Ever since Birgitte Wehrman of SUSS MicroTec dubbed me “Queen of 3D”, I have been leveraging that title for all its worth. (I figure, if I didn’t coin the phrase, it’s not really self-aggrandizing, is it?) At the same time, living up to the title can be daunting. So when, in thanks for moderating the BrightSpots 3D IC forum, MCA Public Relations presented me with a Tiffany necklace bearing a crown charm, I was touched, and felt as though I had arrived. So before I go any further, I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to MCA for its support in launching 3D InCites (and also for my crown). The reception we’ve received within the 3D community has been very positive, and we look forward to growing along with the technologies as they find their way to market adoption and full production.

But enough about me and 3D InCites. Back to the BrightSpots 3D IC forum. Many of you are aware of these ongoing discussions, but you may not know that this event included a live press and analyst webcast Monday night, July 13, at the Westin Hotel. What ensued was a lively panel discussion, continuing where the online forum left off. We discussed everything from defining what i3D actually means, to technology challenges and proposed solutions. We got so caught up in that topic, we never got around to discussing supply chain issues and or standards. It’s a good thing the discussion will be ongoing until July 24 .

So as it turns out, 3D integration means different things to different people, depending on what part of the supply chain you belong to. When Bob Patti and Sitaram Arkulgud talk about 3D, they’re mostly talking about circuit blocks and global and local levels of interconnect at the circuit level. Paul Lindner is talking about anything stacked using TSV configurations. In the packaging community, any electrical interconnect in the z-direction (package-on-package stacking, wire-bond chip stacks, edge connections, and through polymer vias) qualifies as a 3D integration scheme.

We also discussed advancements being made in the design community, as Ric Borges of Synopsys stepped forward as the first representative of one of the bigger design houses to publicly speak out on the topic of design tool readiness. Borges says Synopsys is heeding the call from customers for the required tools, and assured the panelists that progress is being made. Borges said that Synopsys will be able to build on the 2D design tool base to develop what is necessary for 3D chip design. Synopsys plans to be ready along with the market needs.

What I found to be most unique about this panel, in comparison to others I’ve been involved with, was the relaxed conversational nature it had. Panelists debated with each other, and answered questions from the press at length and collectively. There was even some humor tossed in from time to time. Fortunately, the entire event was videotaped, and segments will be available to view sometime next week. Additionally, after the webcast, we conducted one-on-one podcast interviews with each of the panelists. These will also be available soon. In the meantime, the discussion continues on the BrightSpots 3D IC Forum through July 24. Be sure to follow along and join in.

Of course, the forum wasn’t the only 3D bright spot at SEMICON West. There’s still much material to sift through, digest and write about. So as everyone recovers from an overindulgence in semiconductor information, we will be serving up small portions of the event over the next week or so. – 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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