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The Value of Semiconductor Packaging Technology in the Era of Heterogeneous Integration

As demand for high-performance semiconductors increases, the semiconductor market is paying more attention to the importance of the “packaging process”. In line with this trend, SK hynix is mass-producing advanced packaging products based on HBM3 (High Bandwidth Memory 3) while focusing on investing in production lines and securing resources for the development of future packaging technologies. Some businesses that have previously focused on technology for semiconductor memory manufacturing are investing more in packaging technology than OSAT1 companies that specialize in such technology. This trend is driven by the belief that packaging technology will strengthen the competitiveness of the semiconductor industry and the companies within it.

1OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test): A company that specializes in semiconductor packaging and testing.

This article will provide an accessible overview of packaging technology, which has been considered a difficult topic for the general public to approach due to its complexity. The meaning, role, and evolution of packaging technology will be examined, followed by a look into the development of SK hynix’s packaging technology that has led to the current focus on heterogeneous integration. Finally, the direction of the company’s future technological developments will be introduced.

The Meaning and Role of Packaging Technology

First, let’s look at the four main functions of the packaging process. The first and most basic purpose is to protect the semiconductor chip from external shock or damage. The second is to transmit external power to the chip for its operation, and the third is to provide wiring for the chip to perform the input and output of electrical signals during operation. The last role is to properly distribute the heat generated by the chip to ensure stable operation. Recently, the function of heat dissipation, or heat distribution, has become increasingly important.

The role of packaging can be seen in Figure 1. For example, there is a significant gap between the scale required by the system and the scale provided by CMOS2, but they can be connected through packaging technology. Similarly, there is a gap between the density required by the system and the density that CMOS can provide. This issue can be resolved through the packaging process as it helps increase the density of the CMOS. In other words, packaging technology acts as a bridge between semiconductor devices and systems. The importance of this connection method, therefore, increases gradually.

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