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IBM and 3M to Develop Adhesives to Build Stacks of Semiconductors
By Wong Chung Wee - on 8 Sep 2011, 10:54am

IBM and 3M to Develop Adhesives to Build Stacks of Semiconductors

IBM and 3M have announced their collaborative efforts to develop the first adhesives that can be used to package semiconductors into densely stacked silicon "towers". The companies’ work can potentially leapfrog today’s current attempts at stacking chips vertically – known as 3D packaging.

The glue, shown in blue above, connects up to 100 separate chips as it conducts heat away from the silicon package. Chips in a stacked configuration would allow for better system-on-a-chip (SoC) compatibility by combining processing, networking and memory subsystems on a single die.

IBM has outlined chip stacking in the past;however, the challenge has always been how to do so efficiently in order to keep temperatures down. As such, the company can currently only stack a few chips rather than the hundreds or thousands they eventually hope manufacture.

A partnership with 3M is the catalyst that IBM hopes to use to reach that goal. The adhesives they are jointly working on would coat the entire silicon between each layer. The "glue" would act as an insulating, conducting and adhesive agent. The result would allow IBM to efficiently stack chips while 3M would have a specialized adhesive that it could market to other companies.

Such stacking would allow for dramatically higher levels of integration for information technology and consumer electronics applications. Processors could be tightly packed with memory and networking, for example, into a "tower" of silicon that would create a computer chip 1,000 times faster than today's fastest microprocessor enabling more powerful smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming devices.

For the full press release from IBM, please follow this link.