7/25/2006 Orlando, FL -- Freescale Semiconductor, the company that developed and introduced the ball grid array (BGA) packaging technology, unveiled yet another approach that could replace BGA and flip chip packaging for advanced, highly integrated semiconductors.
"The word 'revolutionary' is often overused, but RCP is a truly revolutionary technology," said Morry Marshall, vice president of Strategic Technologies, Semico Research Corp. "RCP will solve several packaging problems that have become ever more severe as ICs have increased in complexity. It is the semiconductor packaging technology of the future."
The technology is adaptable for 3G mobile phones and a range of consumer, industrial, transportation and networking devices that can benefit from the consolidation of electronic components into a single, miniaturized system.
RCP's exceptional flexibility makes it a universal package technology that is applicable across a number of applications and materials. It is compatible with advanced assembly technologies such as System in Package (SiP), Package on Package (PoP), and integrated cavity packages.
Using RCP and PoP technology, Freescale has fabricated a radio-in-package that measures less than 25 x 25 millimeters. The radio-in-package contains all of the electronics required for a 3G mobile phone including memory, power management, baseband, transceiver and RF front end modules.
Freescale maintains an extensive portfolio of intellectual property specific to RCP technology. The company expects products utilizing RCP technology will be available by 2008. Freescale intends to initially use RCP in its highly integrated wireless product families.
A Ball Grid Array is a type of surface- mount packaging used for integrated circuits. The BGA is descended from the Pin Grid Array (PGA), which is a package with one face covered (or partly covered) with pins in a grid pattern. These pins are used to conduct electrical signals from the integrated circuit to the printed circuit board (PCB) it is placed on. In a BGA, the pins are replaced by balls of solder stuck to the bottom of the package. The device is placed on a PCB that carries copper pads in
a pattern that matches the solder balls. The assembly is then heated, either in a reflow oven or by an infrared heater, causing the solder balls to melt. Surface tension causes the molten solder to hold the package in alignment with the circuit board, at the correct separation distance, while the solder cools and solidifies. The composition of the solder alloy and the soldering temperature are
The BGA is a solution to the problem of producing a miniature package for an integrated circuit with many hundreds of pins. Pin grid arrays and dual-in-line surface mount (SOIC) packages were being produced with more and more pins, and with decreasing spacing between the pins, but this was causing difficulties for the soldering process. BGAs do not have this problem, because the solder is factory-applied to the package in exactly the right amount.
A further advantage of BGA packages over leaded packages (i.e. packages with legs) is the lower thermal resistance between the package and the PCB. This allows heat generated by the integrated circuit inside the package to flow more easily to the PCB, preventing the chip from overheating. Shorter an electrical conductor, the lower its inductance, a property which causes unwanted distortion of signals in high-speed electronic circuits. BGAs, with their very short distance between the package and the PCB, have low inductances and therefore have far superior electrical performance to leaded devices.
A disadvantage of BGAs, however, is that the solder balls cannot flex in the way that longer leads can, so that bending and thermal expansion of the PCB is transmitted directly to the package. This can cause the solder joints to fracture under high thermal or mechanical stress. BGAs are therefore unpopular in certain fields, such as aerospace and military electronics. This problem can be overcome, at a cost, by matching the mechanical and thermal characteristics of the PCB to those of
Another disadvantage of BGAs is that, once the package is soldered down, it is very difficult to look for soldering faults. X-ray machines and special microscopes have been developed to overcome this problem, but are expensive. If a BGA is found to be badly soldered, it can be removed in arework
lamp, a thermocouple and a vacuum device for lifting the package. The BGA can be replaced with a new one, or can be refurbished orreballed. Packets of tiny ready- made solder balls are sold for this purpose.
RCP eliminates the wire bonds and flip chip bumps, which makes RCP a revolutionary proprietary technology that could replace BGA and Flip Chip as a preferred packaging technology for highly miniaturized devices.
RCP does more work in less space. RCP is an interconnect buildup technology in which
the package is a functional part of the die. The technology addresses the limitations
associated with previous generations of packaging technologies by eliminating wire
bonds, package substrates and flip chip bumps. In addition, RCP does not utilize blind
vias or require thinned die to achieve thin profiles. These advancements simplify
assembly, lower costs, and provide compatibility with advanced wafer manufacturing
processes utilizing low-k interlayer dielectrics.
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