Who Invented the Through Silicon Via (TSV) and When?

In this post written and submitted by John H. Lau, Electronics & Optoelectronics Laboratory, ITRI, the true inventor of the Through Silcon Via (TSV) is revealed.

The Electronics Industry has been the largest industry since 1996 and would be a 1.5 trillion dollars (i.e., $1012) industry by 2010 [1]. The most important invention of the Electronics Industry is, arguably the transistor, which earned John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.

TSV is the heart of 3D integration [2]. Most people in the Electronics Industry consider Merlin Smith and Emanuel Stern of IBM the inventors of TSV based on their patent “Methods of Making Thru-Connections in Semiconductor Wafers” filed on December 28, 1964 and granted on September 26, 1967, as shown below [3].

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The below Figure shows the patent “Semiconductive Wafer and Method of Making the Same” filed on October 23, 1958 and granted on July 17, 1962 by William Shockley. Yes the same William Shockley, who co-invented the greatest invention of the Electronics Industry – the transistor.

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IBM folks, don’t feel bad! Hold your heads high up and be proud of yourselves because you got beaten by the one you wholeheartedly respect!

References
[1] Lau, J. H., Reliability of RoHS Compliant 2D & 3D IC Interconnects, to be published by McGraw-Hill.

[2] Lau, J. H., C. K. Lee, C. S. Premachandran, and A. Aibin, Advanced MEMS Packaging, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 2010.

[3] Merlin Smith and Emanuel Stern, “Methods of Making Thru-Connections in Semiconductor Wafers”, US Patent # 3,343,256, filed on December 28, 1964 and granted on September 26, 1967.

[4] William Shockley, “Semiconductive Wafer and Method of Making the Same”, US Patent # 3,044,909, filed on October 23, 1958 and granted on July 17, 1962.