For the second consecutive year, a sizable group of 3D integration enthusiasts gathered at the Impress Lounge to honor the innovators in 2.5D and 3D technologies at the 2014 3D InCites Awards Breakfast. The program included a thought-provoking keynote by Bryan Black, Senior Fellow at AMD, as well as brief presentations by Jan Vardaman, TechSearch International; and Karen Savala, President of SEMI Americas, about their respective scholarship programs that benefited from this year’s awards proceeds.

Black’s talk focused on the advantages of die stacking in both 2.5D and 3D configurations as a solution to integration of disparate technologies. He said while scaling will certainly continue, process scaling will to stop supporting diverse functionalities on a single die such as fast logic, low power logic, analog, cache, etc. “Integration is running out of gas because we have integrated everything that is compatible,” he explained. The concept going forward is to dis-integrate functions and instead design them in blocks, utilizing optimal node, and stacking them either on an interposer, or ultimately in a 3D IC.

He noted that at this point, “2.5D interposers are iced” and doing well for a number of reasons. It’s good for die splitting and memory integration. The investment for foundries is low, core business isn’t impacted, and it provides new business opportunities. Additionally it exercises the TSV; and cost is expected to decrease over the next several years.

On the other hand, Black painted a more sobering picture for 3D ICs, citing such hurdles as the investment for process node qualification including TSVs; and the additional effort, time, and risk of development added to the next node. 16nm and 14nm have already committed to NO TSV in early life, which means it will be 10nm or 7nm node before TSVs are designed and qualified in. He said what’s needed is a 3D product with interesting volume in 2016 on 16/14nm, or 10nm will not have TSV either and 3D will continue to slip. He also said it’s possible that interposers will pose a price threat to 3D.

That said, Black’s key takeaways were solidly in support of die stacking. He said die stacking is happening in the mainstream, although primarily in 2.5D interposer configurations. It is happening now because we need it, and high bandwidth memory will initiate the trend into mainstream compute.

And the Winners Are
Following the keynote, the official 2014 3D InCites Award winners were announced in the following categories:

Unlike last year, where judges’ picks for the awards closely mirrored the online polling, this year only one company won both the online poll and the award category. That was SPTS Technologies for its Blanket Silicon Etch Process for TSV Reveal. Congratulations to all who participated! At the end of the day, you are all winners for taking the risk to invest in 3D technologies. Without all of you, we have come this far.

The Scholarships
Thanks to the generosity of EV Group, Platinum Sponsor; Micron, Breakfast Sponsor, and Silver Sponsors, Rudolph Technologies and Mentor Graphics, we were able to raise enough to establish the 3D InCites STEM Scholarship program and donate $2500 to the Frances B. Hugle Engineering Scholarship, established in 2013 by TechSearch International to encourage young women to pursue careers in engineering. We also will award $2500 scholarship to a graduate of the SEMI High Tech U. The recipient will be announced at a later date.

In her comments, Vardaman talked about the reasons why she decided to establish the scholarship in memory of Frances B. Hugle: to honor the pioneering spirit of this American serial inventor, scientist and engineer. Frances Hugle graduated from the University of Chicago in 1946 with degrees in chemistry, physics, and philosophy and received her M.Sc. degree from the University of Cincinnati. She co-founded Hugle Industries, Siliconix, Stewart Warner Microcircuits, Inc. and Opto-Electronics Devices, Inc. In each of these companies she served as a director of R&D and as chief engineer. She held 16 known patents in the field of electronics and was one of the pioneers in the invention of tape automated bonding (TAB). To encourage young women to follow in Hugle’s footsteps, each year, IEEE WIE will present a $2,500 scholarship to one female in her third year of undergraduate study in an engineering curriculum at an accredited university or college in the United States. Student membership in the IEEE is required.

The objective is to raise $100,000 over the next few years to fully fund the scholarship. TechSearch initially seeded the scholarship with $5000. In the past 2 years, the 3D InCites Awards program has added $7500 to that. Donations to date total $26,000. If 30 companies will match the $2500 donation from 3D InCites, the goal will be reached. If you’re interested in donating to the scholarship fund, visit ieee.org/donate and select the IEEE WIE Frances B. Hugle Memorial Fund.

Because “a picture is worth a thousand words” Savala shared a short video explaining SEMI High Tech U, which partners with technology leaders, high schools, and colleges in each community to organize week-long programs attended by selected students. Savala said SEMI High Tech U aims to have a measurable, positive impact on all who participate. They do this by presenting a curriculum that stimulates interest in a high tech career path and enhances the perception of high tech industries. According to a survey, over 90% of 2013 college freshman who graduated from SEMI High Tech U said the program either confirmed interest, was interested and is now focused, or developed new interest in STEM-related career paths.

Savala also invited attendees to encourage their companies to participate in the SEMI Million Dollar Challenge, supported by the Morgan Family Foundation. Donations of $50K will be matched 1:1; $10 – $49K will be matched 2:1 meaning $10K will be matched with 5K. The challenge ends October 20, 2014. Companies interested in participating should contact Lisa Anderson at SEMI High Tech U.

Special Thanks
In addition to the event sponsors, I would especially like to thank my partners at Impress Labs, Dave Richardson and Martijn Pierik, and the entire Impress Labs team for hosting this year’s event at the Impress Lounge. Their continued support of 3D InCites has helped us become the premier online resource dedicated to 3D integration technologies.

I’m already looking forward to next year, and invite the entire 3D InCites community to join us in celebrating the 2015 3D InCites Awards. ~ 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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