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Periodic Report Summary 2 - FAB2ASM (Efficient and Precise 3D Integration of Heterogeneous Microsystems from Fabrication to Assembly)

Project Context and Objectives:
Micro- and nano system integration is a rapidly developing field where multiple materials, technologies, and functional components form highly integrated micro- and nanosystems for cross-sectorial applications such as medical implantable devices, intelligent sensors, flash memory, computer memory, camera chips, and radio frequency devices in mobile phones. Recently, 3D integration by stacking components vertically became a very promising approach. In many integration tasks, simultaneously high-throughput and high-precision are very important, and it can often became the bottleneck that limits the potential of an otherwise very promising technology. The state-of-the-art technology for microsystem integration relies on robotic pick-and-place machines and machine vision, which cannot be simultaneously very fast and very accurate. If high precision e.g. a micrometer is needed, the cycle time of the integration can be very long, from e.g. many seconds to minutes, or even not achievable.
The FAB2ASM project aims to develop a new manufacturing technology for 3D integration of microelectronics and microsystems which is simultaneously very fast and very accurate – which currently is the bottle neck limiting industry take-up. The FAB2ASM project overcomes this conflict by joining the traditional robotic tools with the physics of self-alignment – where tiny chips will align due to surface tension of liquid or other physical forces acting at the microscale.

Project Results:
FAB2ASM uses a novel hybrid microassembly technology to attack the problem of simultaneous high-throughput and high-precision. Hybrid microassembly is a novel technology that joins traditional robotic pick-and-place and self-assembly of microsystems. Using existing high-speed robotic tools, a throughput of tens of thousands unit per hour can be achieved for the fast but coarse feeding of dies to the targets of assembly. Using capillary self-alignment – where surface tension of the liquid aligns small components such as microchips, we can achieve micron accuracy positioning simultaneously with the high speed feeding. Combined with appropriately designed interfaces, permanent fixing and electric connections can be successfully implemented.
In the FAB2ASM project, we developed technologies that covers the whole process chain of hybrid microassembly for microsystem integration, from interface design, capillary self-alignment, bonding techniques, and integration of industrial robots and hybrid microassembly technology. Many novel technologies have been developed, varying from laser ablated micro trenches for self-alignment, assembly of ultra-thin (5µm and 10µm) dies, water mist induced parallel hybrid microassembly, high-throughput handling of small dies (100µm and 200µm) at tens of thousands unit per hour, laser TSV drilling and filling, nanostructured multi-layer bonding materials, etc. High accuracy (submicron) assembly results has been demonstrated using hybrid microassembly. The project completed with three final demonstrators, including a high-speed hybrid microassembly demonstrator that can achieve over 40,000 unit per hour for small die assembly, integration of surface emitting lasers, and 3D integration of thin dies on wafers.

Potential Impact:
The results of the FAB2ASM provide the European semiconductor industry a new tool in integration technologies such as chip-to-chip, chip-to-wafer, interposer and fan-out for BGA. It reinforces the competitiveness of European nano- and μ-manufacturing with a technology that pushes beyond the efficiency-precision chart of the state-of-the-art integration technology. Moreover, the technology developed by FAB2ASM can be adapted into flip-chip/die bonding equipment and upgrade the existing factory to a new level of performance and cost effectiveness. In contrast to many other technologies, the FAB2ASM technologies can preserve the current investment of industry and reuse a great amount of technology know-hows that is the advantages of European industry.
The project is led by Aalto University, together with three industry partners: NXP semiconductors, Beam-Express, 3D PLUS, other two academic partners: University of French Comte, University of Twente, two research centers: IMEC, EMPA, and ALMA consulting.

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