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Glass Solutions for Packaging and RF MEMs
Keywords: glass, through glass via, packaging
New initiatives in semiconductor packaging have created needs for new materials solutions. There has been substantial effort to extend interposer technology for 3D-IC stacking. Multiple solutions are being developed to address some of these needs including traditional interposers utilizing various commonly used materials as well as Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging (FO-WLP), which has become a popular consideration in attempt to achieve lower cost.[1] Furthermore, the proliferation of mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), leads to increasingly difficult requirements in RF communications. These include such requirements as the introduction of more frequency bands, smaller/thinner package size and need to conserve power to increase battery life as new functionality is introduced. Glass has proven to be an excellent solution to these challenges. [2] Glass has many properties that support the initiatives described above. These include high resistivity and low electrical loss, low or adjustable dielectric constant, and adjustable coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). There has been much work in recent years as researchers demonstrate leveraging glass properties to achieve these objectives [3]-[6]. In order to leverage glass for many RF and interposer applications, it is often necessary to have precision vias for electrical interconnect and other functional purpose. The ability to put precision holes in glass and downstream metallization to create these vias continues to mature towards volume manufacture. Work in recent years has also demonstrated the reliability of these structures in glass [7]- [9]. Over the past several years at Corning Incorporated, there have been significant advances in the ability to provide high-quality vias in glass substrates of various formats. The process employed provides the opportunity to leverage both wafer and panel formats. The glass substrates with holes have been shown to give strength on par with bare glass, and filled vias have been shown to have excellent mechanical and electrical reliability after thermal cycle tests [9]-[11]. In addition to enhanced technical performance, packaging solutions must also be cost effective. Glass forming processes such as Corning’s fusion forming process, gives the ability to form high quality substrates in large formats (>> 1 m in size). The process can be scaled to deliver ultra-slim flexible glass to thicknesses down to ~100 µm. Providing large substrates in wafer or panel format at 100 µm thickness gives significant opportunities to reduce manufacturing costs. All of the items mentioned above are leading to increasing adoption of glass to solve packaging challenges, and particularly RF filter and switching applications. This includes demonstrating metallization of through glass vias and subsequent surface metallization, singulation, assembly and reliability testing. We will describe the advances over the past several years and highlight new applications for glass-based solutions. As the wireless industry continues address consumers’ need for more mobile data, one thing is clear: The 5G networks of the future will require more spectrum. Managing the explosion in frequency bands in an efficient and cost-effective manner will be a major challenge for the successful deployment of next-generation networks. While Moore’s law has continued to allow major advances in signal processing and integration on the digital side, the RF/analog front-end needs to keep pace in order to provide truly reconfigurable and reusable HW solutions in the future. One of the most promising technologies to enable low-cost, high performance, RF tuning and configurability has been the micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) switch. These tiny mechanical devices promise to eliminate most of the negative side-effects of solid-state devices (such as non-linearity, high RF losses above 3GHz, excessive power consumption). However, most previous efforts have struggled to achieve minimum reliability performance due to inferior materials and struggled to achieve the necessary cost structures due to process complexity and packaging limitations. We will present the latest advancements in integrating a metal-on-glass RF MEMS process with state-of-the-art through-glass-via (TGV) packaging to create an RF development platform that will address the performance, reliability, and cost requirements for next-generation RF front-end solutions. Other potential TGV advantages over competitive technologies in the RFFE will also be discussed.
Aric Shorey, Commercial Technology Manager
Corning Incorporated
Corning, NY

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