The 2013 International Wafer-Level Packaging Conference (IWLPC), organized by SMTA and Chip Scale Review magazine, celebrated its 10th consecutive annual event on November 5-7, 2013 with a very successful conference and exhibition. Technical presentations covered a large range of applications, challenges, and solutions. This 10th anniversary event with over six hundred total participants had thirty-nine presentations in three parallel tracks over the two days. In addition to "traditional" applications of WLP for integrated circuits (IC) covered in the “WLP” and “3D” presentation tracks, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) WLP applications were highlighted in the “MEMS” track and general sessions this year.
The conference opened with a fascinating history lesson on the origins of Silicon Valley by Paul Wesling (IEEE Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology Society CPMT Distinguished Lecturer.) Mr. Wesling’s keynote described how the ecosystem of companies of the vacuum tube era collaborated and prospered. It was clear that the WLP ecosystem benefits from similar collaborations enabled by events such as IWLPC.
Marco Aimi (General Electric Global Research Center - GE GRC) provided a high energy plenary on the industrial applications of MEMS. Rozalia Beica (Yole Développement) kicked off the MEMS presentation track with a market overview of MEMS packaging along with what makes it special, i.e., higher cost than IC packaging. In "30 Years of Microsystem Packaging: From Automotive to Mobile Electronics and Beyond," Leland "Chip" Spangler (Aspen Microsystems) traced the development of the MEMS industry from the pressure sensors developed in response to the United States Clean Air Act of 1970 to the present. Other speakers in the MEMS track also highlighted their application-specific WLP packaging challenges.
In the 3D plenary, "A Consumer Driven Market – This Changes Everything," Simon McElrea (Invensas Corporation) highlighted how technology – electronics and computing in particular – have significantly changed from being government and industry driven, to being consumer driven. Once a market changes to being consumer driven, the volumes skyrocket, while the price per unit plummets. Several of the 3D Track presentations covered interposer technologies from silicon to alternative materials including through-glass vias (TGV) by Sergio Cadona (nMode) and phase change alloys (PCA) by Semyon Savransky (The TRIZ Experts). These topics were also covered by Professor Rao Tummala (Georgia Institute of Technology) in his well-attended tutorial. Test and metrology for 3D were covered including presentations by James Quinn (Multitest) and Rajiv Roy (Rudolph Technologies). The 3D Panel of Laura Rothman Mauer (Solid State Equipment), Suresh Ramalingam (Xilinx), Jim Walker (Gartner Technology), and Abe Yee (NVIDIA Corporation) explored how close 3D packaging is to mainstream applications.
Presentations on automation, test, materials, processes, and new technology comprised the WLP Track. Many of the presentations had new solutions or twists on existing technology. For example, William Rogers (DECA Technologies) discussed how DECA was fabricating WLP using continuous flow equipment on larger panels based upon processes and equipment developed for solar panels. The continuous flow and larger panel sizes allow them to significantly reduce their costs and to improve the processing with innovations such as adaptive patterning.
In the exhibit hall, the fifty-five exhibitors demonstrated a large variety of equipment, software, and services related to WLP. Everything from enabling technology, to process inspection, to test equipment, to consumables, to turnkey services for WLP was represented. The show floor was busy throughout the conference and a number of exhibitors commented on the increased level of interest.
IWLPC will return to the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose, California next November 11-13, 2014. Save the Date! Visit http://www.iwlpc.com/ for more information.
The SMTA membership is an international network of professionals who build skills, share practical experience and develop solutions in electronic assembly technologies, including microsystems, emerging technologies, and related business operations.