PALM BAY, Fla. -- Intersil Corp. here today announced that it is incorporating Amkor Technology Inc.'s MicroLeadFrame package in order to reduce the size and cost of its Prism II wide-area LAN (WLAN) chip set for wireless applications.
Amkor said this near-chip-scale package will make the Prism chips more attractive for high-speed, low-cost and smaller-sized networking devices.
Utilizing flush leads, Amkor's ultra-thin, small-footprint MLF packaging has a 50% smaller footprint and roughly half the parasitic lead inductance of conventional 4.4-mm thin small shrink outline packages (TSSOP). Reduced electrical parasitics is particularly critical in high-frequency RF applications. Intersil said it expects that MLF packaging can be effectively utilized in WLAN chip sets targeting applications as high as 8 GHz.
"This effort is driven by the market's need for the smallest-size, lowest-cost WLAN form factors and easiest-to-build solutions for cutting-edge wireless products," said Larry Ciaccia, vice president and general manager of Prism wireless products at Intersil. The Palm Bay company, formerly Harris Semiconductors, is banking on further acceptance of its WLAN products to lead the firm as it heads for an initial public offering (see Jan. 25 story ).
Intersil has "a very aggressive chip-set integration roadmap resulting in continuous performance improvements and higher levels of integration," added Ciaccia, "and advanced packaging solutions are a key component to this process."
"The package is the interface between the chip and the system board, and to make a product such as Prism II successful, it must be engineered so that it does not compromise the performance of the IC, while at the same time provide a rugged, reliable, and cost-effective interconnect," said Terry Davis, Amkor's MLF product manager in West Chester, Pa.
"The combination of excellent RF performance and low cost in the Micro LeadFrame packaging complements Intersil's advanced silicon germanium SiGe process technology," he added.
Initial designs with Amkor's MLF technology have resulted in a 75% footprint reduction (16 mm. SQ vs. 62 mm. SQ) in the Prism HFA3983 power amplifier. MLF designs are also in progress for the RF and IF functions of the chip set's RF frontend. Intersil's baseband processor and medium access controller (MAC) product families will incorporate ball grid array (BGA) packaging, which also significantly reduces the footprint size and opens the door for small-form- factor WLAN modules.
Besides a substantially smaller footprint, MLF packaging also significantly reduces package profile height, enabling WLAN products to be incorporated into new thin-profile modules.
Thinner-profile packages are particularly useful in the design of wireless PCMCIA cards. Today's cards require chips to be built into both sides of the board. According to Amkor, MLF packages will enable one-sided PCMCIA PWB surface-mount assemblies, thereby reducing OEMs' manufacturing costs.