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Can Current EDA Packaging Tools Meet the Demands of Ever-Changing 3D Packaging Technologies?
Keywords: 3d, design, layout
There is an ever-increasing demand for improved EDA tools to meet technology needs. Because the demand is more vocal on front-end tools, back-end packaging tools are rarely mentioned. However, for packaging technology to keep pace with front-end technologies, newer, denser 3D packaging capabilities must be created and rapidly expanded. With the high cost of real estate and ever-reduced footprints, 3D stacking technologies must be incorporated, and new interconnect technologies between these multiple die and packages must be developed. However, the back-end EDA industry has lagged far behind these new technologies. Instead of furthering and fostering new development of new packaging technologies that are highly manufacturable, current back-end packaging tools focus on supporting existing packaging technologies, thereby limiting what the designer can do without resorting to major manual work-arounds, or manual design from scratch. In addition, whole systems and the interaction between modules are generally overlooked by current tools, further limiting the creation and expansion of new inter-related packaging technologies. Although each packaging type has unique requirements, most new packaging technologies are 3D, meaning they are a stack of dies, substrates and MCMs, with various forms of interconnect. This includes ball or micro-pillar-stacked substrate MCMs, stacked dies and stacked die MCMs within stacked substrates, stacked dies on high-speed lead frame, stacked MCMs with side routing, LTCC with multi-level cavities and imbedded passives, LTCC on high-speed lead frame, and fully imbedded actives in laminate packages This paper reviews numerous possible future 3D packaging technologies with respect to the limitations of current EDA tools, and the future capabilities that are needed in layout tools to enable new packaging technology development that keeps pace with advances in front-end development. A case is presented for packaging software to lead rather than trail manufacturing technology.
Gordon Jensen, Vice President
CAD Design Software
San Jose, CA
USA


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