My head is spinning. I just spent a few hours reading through all the latest 3D technology posts on various semiconductor news websites; something I find myself doing a lot more ever since I took on 3D-ICs.com. As editorial director of that site, it’s my job to sift through all the RSS feeds and aggregate all that is 3D through the portal site.
It occurs to me that it wasn’t too long ago when there were only a few of us in the industry avidly following and writing about 3D technologies. Three years ago this month, I started Francoise in 3D, (it’s kind of amusing to go back and ready those early posts, if you’ve got some time to kill) and then 3D InCites was launched six months later. The only other blogger at that time writing regularly about 3D topics was Phil Garrou, and he always says he was skeptical about having enough material to write about 3D once a week. (I never found that to be a problem; I have always considered myself to be a student of this technology rather than an expert, so I wrote about as much as I could and left it up to the readers to decide what was important.)
Until recently, the broader scope semiconductor publications and websites had the odd 3D piece now and again, but now, everywhere you look, every single day, more journalists and bloggers are taking up the 3D torch and running with it. As with all hot topics, much of it is repetitive and redundant as many of us are reporting on the same wire stories or from the same events, and so wind up writing a lot of the same stuff. For example, when the news broke about In the case of IBM and Micron’s Hybrid Memory Cube project, there were easily 50 posts with various versions of the story and the same, now famous, schematic. (I actually never wrote about it myself. What more was there to say?)
Another difference from three years ago and now is that back then, there were A LOT of skeptics and much of what was written wasn’t necessarily in favor of 3D integration; there were too many technology challenges, it was too expensive, there were plenty of other tried-and-true processes that could address performance, power issues, signal speed, etc. But the believers persevered, and little by little, the challenges have been addressed to the point where most say what remains are not showestoppers. We
And then along came the iPhone, the iPad, and the various me-too smartphones and tablets that have firmly established the need to which only 3D ICs are thought to hold the key. The number of naysayers has dwindled, and these days it’s hard to find someone who isn’t rallying behind 3D technologies. Even the most reluctant believe it’s the answer; but that it’s going to still take awhile until we’re ready, and in the meantime, there’s 2.5D.
Here’s the irony – when I set out on this journey, I thought focusing on 3D would be easier than trying to cover the scope of the semiconductor industry. In the beginning, as an emerging technology that was the case. Over the past 3 years, that has changed dramatically as 3D technologies become ubiquitous, there’s nothing that isn’t affected. 3D tracks and workshops are popping up in the what used to be considered the most unlikely places – SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference, for example, which has gone from one paper to a full track on 3D metrology AND a keynote speech. Unless I clone myself, I can’t possibly cover it all on 3D InCites. Which is why I’m so grateful to the regular readers who have put finger to keyboard and have become regular contributors and guest bloggers; folks like Paul Werbaneth of EV Group, who will be contributing even more frequently as he attends events around the world; John Lau of ITRI, who sends me posts when he has some vital information to share; Andy Rudack who will be reporting again this year from SPIE Advanced Lithogtaphy; and Keith Cooper of SET North America; who attends US events and whether or not I get to them, lends a different perspective from the sessions he attends. I invite any of you who would like to contribute either 3D technical features or reports from events featuring 3D presentations to send them to me. As long as there’s no shameless self promotion in the article, I’ll be happy to post in on 3D InCites and share it with the community.
Happy New Year to all! May 2012 be the year 3D hits the big time. ~ F.v.T