IMAPS UK – MicroTech 2018

IMAPS UK celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in the prestigious grounds of Royal Holloway, London University, the first British college dedicated to the higher education of women, established in 1849.

■ The Founders building at Royal Holloway, London University


The auspicious occasion was marked by a Gala Dinner in the Founders building where Malcolm Penn, Future Horizons gave a ‘Walk through 50 years of microelectronics in the UK”. In practice, the presentation also took a broad look at the bright future the industry has, which was evidenced by the high turnout of many new, younger members of the Society.

The Conference

The conference was chaired by Peter Barnwell, who has enjoyed a long history with IMAPS and had the dubious honour of serving on separate occasions as President of IMAPS-UK and then later, IMAPS in the United States.

Malcolm Penn delivering the Gala Dinner Keynote

The keynote speech was delivered by E. Jan Vardaman, TechSearch International. Jan reminded the audience that first iPhone in 2007 had two wafer level packages in it, but was followed in later years by the Iphone 7 which had 44 WLPs. The latest models contain considerably more functionality within each WLP, but still number around 40 packages in total.

Another interesting anecdote from Vardman’s presentation was that the main driver for package reduction was to allow space for the battery. Battery life is a big deal for phone users and therefore space for the battery is a priority.

At the packaging level, Vardaman predicted SIP will reach 25billion by 2020. She also stated that while wire bonding devices have not decreased in number, all the growth is taking place in the flip chip arena, highlighting the fact there is a definite shift from wire bond to flip chip for DRAM. In fact, 80 percent of SAMSUNG DRAM will be flip chip in 2018.

In other predictions, semiconductor fabs are moving towards 7nm and 5nm nodes and the use of Fan-out wafers will increase. The average cost of car sensors will go from $150 per car to $850 per autonomous car and include a number of LIDAR sensors. In automotive testing, manufacturers are now demanding test cycles to 175 degrees C for 1,000 hours.

Vardaman concluded by noting that CAPEX is expanding every year. The average cost per fab is currently 2.2 billion, which is causing some vertical integration and some Industries merging. The eventual winners will be those that design entire systems.

■ The Windsor Conference Centre at Royal Holloway, London University

Josef Sedlmaier from F&K Delvotec had the unenviable task of following E. Jan Vardman with a presentation on wire bonding. Although he acknowledges some of the trends towards flip chip, he did observe that wire bonding was expanding in power electronics.

It is also being employed in some more novel applications, such as laser welding batteries together. This technology is still expanding and 10mm bonding ribbons under development.

Wire bonders are unable to successfully bond on silicon die yet, but the industry hopes to get there soon. Other future bonding technologies include Laser inducted metal bonding (LIMBO), which F&K Delvotec is developing in association with the Fraunhofer Institute.

Among other presentations during the day, a representative from PRIMOCELER described a novel VCSEL glass package with BGA interconnects for high reliability applications such as smartphones, auto sensors, VR and AR.

Tony Winston from Henkel presented a high thermal die attach paste using silver based semi-sintered material, which improves thermal conductivity dramatically. During his presentation he commented that the industry is moving away from silver towards copper for reduced cost and more reliable compatibility with the mold compounds.

David Bernard presenting on X-ray advances in support of technology

After lunch, the conference resumed with a panel discuss, moderated by Grace O’Malley from iNEMI on “Future direction, challenges and technologies”. On the panel were; E. Jan Vardaman, President – TechSearch International, Rich Rice, Snr. VP Business Development – ASE Group, Ron Huemoeller, Corporate VO, WWRD & Technology Strategy – Amkor Technology and Trevor Galbraith, Editor-in-Chief – Global SMT & Packaging magazine.

Towards the end of the day, David Bernard delivered a short treatise on the history of x-ray and how it worked, followed by a presentation detailing the importance of voiding in LEDs, which contributes to the thermal excursions from the package. A major concern in LED solid state electronics.

There was a lot of energy in the room and a keen interest in new and developing packaging trends. Most of the delegates stayed through till the end of the day and all agreed that it was a well-organized, informative and successful event. 



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