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Advanced Wafer Level Packaging of RF-MEMS with RDL Inductor
Keywords: eWLB, RF MEMS tuner, RDL inductor embedded
The market for portable and mobile data access devices that are wirelessly connected to the cloud anytime and anywhere is exploding. The trend to access any network from anywhere is driving increased functional convergence in the radio, which translates into increased packaging complexity and sophistication. This is creating unprecedented demand for RF components providing higher input/output (I/O) density, higher bandwidths and low power consumption in smaller package sizes. There are exciting interconnect technologies in wafer level packaging such as wafer level chip scale packaging (WLCSP) or fan-out wafer level packaging (FO-WLP) solutions such as embedded Wafer Level Ball Grid Array (eWLB) to meet these needs. One of the most promising solutions to enable the required RF performance levels in mobile and wearable devices is the use RF MEMS Tuners. Mobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are rapidly adopting antenna tuning solutions to be able to provide the required signal strength across the large number of LTE spectrum bands used globally. With RF MEMS technology now maturing, the biggest challenge to address the fast growing opportunity was to find a suitable packing technology that can deliver RF MEMS tuners in the smallest possible form factor, while maintaining the excellent performance characteristics of the RF MEMS technology. After careful analysis, an eWLB/FO-WLP package was adopted and released to volume production in 2015. The commercial eWLB/FO-WLP RF MEMS tuners outperform traditional RF silicon-on-insulator (SOI) switch-based antenna tuning solutions, resulting in much higher data rates (up to 2x) and improved battery life (up to 40%). Redistribution layers (RDL) in eWLB are utilized for higher electrical performance and complex routing to meet electrical requirements. The ability to utilize embedded passives in a multi-layer eWLB structure provides a number of advantages including cost reduction, footprint reduction and increased reliability. Inductors in eWLB offer significantly better performance compared to inductors in standard on-chip technologies. In this paper, we examine the WLCSP and eWLB packaging assembly flow, solutions to RF design challenges as well as characterization of RF performance. Further improvement of the quality factor of the integrated inductor and capacitors by using low-loss thin-film dielectrics and molding compound in eWLB will be reported as well. Package level reliability test results will also be presented in this paper. .
Seung Wook Yoon, Director
Statschippac LTD
Singapore, Singapore

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