.

Seamless Electrical connectivity

IC packaging incorporates the connections of various contact pins, leads, or terminals that establish electrical connections between the IC chip and other components, such as circuit boards or connectors. These connections enable efficient flow of electrical signals, power, and data, ensuring seamless communication within electronic systems.

Miniaturization and Size Reduction

IC packaging massively contributes to miniaturization in the electronics industry. This compactness enables the creators to meet the demands of the modern day customer ; making the electronic devices smaller, sleeker, and easily portable. 

Effective Thermal Management

The IC packaging solutions help manage the heat generated during normal operations, dissipating it efficiently to prevent damage and maintain optimal performance. Therefore, thermal management effectively will help you to extend the lifespan of ICs and reduce the risk of failure due to overheating.

High-Speed Performance

IC packaging plays a crucial role in maximizing the electrical performance of integrated circuits. Carefully designed packages minimize signal degradation, power losses, and electromagnetic interference (EMI), enabling high-speed communication and reducing latency in electronic systems. This is especially critical in applications like telecommunications, automotive, and high-performance computing.

Product Differentiation and Customization

Different package types and styles offer companies the flexibility to tailor their products according to specific requirements, target markets, and applications. By partnering with the ideal IC packing solution provider, manufacturers can enhance their product’s functionality, reliability, and overall appeal to consumers.

It is inevitable that IC packaging helps in addressing a lot of critical challenges faced by the electronic manufacturers today. However, choosing a CREDIBLE IC PACKAGE SOLUTION PROVIDER is the ONLY way to make informed decisions to create superior, efficient, and innovative electronic devices, driving progress in the field of technology.

Contact us today to further explore what our IC packaging solutions could expand the horizon of your business.

Role of laser grooving technology in the world of ICs

Laser grooving technology has emerged as a game-changer, revolutionizing the precision and efficiency of manufacturing processes in the world of Integrated Circuits (ICs). 

Let’s how Laser Grooving Technology has helped the IC packaging in achieving the required level of precision and ultimately perfection.

Understanding Laser Grooving Technology

The purpose of the Laser grooving technology is to create precise grooves, channels, or cuts on various materials, including those used in IC packaging utilizing the power of laser beams. It harnesses laser ablation techniques, using focused laser energy to vaporize or remove material from the surface, resulting in high precision and accuracy.

The Role of Laser Grooving in IC Packaging

Laser grooving comes into play in multiple stages of manufacturing in IC packaging. 

  1. Wafer Dicing: By precisely cutting through the wafer, laser grooving ensures clean and accurate separation, reducing the risk of chipping or damaging delicate circuitry.
  2. Channel Formation: Laser grooving technology is used for creating channels in IC packages, providing pathways for electrical connections and heat dissipation. These channels facilitate efficient circuit performance and longevity by managing heat generation and enabling effective interconnectivity.
  3. Microvia Drilling: Laser grooving techniques are utilized for drilling microvias, which are tiny holes connecting different layers of the IC package. These microvias enable the successful routing of electrical signals and power distribution, optimizing circuit performance and functionality.

Now that we understand what Laser grooving technology is, let’s how it has become a game changer in IC Packaging.

  • Precision and Accuracy: Laser grooving technology offers unparalleled precision, enabling micro-scale cuts and grooves with minimal material wastage. This high level of accuracy is vital for the intricate geometries and complex circuitry of IC packages.
  • Efficient Processing: Laser grooving enables rapid material removal, resulting in fast processing times. This efficiency contributes to increased productivity, reduced manufacturing cycle times, and enhanced overall throughput.
  • Non-contact Process: As a non-contact technology, laser grooving eliminates the need for physical contact with the delicate surface of IC packages, reducing the risk of damage, contamination, or microscopic defects during processing.
  • Versatility: Laser grooving is compatible with various IC package materials, including ceramics, plastics, metal alloys, and more. This versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of packaging requirements and materials commonly used in the industry.

The precision, efficiency, and non-contact nature of Laser grooving technology makes it a preferred choice for manufacturers seeking superior quality and productivity.  

Level up with an IC package solutions provider who expects to further advance, enabling new possibilities for miniaturization, performance optimization, and the development of cutting-edge electronic devices using advanced technology.

Flip Chip Technology: Advancements in Package Assembly

Flip chip technology dates back to the early 1960’s. It was developed by IBM for their SLT modules used in IBM Systems. It was first implemented for commercial application in 1964.  Over the years flip chip technology represented a significant advancement in package assembly. Below is a quick overview of flip-chip technology.

