X-Fab teams for 3D stack technology

X-Fab teams for 3D stack technology

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

X-Fab Silicon Foundries has licensed a high volume printing technology that allows SOI, GaN, GaAs and InP, as well as MEMS to be combined in a 3D stack.

The deal for volume heterogeneous integration via Micro-Transfer Printing (MTP) is with X-Celeprint and follows two years of investment in workflows and cleanrooms to provide 3D stacks.  

X-Celeprint’s proprietary massively-parallel pick-and-place MTP technology stacks and fans-out ultra-thin die, called x-chips, based on different process nodes, technologies, and wafer sizes using an elastomeric transfer stamp. This stamp lifts many die in parallel from the source wafer, depositing them on destination wafer dies with high precision.

For example, a stamp can transfer 16 x 16 dies, each containing 12 x 3 x-chips, transferring a total of 9,216 dies simultaneously to the destination wafer, repeating until the wafer is filled. The spacing of x-chips on the die allows fanout, in which select interleaved dies from source wafer are transferred. Standard back end of line (BEOL) technology connects the x-chips.

This allows 3D stacked ICs to be built in a high volume process and  will allow customers to work with the foundry on heterogeneous design projects, benefitting from a low-risk and fully scalable business model that offers a clear migration to volume production.

The X-Celeprint MTP technology is covered by over 300 worldwide patents and 189 pending applications and at the moment has an R&D advanced packaging line for rapid prototyping at its headquarters at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland. This has so far been popular with microLED display makers. Another line is also co-located with a 200mm fab by Micross in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. X-Celeprint is a subsidiary of Belgian holding company XTRION NV that is the majority owner of X-fab and Melexis and has investments in Helix Semiconductors and Spectricity.

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X-Fab has six production facilities in Germany, France, Malaysia and the US, while X-Celeprint has research partnerships with the University of Ghent/imec as well as the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in the US.

“By licensing X-Celeprint’s disruptive MTP technology, we are uniquely positioned in our ability to facilitate the incorporation of numerous different semiconductor technologies. X-FAB customers will be able to utilize a technology that no other foundry is offering, and existing X-Celeprint customers may now tap into capacity levels that will easily meet their future demands,” said Volker Herbig, VP of X-FAB’s MEMS business unit.“As a result, we can assist customers looking to implement complete multifunctional subsystems at the wafer level, even when there are high degrees of complexity involved. Signal conditioning, power, RF, MEMS, and CMOS sensors, optoelectronic devices, optical filters, and countless other possibilities will all be covered,” he said.

“Our agreement with X-FAB represents a major milestone in the commercialization of MTP technology, broadening the number of customers and applications,” said Kyle Benkendorfer, CEO of X-Celeprint. “High-volume heterogeneous integration of elements derived from various different source wafers will provide the semiconductor industry with significant new capabilities, including access to higher density devices with more functionality, fabricated at high yields and lower cost, within shorter timeframes.”;

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