Over the last several years, the buzzword in the electronics industry has been “More than Moore”, referring to the embedding of components in the the package substrate and stacking of ICs and packages using wire bond and package-on-package (PoP) technologies. This has led to the development of technologies that can lead to ultra-miniaturization of electronic systems with coining of terms such as system-in-package (SiP) and system-on-package (SoP). More recently, the semiconductor industry has focused on more 3D integration using through silicon vias (TSVs) for 3D systems integration. This is being quoted as a revolution in the electronics industry by several leading technologists. 3D technology, an alternative solution to the scaling problems being faced the semiconductor industry, provides a 3rd dimension for connecting transistors, ICs, and packages together with short interconnections, with the possibility for miniaturization as never before.

The semiconductor industry is investing heavily in TSVs as it provides opportunities for improved performance, bandwidth, lower power, reduced delay, power cost and overall systems miniaturization. Interposers play a very important role in such 3D integrated systems, since they act as the conduit for supplying power, interfacing to the external world and handling the thermal management for 3D IC stacks. Two different technologies are being proposed for the interposer today, namely silicon and glass,. Though glass provides a low loss substrate solutions, it has disadvantages that can be corrected using silicon. Similarly, Si has several performance advantages but is limited due to the semiconductor properties of the substrate which can be corrected using glass. So which proves a better alternative from an electrical performance standpoint – silicon or glass? In this tutorial, the electrical design and modeling challenges associated with 3D integration using TSVs is discussed with primary focus on the interposer. The results are contrasted with a glass interposer solution.

Download Tutorial: Electrical Design and Modeling Challenges for 3D Systems Integration

(This tutorial was originally presented at DesignCon 2012. It has been republished with the Author’s permission.)

Madhavan Swaminathan

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