Miniaturization and High Density

Si dies which are assembled using wire bonding, have a few drawbacks. Due to bonding limitations, for commercial application the number of bond pads are only limited to edge space of the four sides of the silicon dies. In most cases no more than 2 rows of bond pads are fabricated to avoid complex wire bonding related issues.

silicon dies

Illustration 1 –  Bond pads at the 4 sides of the die

Due to technological limitations, in order to reliably assemble the package using wire bonding the pad needs to be at least 35um x 35um in size (for 0.7 mil wires)

With flip chip devices on the other hand avoids all of these issues. Advanced micro bump technology now utilizes bump sizes starting at 10um and the full surface of the die can be used for bumping. This ability to use the full surface for bumping makes results in a smaller, more compact in other words a miniaturized IC chip

device with solder bumps

Illustration 2 – WLCSP device with solder bumps spanning full surface of the die

Improved performance

There is a significant distance between the ic chip and the substrate when connected with wires. As you can see in the above picture, the wire needs to travel a few millimeters from the IC to the substrate. But for flip chip devices this is not the case. Flip chip is directly connected to the substrate via bumps. For this reason the flip chip devices has lower inductance, resistance and capacitance compared to wire bonded devices.

Flip chip device connected to the substrate

Illustration 3 – Flip chip device connected to the substrate with under fill and solder resist.

Enhanced Heat Dissipation

Flip chip technology utilizes both top and bottom surfaces effectively. Bottom surface is mounted substrate for interconnects at the same time using underfill to attach and secure the die into the substrate. Top surface of the die and be directly connected to a heat sink. Modern computer processes use this technology for more efficient heat dissipation.

flip chip design and wire bonding design

Illustration 4 – Comparison between flip chip design and wire bonding design.

In conclusion, Flip Chip technology has revolutionized package assembly in the semiconductor industry. Its ability to enable miniaturization, improve performance, and maintain reliability makes it a key technology in the continuing evolution of electronic devices. As the demand for smaller, faster, and more efficient electronics grows, Flip Chip technology will likely continue to see advancements and wider applications.

Wire Bonding Techniques in Semiconductor Packaging

Wire bonding is a crucial process in semiconductor packaging. The process uses tiny wires, um in diameter wires to connect the semiconductor chip to the substrate. Even though newer technologies WLCSP devices with direct flip chip capabilities, wire bonded devices are used for the majority of applications. 

Three main types of wire bonding processes are typically used.

Thermosonic bonding: 

Technique heat, force, and ultrasonic energy are applied to the wire to make a bond connection between the wire and the chip or substrate. Few decades back thermosonic bonding was limited to Au (Gold) wires but due to increasing Au prices, for industrial high volume application, Cu wires are now being used. 

Thermosonic bonding

Ultrasonic Bonding: 

Mainly used for Al (aluminum) wire boning, ultrasonic bonding uses only ultrasonic energy for bonding purposes. Since no heat is used, Ultrasonic bonding is usually done without the use of a heating element (for Au and Cu wire bonding the substrate is heated 150C and above). Process relays on pressure and vibration to achieve a cold weld between the surfaces. 

Ultrasonic Bonding

Thermocompression Bonding: 

This technique relies on heat and force but does not use ultrasonic energy. Using a bonding tool heat and force is applied to the wire making it deform and connect with the bonding surface. Often used with Au wire bonding due to its malleability, Thermocompression bonding with Au wires are used when ultrasonic energy might damage the device. 

Thermocompression Bonding

Each method of wire bonding offers its own unique advantages and chooses based on the specific needs of the semiconductor device application. This may be the choice of wire material, desired strength, or reliability.  Intech Technologies is here to discuss your specific requirement and offer our expertise on the desired application. Please feel free to contact us and discuss any of your packaging needs.

What is Au (Gold) Stud Bumping

Stud bumping can be done using either Cu (Cupper) or Au (Gold). Here at Intech we have Au stud bumping capabilities. Stud bumping is rather similar to the ball bonding process.

The difference being the wire is terminated once the ball is formed. The capillary descends to touch the bond pad and once in contact with the bond pad a combination of heat, pressure and Ultrasonic energy is applied to form the bond between the surface and the wire. Heat softens the material and ultrasonic energy causing micro vibration facilitating the breaking of oxide layers which promotes atomic intermixing. Pressure helps in deforming the wire to make intimate contact with the bond surface. Once the stud is formed the capillary is lifted and wire is them clamped and torn to leave a stud with a protruding tail.

After the ball formation, we can clam and tear the wire at heights up to 60 µm. This means leaving just the stud or leaving the stud with a custom tail height.

Au (Gold) Stud Bumping

Illustration 1: Several stud bumping profiles with different tail lengths.

Why use Stud bumping?

