A team consisting of Elpida Memory, Powertech Technology and United Microelectronics Corporation are working together to bring a big jump in storage density into integrated circuits.  This brings together a DRAM designer, an IC assembler and a logic company which does build confidence in the success of the project.  The technology used to unite the layers of storage/logic will be called Through Silicon Via (TSV) and apparently there now exists an 8Gb DRAM chip so the theory behind this has been put into practice.  We have been waiting a long time for stacked chips and hopefully this heralds their arrival in the near future.  Read more over at DigiTimes.
“United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) expects to start sampling integrated 3D IC solutions using 28nm process technology in mid-2011, with volume production slated for 2012, according to company CEO Shih-Wei Sun. The foundry on June 21 announced plans to jointly develop 3D devices using through silicon via (TSV) technology with Elpida Memory and Powertech Technology (PTI).

The 3-way cooperation is aimed at leveraging the strengths of Elpida’s DRAM, PTI’s assembly and UMC’s foundry logic technologies to develop 3D IC solutions that integrate logic and DRAM, according to their joint announcement.

Customers have demanded 3D-IC TSV solutions for their next-generation CMOS image sensors, MEMS chips, power amplifiers and other devices, Sun said. Integration of logic and DRAM technologies using TSV technology could deliver the performance required for the ongoing trend in the convergence of information technology and consumer electronics products, Sun added.

Sun noted UMC’s collaboration with Elpida and PTI would facilitate the development of a total solution that includes logic/DRAM interface design, TSV formation, wafer thinning, testing and chip stacking assembly for customers.

According to Elpida, it has developed an eight-gigabit (8Gb) DRAM based on TSV – the technology that enables a large number of I/O connections between logic and DRAM devices. This can significantly increase the data transfer rate and reduce power consumption, making possible completely new kinds of high-performance devices, Elpida claimed.

PTI chairman DK Tsai indicated the company has discussed with Elpida production for TSV solutions for two years. They had been only focusing on memory devices, before approaching any logic foundry partner, Tsai said.

PTI has already provided advanced memory backend services by using wafers as thin as 50- micron and superb die attach technology which enables eight dies to be stacked in one package in commercial base for smartphone applications, according to Takao Iwata, senior VP and R&D CTO of PTI. The company has now been developing a stacked package with 16 or more dies to maintain a low package profile, said Iwata.

In other news, industry sources have revealed UMC’s joint development deal with Elpida and PTI contains an exclusion clause, which is allows closer ties to develop among the parties. The sources speculate that the alliance may be eyeing future cross-shareholding possibilities.”

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