Chip package from the project »Universal Sensor Platform (USeP)« in Globalfoundries technology.

New packaging for more than Moore

Engineering of Adaptive Systems EAS division develops »Assembly Design Kit« for Globalfoundries

Gordon Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel, predicted in the 1960s that the number of circuits on a microchip would double every year. For a long time, Moore’s law was regarded as a golden rule in electronics, but more recently the principle has begun to approach its limits. As a result, many manufacturers are looking for new ways to boost the functionality and performance of their chips.

To support the German semiconductor industry in this regard, the Fraunhofer IIS Engineering of Adaptive Systems EAS division is developing »Assembly Design Kits« (ADKs) for the foundry Globalfoundries, with facilities in Dresden and elsewhere. With these ADKs, already tested at the prototype stage, methods from circuit design are applied to problems in package design to enable the creation of suitably complex packages to match the increasing complexity of chip designs, as the high packaging density in modern electronic systems threatens to overthrow the traditional workflow in which chip design occurs separately from package design.

Until now, data such as manufacturing rules, information on materials, conductor widths, or distance rules have not generally been available in electronic form for the package design stage. This is a major drawback in light of the huge amount of extra effort involved in the exchange of information between chip and package manufacturers as a result of the steady increase in performance – but also complexity – of electronic assemblies.

To address this crucial issue, we have adapted a method from IC design, preparing package specifications for groundbreaking semiconductor technologies in such a way that they can be integrated in all major software solutions for chip design. The benefits of this approach include pre-production simulations that take packaging into account in addition to the actual electronics. In this way, electronics designers can design both components of a finished electronic system in parallel
– without the distraction of external package design. What is more, thanks to the resulting uniform data structure they can exchange information between different design programs. The first ADK ready for application in Globalfoundries technology will be completed in 2020.