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High yield embedding of 30um thin chips in a flexible PCB using a photopatternable polyimide based Ultra-Thin Chip Package (UTCP).
Keywords: UTCP, ultra thin chips, embedded components
Thinning down ICs is a well-known approach to reduce the volume of chip packages. In this work ICs are thinned down to 30um, followed by a package procedure in polyimide with copper fan out, which allows their embedding in adhesives used for laminating flexible printed circuit boards (PCBs). In this way the chip does not consume PCB area, hence other circuit components can be assembled on top or at the bottom of the chip, enabling extreme circuit miniaturization. Furthermore, our ultra-thin chip package (UTCP) is highly flexible, enabling flexible electronic circuits without large rigid chip packages. Spin-on photo-definable polyimide precursors are used to build an interposer which can be embedded later in the flexible PCB. The chip is fixed in between three polyimide layers using BCB as adhesive. The central polyimide layer forms a cavity for the chip, the top layer of polyimide is exposed and developed to fabricate vias contacting the chip. An 8um thick copper layer is deposited and patterned using lithography and etching to form the fan-out, essential to match the fine IC pitch to the larger PCB pitch. The final chip package is about 75um thick, and is easily embedded using only small adaptations of the standard flexible PCB fabrication process. Last year, both the UTCP concept and the embedding in a flexible PCB were optimized in order to obtain a very high yield. Three types of chips were UTCP-packaged and embedded in a flexible PCB: two types of microcontrollers (MSP430F1611 and a proprietary digital signal processor) and an RF-chip. The yield of the tested UTCPs ranges in between 65% (proprietary IC) and 85% (MSP430F1611). The performance of the RF-chips can only be tested after embedding in a flexible substrate. Although the testing is still ongoing, 95% of the embedded UTCPs are fully functional after embedding.
Tom Sterken, Senior Scientist
Gent-Zwijnaarde, East Flanders

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