The Lunar New Year is soon upon us, and we will be celebrating the Year of the Goat with firecrackers, red packets (I hope!), and the evening parade in San Francisco on 07 March 2015.
The goat is a sturdy animal whose praises are often undersung. Undersung – that sounds a little bit like the MEMS Industry, which, as I wrote in 2014, is sometimes looked upon as being the poor cousin of the semiconductor fabrication family. (Although from at least one corner the MEMS Industry Group sings praise to MEMS and Sensors long and loud here from my home city of Pittsburgh, PA. Let’s hear it for MEMS!)
Saying goodbye to the horse, and hello to the goat, it’s time to review what I said about where the MEMS field (and with it TSV technology in MEMS) was headed in 2014, and also take a look at what the goat told me he thinks about 2015.
I could, and will, copy this part verbatim from my 2014 kick-off-the-year post: “Now that the Internet of Things (IoT) technology meme is in the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ phase of the Gartner Hype Cycle Curve, and with the news out of Las Vegas coming from CES last month doing nothing to tone down the buzz around connected things,” the IoT hype is exerting ever greater pull (or reality distortion?) on the potential for low-cost MEMS and Sensors in 2015.
Although, as Margaret Atwood wrote, “Potential has a shelf life.” Let’s hope ours doesn’t expire before we reach the IoT Plateau of Productivity. Right then.
Said in 2014: The MEMS space is where some of 2.5D and 3D IC’s most important process technologies sprang – wafer bonding, for example, or Bosch Process deep silicon etch.
2015 update: Still true, dat. Big players (AMAT, LRC) continue making progress with deep silicon etch, SPTS is now part of Orbotech, and wafer bonding tool suppliers continue to work on improving throughput while selling important quantities of production-qualified systems.
Said in 2014: It’s the MEMS industry that has commercially profited the most to date with products or services based on TSVs.
2015 update: “Avago: UBS Ups Target to $70, Raises Estimates on ‘FBAR’ Prospects.” (Avago FBAR filters being one of the notable TSV-enabled devices in the MEMS market.)
Said in 2014: The MEMS industry revenue is on track for 13% CAGR over the next part of this decade. (The global semiconductor industry revenue, by comparison, is expected to exhibit only 4.3% CAGR over the same period.)
2015 update: “Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Increase 25.2% in the  Third Quarter with Heightened Competition and Growth Beyond Samsung and Apple, Says IDC.” The competition beyond Samsung and Apple? It’s low-cost Chinese smartphones … with Avago FBAR RF MEMS filters. And all the other MEMS components found these days in handsets.
Said in 2014: The MEMS industry has vision. Trillion Sensor vision. And its own Trillion Sensors Summit; the objective of which is to “invent” new ultra-high-volume sensor-based applications likely to enter the market in the coming decade and accelerate the Abundance.
2015 update: We didn’t ship a trillion MEMS devices in 2014 (it’s maybe more like 7B+), but the TSensors organization did conduct multiple TSensors Summits in 2014, touching down and planting seeds in Munich, La Jolla (San Diego), and Tokyo.
Is Abundance (“The Future Is Better Than You Think”) here yet?
Alas no, but work continues to proceed on MEMS sensor-enabled technological revolutions in Health Care, Food, Energy, Water, Education and Freedom.
Said in 2014: Since with every MEMS device there always seems to be an ASIC, for signal conditioning or for A/D conversion, for example, the MEMS industry is going to continue to push the commercialization of 3D IC technology.
2015 update: That’s called heterogeneous integration, and we’ve launched a blog devoted specifically to the topic. Watch the 3D+ space for updates and opinions on heterointegration, and please consider joining in and adding yours.
From Pittsburgh, PA, thanks for reading, and 新年快乐! ~ P.F.W