New products, new materials and new approaches in the high-frequency electromagnetic spectrum seemed to be the common theme at the Feb 7-9 IMAPS RF and Microwave Packaging workshop. Held in San Diego, the IMAPS workshop hosted about 90 attendees and dozens of exhibitors.
The mood was energetic and optimistic as there seems to be no end to the growth in the RF and microwave packaging space. There was equal discussion and emphasis between general RF and specific microwave packages. Wireless is constantly evolving as the world's appetite for mobile bandwidth continually increases. The microwave market is complex and growing as well.
Both RF and microwave applications require great attention to detail when packaging. The higher the frequency at which a package operates, the more critical the die and wire placement becomes. But even the considerably lower 3-5 GHz power amplifier yields better when the package starts out with very accurately placed die. Near-void-free interfaces are a requirement, and component placement impacts the wire looping. Even small differences in wire length and loop shape have major impacts on parametric performance.
Complex wire looping required
in high-frequency power amplifiers
Advanced packaging techniques can compensate for some variance in component placement, but the best solution is ultra high-accuracy placement which avoids the need for compensation. For example, in millimeter wave packages, the wires themselves are a challenge. Circuits are designed with this in mind, but a circuit on paper is very different than a circuit in a package. The length of the wire interconnecting the RF path has a specific reactive inductance. If components are misplaced, the wire length can change. This induces a measurable change in reactive inductance. We can compensate for this problem by evoking software algorithms that do their best to keep the wire length constant by varying the overall loop shape and height. While this helps, it can also introduce other changes in the circuit - one being capacitance (the ability of a capacitor to store energy in an electric field). The best parametric performance is generated when components are placed exactly where they are designed to be placed.
Complex wire bonding
for high-frequency devices
The key to hi-rel RF and microwave applications is finding solutions for the entire frequency spectrum, such as ultra high-accuracy component placement with 3-micron, 3-sigma repeatability and highly repeatable and constant wire length wire bonding algorithms. Ball bumps and chain-bonded (Stitch-Stitch) interconnects can be combined to provide high-reliability RF and microwave packaging. Two systems together offer a complete solution to RF and microwave packaging challenges.
Learn More at IMAPS Device Packaging
Palomar Technologies will be exhibiting at the IMAPS 8th International Conference and Exhibition on Device Packaging in Scottsdale, AZ on March 6-7, 2012. We look forward to on-site discussions about your current or future packaging challenges.
Western Regional Sales Manager