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Advanced substrates: A key enabler of future advanced packaging solutions

Advanced substrates: A key enabler of future advanced packaging solutions

Oct 6, 2017: “Advanced substrates are the key interconnect component of advanced packaging architectures”, comments Andrej Ivankovic, Technology & Market Analyst, Advanced Packaging & Semiconductor Manufacturing at Yole Développement (Yole). Indeed advanced substrates are critical in enabling future products and markets.

To answer to technology evolution and market needs, Yole’s advanced packaging team has established a stand-alone dedicated advanced substrate activity, focused on exploring the market and technologies of PCBs , package substrates and RDLs . And today, the “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company announces its first report titled “Advanced Substrates Overview: From IC Package to Board”. This technology & market analysis serves as an overview of advanced substrate technologies, markets, and supply chain, to be supported by subsequent in-depth reports.

Advanced substrates are a key enabler of future products and markets. Yole’s analysts offer you a special focus on this industry and its competitive landscape.

Today’s advanced substrates in volume are:

  • FC substrates
  • 2.5D/3D TSV assemblies
  • And thin-film RDLs especially for FOWLP advanced packaging platform, below an L/S resolution of 15/15 um and with transition below L/S < 10/10 um.

These advanced substrates are traditionally linked to higher-end logic such as CPUs /GPU s, DSPs , etc… Driven by ICs in the latest technology nodes in the computing, networking, mobile, and high-end consumer market segments (gaming, HD /Smart TV).

Moreover, due to additional form factor and low power demands, WLP and advanced FC substrates are also widespread in majority of smartphone functions. Yole’s analysts identified: application processors, baseband, transceivers, filters, amplifiers, WiFi modules, drivers, codecs, power management, etc.

Future higher-end products will require package substrates with L/S < 10/10 um and boards with L/S < 30/30 um. These demands have given rise to three distinct competition areas:

  • Board vs. IC substrate
  • IC substrate vs. FOWLP
  • FOWLP vs. 2.5D/3D packaging

The board vs. FC substrate area is characterized by the transition from the subtractive to the mSAP process, and competition between board and substrate manufacturers. Evaluation of “substrate-like PCBs” is already under way at OEMs, and so too the potential new integration opportunities they could bring. Furthermore, developments in FC substrate, FOWLP, and 2.5D/3D packaging have created an immense competitive arena for L/S < 10/10 um packaging, with a large variety of solutions coming from business models across the supply chain including IDMs, foundries, OSATs, WLP houses, substrate manufacturers, and EMS.

The transition to substrates for ICs below L/S < 10/10 um has begun, led by application processors/basebands in FOWLP and advanced FC substrates, and the first GPUs in 2.5D/3D TSV configuration. The “below L/S < 10/10 um” advanced substrate roadmap is open, with intense R&D underway and each manufacturer developing strategies and targets for their respective solutions.

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