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Packaging Technology Needs Of Automotive Radar Sensors Chips

From low-cost ultrasonic radar to complex lidar, automotive sensing methods call for a range of packaging types tailored to the application.

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Automotive radar systems are typically composed of an antenna, front-end radar sensor and back-end signal processor. Current state-of-the-art automotive radar systems make use of the latest integrated circuit and a wide range of packaging technologies. Let’s look a bit further into the development of automotive radar sensor chips and the packaging technologies being used as solutions for this expanding application.

Radar sensor chips consist of three main components:

  1. Main chips (e.g. MCU, DSP or FPGA)
  2. Radar chips (e.g. MMIC, ASIC)
  3. Other auxiliary chips (e.g. PMIC, ADC, PA)

Ultrasonic radar chip modules are normally composed of an MCU, an ultrasonic radar sensor chip, and a PMIC chip. Since the amount of data processed is relatively small, traditional Wire Bond packaging methods are generally used to keep its production cost to a minimum.

The millimeter-wave radar chip module is comprised of a DSP chip, a mmWave radar sensor, an RFFE MMIC Chip, and a PMIC chip. Because the amount of data processed is greater than an ultrasonic radar chip, DSPs, CPUs or chips of similar functions are commonly used for fast processing of large amounts of data. The types of semiconductor packaging typically used are Flip Chip and Fan-out (eWLB) solutions. JCET’s eWLB, a wafer level fan-out solution, is able to achieve parasitic resistance and induction rates that are reduced by 70% and parasitic capacitance that is reduced by 50%. This effectively increases the chips’ electrical performance, reduces their power consumption, reduces packaging size and saves cost.

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) chip modules are typically composed of FPGAs or ASIC chips, mmWave radar sensors, the RFFE FMCW, SPAD chips, and PMICs. Since large amounts of data are being processed, the FPGA and ASIC chips are commonly used as high speed processors and a Flip Chip packaging solution is typically used. There is also an increasing trend of using system-in-package (SiP) solutions to integrate chips of different functions. Besides IC chips, LiDAR modules also integrate lasers, detectors, and optical components.

LiDAR chips are highly technical and have a rather long development and production cycle time, with a high production cost. Currently, LiDAR sensor technologies are still in the developmental stage with several areas in need of improvement. For example, the overall production cost of LiDAR sensors must be reduced to open markets in new applications. Overall, the LiDAR chips market is expected to expand in the future, especially in the development of Level 3 to Level 5 autonomous vehicles.

Antenna-in-package (AiP) is a technology that integrates antenna and chip functions into the package to enable its system-level wireless functionality. The AiP technology is developed in line with the high integration of semiconductor processors, providing a good solution for the integration of the antenna and the package for system-level wireless chips. The latest market analysis reports that AiP technology will be an important technology for the integration of mmWave 5G communication and automotive radar chip functionality. Hence, with the extensive attention it has received recently, AiP technology will continue to be an indispensable technical aspect of automotive chip packaging.

In addition to the traditional wire bond packages (TO, SOP), JCET also offers a wide range of advanced packaging technologies such as the Flip Chip, Fan-out wafer-level packages (eWLB, Fan-out Package), Fan-in Wafer Level Packages, System-in-Package (SiP), High Performance Computing fcBGA packages, as well as 2.5D and 3D solutions to meet the different needs of automotive chip customers. Looking to the future, we will work with our customers to provide complete solutions for radar chip packaging and testing to help the automotive chip industry grow and thrive.



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