How AiP/AoP Technology Helps Enable 5G And More

How AiP/AoP modules can be used In lieu of a separate RF system on chip (SoC), baseband (BB) SoC, surface mount technology (SMT) matching circuits and a discrete antenna.


For 5G smartphones and other millimeter wave (mmWave) applications, antenna integration off the board and into the package, simplifies the design challenges endemic to high-frequency devices. These challenges include signal loss, signal integrity, and power supply limitation. Antenna in Package (AiP) and Antenna on Package (AoP) constructions provide the required form, fit and function for high-frequency applications in part due to their capacity to house a single antenna or an antenna array. Today’s AiP/AoP constructions make use of existing assembly infrastructure to create complete radio frequency (RF) front-end (RFFE) subsystems inside a single customized System in Package (SiP) module. as.

Fig. 1. With an AiP design, the antenna is not a separate device, but is integrated in the device package

Fig. 1. With an AiP design, the antenna is not a separate device, but is integrated in the device package

Projected Growth for 5G, mmWave and RFFE Modules

In addition to emerging 5G smartphones, other applications that operate at very high frequencies and demand a small size include wearables, small cells, security cameras, radar units in autonomous vehicles and numerous Internet of Things (IoT) wireless nodes. Thanks to AiP/AoP integration, the antenna no longer must be a separate component within the wireless device but instead can be integrated in a SiP with supporting RF switches, filters, and amplifiers. This flexibility has resulted in Yole Développement’s forecast that the total RFFE module SiP market will reach US $21 billion by 2026, representing an 8.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

AiP/AoP at Amkor Technology

In lieu of a separate RF system on chip (SoC), baseband (BB) SoC, surface mount technology (SMT) matching circuits and a discrete antenna, today’s fully integrated RF front-end module is completely achieved with AiP/AoP in SiP. Not only does this integration allow for a reduced form factor for handheld and other small mmWave devices, but AiP/AoP also provides improved signal integrity, by reducing signal attenuation, while overcoming range and propagation challenges which occur at higher frequencies. As a leading outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) supplier, Amkor has pioneered the packaging technologies required for RFEE subsystems.

Fig. 2. 5G Antenna on Package Module Exploded View

Fig. 2. 5G Antenna on Package Module Exploded View

Implementing AiP/AoP Technologies

The device’s intended frequency range drives which package construction is most applicable for antenna and accompanying IC. Options include simply designing the antenna into the substrate itself (AiP), mounting the antenna as a component atop the substrate (AoP), and stacking a separate antenna or launcher substrate onto the IC’s substrate (also AoP). For applications below 6 GHz, a Flip Chip Ball Grid Array (FCBGA) or Flip Chip Chip Scale Package (fcCSP) or Double Sided Molded Ball Grid Array (DSMBGA) are two possibilities. For applications in the 28 GHz to 80 GHz range, the antenna could be part of a SiP module, or a fcCSP, or the aforementioned stacked Package on Package (PoP) construction. Further, Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WLCSP) and the most advanced Wafer Level Fan-Out (WLFO) constructions can be appropriately applied to devices at low or high frequencies

Fig. 3. 5G Antenna on Package Module Exploded View.

To protect RF circuitry from the environment, RF shielding can be applied to any type of package. Effective techniques include dual-side molding, conformal shielding (selective and complete), compartmental shielding using laser trench and paste filling technologies, and partial molding. A variety of qualified materials are available to ensure each of these assembly processes provides the necessary electrical protection without introducing mechanical or thermal degradation to the package

Key Amkor packaging technologies for AiP/AoP include:

  • Greater than 77 GHz achieved
  • Compartmental shielding using vertical wires
  • Partial conformal shielding
  • Partial molding
  • Body size: up to 29.0 mm
  • Substrate layer count: up to 14 layers
  • Thin-film RDL and dielectrics for 77 GHz and above

Design Services and Production Capabilities for AiP/AoP

Owing to its experience designing inside a wide range of customer boundary conditions, Amkor offers a set of design and production capabilities which maximize circuit density, while safeguarding electrical performance for high-volume production of 5G and other mmWave designs.

To these ends, Amkor offers the following:

  • An advanced multi-die integration toolbox
  • RF SiP design and simulation know-how
  • Extensive fcCSP, WLCSP and WLFO portfolios
  • An established and reliable supply chain
  • Global assembly scale and test investment

Initiating an AiP/AoP Design

Amkor offers many options to incorporate AiP/AoP into a wide array of package types, in addition to housing high-volume production capacity across the globe to enable future generations of mmWave products. To integrate Amkor’s market-leading 5G and mmWave packaging technology into a next-generation application, system designers can simply contact Amkor to discuss their needs. Amkor is ready to support you!

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