For me, the most exciting news so far at this year’s 3D ASIP conference has been the announcement that Tezzaron Semiconductor is licensing both Ziptronix’s Zibond  and DBI technologies . Really, I did backflips when I read the press release, because I have a soft spot for technology innovators and pioneers and I’ve been following these companies as long as I’ve been interested in 3D technologies. Its encouraging to see them both gaining ground.

I chatted with Bob Patti of Tezzaron, and Kathy Cook and Paul Enquist of Ziptronix about the news. They’re all pretty excited about it too; there’s already a history between them. Both companies started around the same time; and Patti pointed out that of the “first round” of 3D companies, they’re the only ones who are still in business. Tezzaron has worked with Ziptronix for years, shipping wafers for processing to Ziptronix’ North Carolina facility. Licensing both the Zibond (the room temperature bonding process) and DBI (direct bond interconnect) was a natural next step in a mutually beneficial relationship.

It’s exciting for Tezzaron, explained Patti, because it broadens what they can do in 3D with 3D memories. “Copper thermal diffusion bonding works well in some applications,” he said, referring to Tezzaron’s own FaStack process. “But because DBI is done at room temperature, it extends our capabilities.” DBI is key to bringing Tezzaron closer to its objective of being a 2.5D and 3D fab and address a broad range of applications. Patti said that initially, they’ve been conducting experiments by building identical memories using DBI and FaStack to analyze cost trade-offs. He’s interested in the final results of that.

On the Zibond side, he said Tezzaron has a customer requiring a simple wirebond stack needing 3D assembly that can’t be done using the normal adhesives. Zibond is the ideal solution, says Patti. Essentially, licensing Ziptronix technologies has allowed Tezzaron to expand its process portfolio.

And what makes this deal particularly significant for Ziptronix? Enquist and Cook offered up a number of reasons. First of all, it validates memory as an application for ZIptronix technology, along with already established applications in RF devices and BSI image sensor technology.

“Tezzaron is already in production with 3D memories using wafer-to-wafer processes.” noted Cook. “Now our technology can go into those products. True 3D is being done wafer-to-wafer, not just talked about.”

Enquist further emphasized the importance the wafer-to-wafer process has to improving yields and reducing cost for memory applications. This is the first license for DBI for volume production. (Zibond hit that milestone with Sony last year.) “It proves DBI can be run in a volume manufacturing environment, taking the technology to a whole new level of maturity,” noted Enquist.

Expect to see more great things coming from both Ziptronix and Tezzaron, as they continue to forge new frontiers for the industry. Ziptronix has its eye on enabling low-cost scalable 3D for  solar cell applications. Tezzaron is working on a 2-phase microfluidic cooling solution using diamond films for high density 3D.  Now that the companies have conquered advanced 3D memory stacking, they’re ready to lead the way for more wafer scale integration.  ~ F.v.T.

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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