CHANDLER, Ariz., July 3 -- In order for semiconductor companies to accommodate technology roadmap requirements and meet demand for advanced semiconductor chips with greater functionality, a trend toward greater collaboration between device makers and their packaging technology partners is fast becoming a 'norm,' said packaging leader Amkor Technology (Nasdaq: AMKR).
In keeping with its 35-year history of enabling advances in semiconductor technology to reach the system level, Amkor Technology today unveiled the industry's most comprehensive packaging technology roadmap, featuring a broad spectrum of solutions that include advances in chip scale packaging, high performance packaging and system in package (SiP) technologies.
The idea that packaging technology has become a key enabler to advanced microelectronic products is evident in the way device manufacturers are incorporating packaging designs early on in the device development cycle. According to Bruce Freyman, Amkor's executive vice president of operations, "In order to support the ongoing evolution that is occurring in wafer fabrication processes, packaging and test technology must keep pace, and that requires investment and know-how. Having access to advanced packaging technology allows IC designers to balance the rapid innovation occurring in the front end and therefore get their products to market quicker. From a packaging perspective, our new roadmap reflects Amkor's core expertise and ability to support virtually every type of advanced IC application."
Amkor is working with customers and systems manufacturers worldwide to develop, qualify and verify packaging solutions early in the new product development process. The outcome, it says, is a set of solutions that help provide the optimum package design for current and future generations of integrated circuits. Amkor's collaboration with leading foundry TSMC on 130 nm and 90 nm low-k processes is an example of these cooperative efforts.
Amkor says that its new roadmap also reflects an increasingly complex packaging environment for ICs used in high growth applications such as broadband, home networking, digital imaging and gaming, where size, functionality and cost are critical factors that drive adoption rates.
In unveiling its new roadmap, Amkor cited flip chip packaging, stacked packaging, System in Package, CMOS image sensors, MicroLeadFrame(TM) packages and MEMS as growth areas supported by a significant investment in package development in recent years. These package technologies are being rapidly adopted in a broad range of microelectronic applications, including cell phones, digital cameras, gaming, automotive, entertainment and handhelds systems.
Innovations in Stacked Packaging
With cell phones migrating from voice-centric to data-centric applications, and other hand held products poised to deliver enhanced performance and functionality, greater levels of silicon integration are needed to accommodate the increased processing and storage requirements while conserving system board real estate. Stacked packaging helps designers achieve this integration by vertically combining different silicon technologies, such as logic and memory, or by vertically stacking memory die to increase density. In addition, advances in wafer thinning technology have enabled the development of extra thin packages that can be stacked. As a leader in stacked package technology, Amkor has seen strengthening demand for its 3D package solutions. This demand is expected to continue as handheld microelectronic applications continue to proliferate, and as 2.5G and 3G protocols are more widely adopted in cell phones.
Flip Chip Shows Rapid Growth
Amkor's roadmap illustrates current and future advances in flip chip packages, which provide superior electrical connectivity, increased speed and require lower voltage than wire bond packages. Amkor has seen strong demand for flip chip solutions for power management, PLD and ASIC applications, and the company expects to see a migration from wire bond to flip chip packaging by graphics and chipset suppliers. Worldwide flip chip demand grew considerably from 2000 to 2002 and is expect to surge over the next several years as substrate costs are reduced. Amkor's flip chip unit shipments have risen nearly ten-fold since 2000, and the company expects continued strong growth.
#1 Status Reached In MicroLeadFrame(TM)
One of Amkor's most successful products has been its MicroLeadFrame(TM) family of QFN packages, as units have increased dramatically in the past few years fueled by strong demand for RF and wireless applications. "We have seen tremendous adoption of MLF in a fairly short time period, with over 60 customers already forecasting more than 200 MLF designs," commented Freyman. "Thanks to its ease of use, low cost, small footprint and excellent thermal and electrical properties, MLF has become a crucial package for cellular and WLAN (wireless local area networks) applications. We expect that these same characteristics will stimulate adoption of MLF for a broad range of standard analog, linear and logic devices. Amkor's MLF is the clear market leader in QFN packages, and we expect to be producing at a one billion unit annual run rate by the end of 2003."
Broadest Set of Packaging Options in the Industry
The new roadmap reflects the company's ongoing goal to provide the broadest suite of IC packaging solutions to its customers. "We've long been recognized as an enabler and innovator in the packaging arena. The fact that we are qualified with virtually every major IC supplier in the industry is a testament to the ability of our engineering and design talent to maintain the highest levels of innovation and technology leadership for so long," noted Freyman. "Optimizing device performance and providing the most value for our customers remain our most important goals. Our technology roadmap reflects Amkor's commitment to provide our customers with industry leading capabilities."
Prepared for Growth
In addition to the launch of its packaging roadmap, the company also stated that it continues to expand capacity to support high-growth applications. "Despite a sluggish economy during the past couple of years, we've maintained a high level of investment in product development efforts and have increased production capacity for stacked packages, system in package, flip chip and MicroLeadFrame(TM). Also noteworthy is the fact that we are supporting this expected growth in advanced packaging with additional test assets as demand for turnkey services continues to increase," Freyman concluded.
Amkor Technology, Inc. is the world's largest provider of contract semiconductor assembly and test services. The company offers semiconductor companies and electronics OEMs a complete set of microelectronic design and manufacturing services. More information on Amkor is available from the company's SEC filings and on Amkor's web site: www.amkor.com.
For further information, please contact: Jeffrey Luth of Amkor Technology, Inc., +1-480-821-2408 ext. 5130, email@example.com; or Martijn Pierik of Positio PR, +1-602-485-0962, firstname.lastname@example.org, for Amkor Technology, Inc.