Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 20

Singapore opens R&D center; Applied forms lab in Singapore center; consortium devises packaging breakthroughs.

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Singapore opens R&D center
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has officially opened its new R&D center in Singapore.

The center, dubbed Fusionopolis Two, is a $450 million facility, according to Singapore’s A*STAR. It will provide the industry with co-location opportunities for R&D.

Anchored at Fusionopolis Two are the following A*STAR research institutes: the Data Storage Institute (DSI); Institute of Microelectronics (IME); Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE); and the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech).

The co-location of these institutes brings together research capabilities, such as data analytics, computational sciences, social and cognitive computing analytics, advanced materials, silicon photonics, future data center storage technologies and nanofabrication.

Applied forms lab in Singapore center
In a separate announcement, Applied Materials plans to establish a new R&D laboratory in Singapore in collaboration with A*STAR.

The S$150 million joint investment will focus on developing advanced IC technology. The lab will be housed within A*STAR’s new R&D cluster at Fusionopolis Two. It will feature a 400-square-meter Class 1 cleanroom with state-of-the-art semiconductor process equipment. The facility will be staffed by 60 researchers and scientists.

Researchers will develop several technologies, such as low-defect processing, thin-film materials, materials characterization, and modeling/simulation.

In addition, Applied Materials plans to conduct experiments on the synchrotron at the Singapore Synchrotron Light Source (SSLS). They will work with the National University of Singapore, where a new beamline for semiconductor applications is to be developed. Funding for the construction of the new beamline is supported by the National Research Foundation.

“The joint lab will strengthen capabilities for Applied Materials in Singapore, as we expand from advanced manufacturing to early stage R&D and designing global products,” said Russell Tham, corporate vice president and regional president of South East Asia at Applied Materials.

The new joint lab marks Applied Materials’ second collaboration with A*STAR. In 2012, Applied and A*STAR’s IME formed a Center of Excellence in Advanced Packaging in Singapore to develop advanced 3D chip packaging technology.

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A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and its consortium partners have developed novel solutions in integrated circuit (IC) packaging.

As part of its efforts, the consortium reduced the high thermo-mechanical stress that is generated in the assembly of IC packaging that adopts copper pillars and low-k chips. This was demonstrated through thermal compression bonding for large size chip (18- x 18-mm chip) and package (25- x 25=mm FCBGA package).

The consortium reduced the pitch size of copper pillars on a two-layer, low-cost organic substrate and bare copper bond pads from 40μm to 30μm through thermal compression bonding. This process not only enables higher density interconnects, but it also enables the bonding of copper pillar to bare copper bond pads without traditional NiAu plating or an organic solder preservative coating on copper bond pads.

In addition, the consortium reduced the existing package profile of a fan-out package. This was achieved by removing the substrate on the PCB that carries the passive components supporting electrical performance, and embedding these components within the package.

The technique, which employs a redistribution layer (RDL) process flow and a through mold via technology, reduces the package profile by approximately 25% to achieve a higher density package, and also reduces the manufacturing cost by approximately 15%.

The consortium was launched in 2013 and includes the following companies: Ajinomoto; EV Group; GlobalFoundries; Heraeus Materials; Henkel; Infineon Technologies; JSR; Linxens, and TOK.