Relatively low cost Prototyping: With a minimal setup cost, we are able to die individual units. This could be either die level or die attached to a substrate. Unlike solder bumping, stud bumping takes less effort in a R&D setting. 

Good for Precision Application: Able to achieve a co-planarity of +/- 2.5 µm. 

Flux Free Process for MEMS application: Solder Bumping process for oxide ess requires the application of flux for surface prep and oxide removal. For devices sensitive to flux and flux related contaminations Stud pumping is a perfect choice. 

stud bumping solutions

Illustration 2: Au Stud Bumping with optimized profile parameters. 

Please feel free to contact Intech Technologies for any and all stud bumping requests. We will work with you to optimize the bumping profile to exactly match your exact specifications. 

Structured Data

What is a stud bump? Remainder of wire bond terminated once the ball is formed. 

What is stud pumping material? Mainly Au (Gold) and Cu (Cuppor)

Why stud bumping? Cheaper alternative to wafer solder bumping, able to pump at die or unit level, great for prototyping and it is good for applications that require flux free bumping solution.

Essential Semiconductor Packaging Technologies That You Need To Know

All Silicon Integrated Circuits (Si) Need Packaging

In the dynamic world of electronics, the crucial role played by semiconductor packaging in safeguarding delicate electronic components cannot be overstated.

As you read more, you will gain knowledge about IC packaging solutions. This will enable you to confidently discuss them in your next meeting with a provider.

We’re about to explore the essential technology packaging products that shape the semiconductor landscape. This includes everything from lid assembly and package sealing services to comprehensive semiconductor packaging and advanced assembly techniques.

Semiconductor Packaging

Semiconductor packaging is the process of enclosing Integrated Circuits (ICs) in a protective package. This packaging serves as a shield against environmental influences. Its main purpose is to connect and support ICs, ensuring they work well and last a long time.

Ceramic or Plastic Open Cavity Package Assembly

In the R&D phase, after creating a prototype on a wafer, the stage of packaging begins. Usually, only a few dies are packaged.

Open cavity packages, also known as air cavity packages, are common in such scenarios, particularly for low-volume applications. They offer a cost-effective solution.

Depending on the specific application, one can opt for either plastic or ceramic packages. Plastic open cavity packages are generally used for electrical evaluation, while ceramic packages are preferred in high-temperature applications where reliability is paramount.

Lid Assembly & Package Sealing Services with Lid Sealing via Epoxy or Solder

Lid Assembly and Package Sealing Services are essential for the integrity and long-term reliability of ICs. The precise application of lids encapsulates the ICs, protecting them from moisture, dust, and physical damage. The use of automated robotic assembly techniques ensures accuracy and consistency in the lid sealing process, which is vital for the optimal performance and durability of ICs.

Overmolded Plastic Packaging

Wafer Level Chip Scale Packaging (WLCSP) represents a paradigm shift in packaging technology. It integrates the manufacturing and packaging steps into a single streamlined process. By packaging ICs directly at the wafer level, this method eliminates the need for individual die packaging, leading to reductions in size and cost, along with improved electrical performance. WLCSP is especially beneficial in applications where space efficiency and electrical performance are key, such as in mobile devices and wearable technology.

For IC packaging experts, being proficient in leveraging these packaging solutions is imperative. This expertise allows for enhanced reliability, miniaturization, and performance optimization in IC-based products. Keeping up with packaging trends is crucial for technological progress and staying competitive in the industry.

Understanding and utilizing the right IC packaging solutions is pivotal for the success of any project. Contact our experts to find the right IC packaging solution for your needs, ensuring your projects stay innovative.

Addressing R&D Challenges: Adapting Substrate Design for Large Die Sizes

At Intech Technologies, we recently undertook a project that presented a unique set of challenges in our R&D packaging efforts. The task was to develop a packaging solution for a 32 I/O count Ball Grid Array (BGA), with the complication arising from the size of the die, which was 12mm x 14mm. This size exceeded the capacity of our available package options, as none had a die attach pad area large enough to accommodate it.

As we explored potential solutions, our focus shifted to finding a suitable Printed Circuit Board (PCB) substrate. This phase introduced its own set of problems. The BGA’s assembly process involves die attach, wire bonding, and encapsulation, each with specific requirements. One critical issue was the heating process for wire bonding, which is typically done around 150°C. This temperature was incompatible with the BGA’s requirements for even heat distribution during the process. Furthermore, our encapsulation materials, LOCTITE ECCOBOND FP4450LV and HYSOL® FP4450 Liquid Encapsulant, had a maximum operating temperature of 150°C, further complicating the process.

