HIGH TECHNOLOGY FIRMS IBM and 3M are collaborating on work to build adhesives for sticking semiconductors together into silicon towers.
The firms expect that by perfecting the adhesive they will be able to build a commercial semiconductor made up of around 100 layers, with each layer being an individual chip.
"Today's chips, including those containing '3D' transistors, are in fact 2D chips that are still very flat structures," said Bernard Meyerson, VP of research at IBM as he announced the collaboration.
"Our scientists are aiming to develop materials that will allow us to package tremendous amounts of computing power into a new form factor - a silicon 'skyscraper.' We believe we can advance the state-of-art in packaging, and create a new class of semiconductors that offer more speed and capabilities while they keep power usage low - key requirements for many manufacturers, especially for makers of tablets and smartphones."
Wafers are the key, specifically, bonding them, and the firms said that their adhesives, which will let information travel between chips and take heat away from key areas, could be as much as 1,000 times faster than current 3D packaging methods.
"Capitalising on our joint know-how and industry experience, 3M looks forward to working alongside IBM - a leader in developing pioneering packaging for next-generation semiconductors," said Herve Gindre, division vice president at 3M Electronics Markets Materials Division.
Separately but not unrelated, Invensas said this week that it would demonstrate the dual-face down (DFD) use of its multi-die face-down (Xfd) packaging technology at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) next month.
Xfd is a multi-tie wirebond packaging system that, in case you had not guessed, mounts circuits upside down, staggering them in what the firm called a shingle-like configuration. Invensas reckons that this decreases component size, saves around a third in height, improves electrical performance by up to 70 per cent and improves heat transfer by around 25 per cent.
Invensas added that its Xfd technology costs less to manufacture than other multi-die DRAM packages, not least because it users less gold and other materials.
"We developed the Xfd technology platform in response to continued industry demand for denser, faster and cheaper DRAM solutions for servers and mobile devices," said Simon McElrea, president of Invensas Corporation.
"Xfd provides single-die package performance in a multi-die configuration as well as delivering significant thickness and thermal advantages. Unlike more complex alternatives, Xfd is manufactured using existing industry manufacturing capacity, significantly reducing the cost, time and risk of high-volume adoption." µ