7.7 – IC packaging
While the glamour of the integrated circuit has diminished little over the nearly five decades of its existence, it has become increasingly clear in the last several years that the performance of semiconductor chips is being gated by the IC package. Once a bit of an ‘ugly duckling technology (in the early history of the IC, the package is given almost no mention), the IC package is blossoming into a swan and it is now beginning to rival the very technology that gave it birth in terms of the attention it is getting. As evidence one can point to the increasing numbers of colleges, universities and research institutes around the globe that are making a science out of what was one time somewhat of a craft. Or one can look to the explosion in packaging related patents that have been filed and issued over the course of the last ten years. The reasons are manifold but they are rooted in cost, performance and reliability. To understand how IC packaging technology got to where it is today, it is necessary to look back at the road it traveled to get here.
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This column appeared in Global SMT & Packaging 7.7, July 2007.