Samsung has developed a new chip packaging technology that could significantly improve the speed and power-efficiency of semiconductor chips. The new Interposer-Cube4 (I-Cube4) technology is the successor to the company’s I-Cube2 technology from 2018 and a follow-up to its X-Cube technology announced in August 2020.
Samsung’s I-Cube is a 2.5D heterogeneous integration technology that connects a logic die (CPU, GPU, etc.) and high bandwidth memory (HBM) dies with an interposer. It horizontally places one or more logic dies and several HBM dies on top of a silicon interposer. This allows multiple dies to operate as a single chip in one package. As a result, this technology provides higher density/ bandwidth on minimum size, improving power/signal integrity.
The latest I-Cube4 solution incorporates four HBM dies and one logic die. Samsung developed this technology in March of this year. The company says the new chip packaging technology will enable faster communication and power efficiency between logic and memory of semiconductor chips for everything. From high-performance computing (HPC) to AI, 5G, cloud, and large data center applications, Samsung sees the potential application of the I-Cube4 solution everywhere.
“With the explosion of high-performance applications, it is essential to provide a total foundry solution with heterogeneous integration technology to improve the overall performance and power efficiency of chips,” said Moonsoo Kang, senior vice president of Foundry Market Strategy, Samsung Electronics. “With the commercial breakthroughs of I-Cube4, Samsung will wholly support customers’ product implementations.”
Samsung develops I-Cube4 packaging technology for next-gen semiconductor chips
According to Samsung, the silicon interposer used in its I-Cube technology is thinner than paper (around 100㎛ thick). This increases the chances of bending or warping, which affects the product quality. To ensure that the product quality isn’t affected, the company carefully studied how to control interposer warpage and thermal expansion. It used its strong expertise and knowledge of semiconductors and made changes to material and thickness to mitigate that problem.
Samsung has also developed its own mold-free structure to dissipate heat for the I-Cube4 solution. Moreover, it conducted a pre-screening test to filter out defective products during the fabrication process to enhance yield. The company says this reduces the number of steps in the process, resulting in shorter production times and cost savings.
Following the commercialization of the I-Cube4 solution, Samsung is now working on a more advanced I-Cube6 solution. It uses advanced process nodes, high-speed interface IPs, and advanced 2.5 and 3D packaging technologies. This will enable customers to “design their products in the most effective way.”