The sequence of assembly also posed a dilemma. Balling the PCB substrate before die attachment, wire bonding, and encapsulation was impractical due to the temperature constraints. Conversely, completing the wire bonding and encapsulation before reballing wasn’t viable, as our molding compound wasn’t suitable for high-temperature exposure. An alternate approach of balling the substrate without encapsulation was considered but dismissed due to the risk of damaging the units and the limited availability of dies.

To address these challenges, we developed a two-layer PCB design. The first layer was designated for the die attach pad, and the second layer was designed for the BGA grid. We conducted the assembly work and the balling job separately for each layer. Both layers featured through-holes at their edges, and after completing all processes, we used gold (Au) pins to connect the two boards, forming the final substrate.

This approach successfully addressed the unique challenges we faced in this project. At Intech Technologies, our focus is on finding practical solutions to complex problems, ensuring that our clients receive products that meet their needs while adhering to the highest standards of quality and reliability.

R&D Challenges: Adapting Substrate Design for Large

Assembled BGA Type PCB Substrate with plastic cap ready to Ship

Packaging

BGA on the second PCB

Fully Assembled BGA Type PCB Substrate with Die with a transparent plastic cap

R&D Substrate

PCB Layer 1 Top surface with extra large die attach area

Substate Design for Large Die

PCB layer 2 with Balled ball grid array

Top view – Die attach pad

Wafer-Level Packaging (WLP) vs Flip-chip (FC)

How do electronic devices keep getting smaller and lighter? The word on the street is, that this is all happening due to “Fan-out Wafer level packaging!” Another term that you always hear with Wafer-Level packaging is Flip chips (for those who are hearing it for the first time, Flip chips are used in making Integrated circuits (IC), Infrared sensors, optical devices etc.

However, a professional in industries like mobile communication and commercial real estate (CRE) might require a full understanding of the nuances of semiconductor packages and technologies like Wafer-Level Packaging (WLP) and Flip-Chip (FC). So let’s dive deeper into understanding the functionality of Wafer-Level Packaging (WLP) and Flip-Chip (FC) together with critical concepts like wafer dicing service, chip bonding, and assembly packaging.

Wafer-Level Packaging

In a nutshell, Wafer-Level Packaging is the art of packaging a semiconductor device while it is still part of the wafer. This technology is a huge victory for the domain of assembly packaging. WLP plays a major role in minimising the size and weight of the semiconductor package – allowing small electronic devices such as sensors in IoT applications or mobile devices to enhance their compactness, efficiency and performance.

WLP is also increasingly linked with wafer dicing services. Wafer dicing is the process of separating a wafer into ‘dies’ or individual chips following the completion of the semiconductor device’s fabricating process. With WLP, this process is notably efficient and contributes to the reduced cost and time associated with WLP.

Flip-Chip

Flip-Chip (FC), also known as “direct chip connect,” facilitates a direct electrical connection of the face-down ‘flipped’ chip with the carrier or board via conductive bumps. Flip-chip is best known for its high-frequency operation capability, thanks to the shorter electrical path that effectively lowers inductance and resistance.

One of the key processes contributing to the success of Flip-chip is Chip bonding. Chip bonding is a method of attaching the packaged chip to the substrate. This might involve wire bonding or the use of adhesives, depending on the type of chip and connection required. The result is a high-performing, reliable connection highly sought after in command-and-control applications. Here is what you need to know about WLP and Flip-Chip to understand what best suits your requirements.

WLP and FC, both offer significant benefits when it comes to wafer dicing services, chip bonding, and assembly packaging.

Space Efficiency – Both WLP and FC are popular choices when dealing with compact, high-density applications where ample space is a luxury.

Cost and Performance – WLP’s streamlined processes and integration with wafer dicing services make it a cost-effective solution. Meanwhile, FC, although somewhat pricier due to the complexity of the chip bonding process, delivers excellent performance, making it ideal for high-frequency applications.

Availability – With both WLP and FC established as vital technologies in the electronic industry, their availability isn’t much of a concern for application in various fields.

Complexity – WLP is a simplified assembly packaging method compared to FC. Still, the advanced chip bonding process in flip-chip packaging enables it to handle numerous complex tasks more efficiently, affording a broader range of applications.

The most important step to follow when determining between WLP and FC for your project is choosing a TRUSTED EXPERT with adequate experience in the field of IC packaging!

Maintaining precision, high quality and lead time Intech technology has proven to be the ideal partner to discuss your needs in wafer dicing services, chip bonding, and assembly packaging. Contact us today to discuss how your project could be optimized, efficient, and cost-effective solutions in a world increasingly defined by technological transformation using IC packaging solutions.