(This is an online exclusive essay in SST's Forecast for 2011: Back to Reality series.)
Doug Dixon, marketing dommunications director, Henkel, Irvine, CA USA
January 11, 2011 - How do we follow a year like 2010? Though market analysts certainly projected an up year as compared to 2009, none could have anticipated the growth that the packaging market experienced throughout the previous calendar year. And, while this market expansion has undoubtedly had its benefits, challenges have also resulted. With demand at record highs, efficiently managing the supply chain has become increasingly more complex. Large, global organizations with a depth of resource and world-class supply chain management systems are arguably navigating this terrain a bit more successfully than others and providing better predictability of supply to their customers.
On the technology side, environmental legislation in combination with device miniaturization will continue to drive packaging development efforts throughout 2011 and beyond. Now set for 2014, the deadline for compliance with RoHS legislation in the power/discrete device market is forcing manufacturers to find alternatives to high-lead die attach solders. Of course, compliance with environmental standards cannot come at the expense of performance and this balance is the ultimate challenge. Developing materials that can provide sufficient thermal and electrical capabilities in a lead-free medium has been at the forefront of our R&D efforts.
But environmental concerns are not the only thing keeping packaging specialists awake at night. Without question, the smaller, thinner, more powerful paradigm is here to stay and is challenging traditional design and assembly rules, ultimately putting greater demands on the materials needed to enable their function. Much thinner wafers (≤50μm) and the ability to stack die to unprecedented heights (32 die stacks) has driven die attach materials innovation to address these new requirements. New die attach film materials with thicknesses as thin as 5μm are enabling much thinner bond lines and delivering thermal budgets that allow for extreme multi-stacking processes. In fact, for many applications, die attach film will be the only die attach option as traditional die attach pastes will not be workable for applications that require extremely small, thin die. This will not only be the case for non-conductive applications, but for conductive, power devices as well.
With the convergence of environmental legislation alongside increasingly miniaturized, higher functioning devices, 2011 promises to be a very demanding and exciting year!