VLSI Research Inc.

Apple’s MacBook Air shocked the world with its thinness. What made this possible was packaging technology developed by Intel. I talk with Nasser Grayeli, Vice President, Technology and Manufacturing Group, and Director, Assembly Technology Development at Intel about this and how packaging becomes an enabling technology below 90nm. At the same time, it can break a chip maker as they break through the nanochip barrier. At this level, the relationship between the package and the silicon becomes critical. Without an integrated packaging solution the chip will likely not be able to meet its performance potential or be cost effective. Material interactions with new technologies such as strained silicon, copper, and low-k dielectrics become critical issues to engineer around. Nasser also discussed Intel’s efforts in MCP (Multi-Chip-Packages) and DCA (Direct Chip Attach) and the advantages they will bring to OEMs. Plus there is a special “Being Green” section that covers Intel’s environmental initiatives in Lead-Free Packages and eliminating Halogenated Flame Retardants in packages. Intel has passed Europe’s stringent RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances — pronounced "Rohas") and is now lead-free. The engineering challenges of doing this are discussed.

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