According to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), the worldwide semiconductor market is expected to increase 3.3 percent in 2020, accelerating to 6.2 percent in 2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which is putting a dent in growth rates, the semiconductor market is expected to grow. For semiconductors, China has been the largest market globally since 2005. Annually, the country consumes more than 50 percent of all semiconductors, both for internal use and eventual export. The growing demand for electronic devices is stimulating global demand of semiconductors. This is even further fueled by current digital trends, such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and corresponding 5G technologies as well as Big Data.
Heraeus’ portfolio caters to these three trends addressing next generation challenges for new end market applications:
#1: Artificial Intelligence
There are multiple approaches being developed to improve the accuracy and speed of AI implementation. The goal is less latency, higher bandwidth and faster performance. One solution to achieve this is the use of 3D integrated circuits (3D-IC).
3D-IC enable more functional components to fit onto a smaller area of the component carrier. This enables new generations of small but powerful devices. The additional dimension enables a higher level of connectivity of the components and thus enables new possibilities in construction or design. The use of 3D-IC increases functionality but also complexity of modules. To meet this challenge, new advanced packaging solutions are required.
With heterogenous integration where components and flip-chips getting more densely packed, solder pastes with very fine powders are needed and chemistry compatibility between solder materials becomes crucial. Heraeus Electronics’ Welco Solder Paste offers superior fine pitch printing performance due to its excellent rheological properties. The superior quality and sphericity of Welco powders enable fine pitch applications down to 70 µm pad openings without splashing or solder loss issues.
Furthermore, cost efficiency is key for manufacturers to gain a competitive edge. To ensure high performance, memory devices in the semiconductor industry currently rely heavily on gold for wire bonding and the only alternative silver alloy wire requires inert gas and has short floor life. Heraeus Electronics’ product AgCoat Prime – a gold coated silver wire – offers a real alternative to gold wire for the memory device packaging in AI technologies and 3D-ICs. It enables no-inert gas free air ball forming and allows the re-use of existing ball bonders without any CAPEX investment.
#2: Internet of Things
The IoT enables everyday objects to communicate creating smart homes and factories, autonomous cars and intelligent medical devices. This digitalization of the physical world depends on flawless connectivity, which can be ensured by the 5G mobile standard and corresponding technologies.
However, higher performances of 5G technology is only possible by increased frequencies. This can cause interference between individual components within the devices. In addition, electromagnetically active devices must not affect the safety of other systems in their environment.
Heraeus Printed Electronics has developed a one-stop-shop solution based on a specially formulated, particle-free silver ink, an ink-jet printer and curing equipment. This technology offers significant cost savings and highest material efficiency in comparison to traditional shielding technologies, like metal housings or sputtering.
#3: Big Data
For IoT applications to work, connection chips and other RF devices will be needed to transmit the data to collection points. In turn, data accumulated from the connected devices will be then subject to processing and analyzing, which will generate the need for greater computing and storage capacity. Due to the growing flood of data, the IP data traffic from data centers will expand giving them a key role in the future of IoT.
Heraeus Conamic offers quartz materials for the manufacturing process of Solide-State-Drives (SSDs) and Dynamic Random-Access-Memory (DRAM), which are used large numbers in data centers. The node sizes for these applications are constantly shrinking, increasing the quality requirements (especially purity) towards the used materials inside the process chambers. That is why Hereaus Conamic materials are the preferred materials in these critical processes. The material is used for process chambers itself, chamber liners, or other consumables in close proximity to the wafer itself.
With HSQ 300/330 , Heraeus Conamic offers electrically fused quartz material with high viscosity and low OH-content, ideally suitable for batch furnace applications; with TSC3/4 Heraeus Conamic offers flame fused quartz material with the lowest in class bubble count, ideally suitable for single wafer etch applications.
Material with enhanced homogeneity making it ideal for super high purity semiconductor materials.