MUNICH, Germany Back-end semiconductor tool vendor Suss Microtec (Garching, Germany) joins the Taiwan-based 3D chip integration equipment consortium Adstac. The company expects that the move secures a "strategic edge" in a booming future market.
Suss hopes to participate in the production value chain for a market it believes will offer strong growth in the future: A study from French market researcher Yole Developpement predicts a 60 percent CAGR market growth (units) for 3D-integrated semiconductors during the time frame between 2008 and 2012. By that year, production volume is expected to be close to one billion units. According to Yole, MEMS, stacked memory devices and CMOS image sensors will make up for the largest part of 3D chips; also LEDs are going to jump onto the 3D train.
Taiwan is home to many semiconductor manufacturers betting on 3D integration. Suss will join a research program of the Taiwan-based Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Within the scope of its research, the institute has set up Adstac (Advanced Stacked-System Technology and Application Consortium), a multinational consortium dedicated to set up a demo production line for 3D chip manufacturing on 300mm wafers. "We want to join the research activities. This gives us a strategic position when commercial production will take off," the Suss spokesperson said.
However, within the industry different perceptions exist as to when commercial production of 3D stacked devices will eventually take off. While market research does not offer unequivocal answer to the question, the ITPI demo line will start to produce in 2010. Suss believes that there in that year be sporadic commercial product launches for 3D devices will be seen.
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