Understanding the Relationship Between Semiconductors, SMT, and Microelectronics

PTI Blog

Browse by Tag

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Understanding the Relationship Between Semiconductors, SMT, and Microelectronics

  
  
  
  

Today’s mainstream electronics manufacturing consists mainly of semiconductor packages and surface mount technology processes. Together, the two make up the vast majority of readily acknowledged devices from cell phones to PCs, tablets, and laptops. Even smart high-end toasters leverage these two technologies. The resulting products also end up in automobiles, stereos, TVs, and remote controls. A lesser known technology, however, is working its way into both of these markets – microelectronics.

Below are some abbreviated definitions, meant to gain some common understanding before diving in further:

  • SMT (Surface Mount Technology) – examples include a motherboard in a PC, or an FR4 board with ICs, resistors, and capacitors reflow soldered making a completed electronic product. The number of products built with this technology is staggeringly large.
  • Semiconductor – consider lead frame packages with a single IC that is die-attached, wire-bonded, and over-molded. These packages are made by the millions, can be surface mounted, and soldered into through hole substrates/FR4 boards. The number of products built with the technology is staggeringly large.
  • Hybrid Microelectronics – multiple ICs/packages incorporated into a space-saving package. This can include SMT and semiconductor technologies and can be very complex—mixed technologies that allow for powerful and/or small final products. The number of products built with this technology is small compared to SMT and semiconductor packaging, but it is a growing market.

While SMT technology generally incorporates semiconductor products, semiconductor products do not typically include SMT components.

SMT, SEMICONDUCTOR

Microelectronics can incorporate both, and the result is smaller and usually faster final products. Through-hole technologies are becoming rare.

Microelectronics is a growing packaging method and is working its way into both of these mainstream markets – but in a different way. Both semiconductor and microelectronic packages can utilize the same (or similar) manufacturing techniques. Both can mount bare die with conductive or non-conductive epoxies, or eutectic solders. Both generally employ traditional wire ball bonding for the first level interconnects. These markets are distinct, but they do mix.

microelectronics, semiconductor

Just as SMT technologies incorporate semiconductor packages but rarely the other way around, microelectronics can incorporate both semiconductor and SMT technologies to create complex packages and products.

For example, an automated component placement system like Palomar Technologies' 3800 3800 Die BonderDie Bonder with VisionPilot™ can pick and place bare die, semiconductor packages like BGAs, and SMT resistors and capacitors. On the other hand, a semiconductor component placement system or a SMT chip shooter generally cannot place bare ICs properly in complex microelectronic packages. Nor can semiconductor wire bonders generally process microelectronic packages due to size, depth, and reliability concerns. Most of today’s first-level interconnects use wire bonders with large 8000i wire bonder, i2Giarea, deep access capabilities. They may not be as fast as the very small working envelope semiconductor wire bonders – but they can build a complex, high-reliability wire bond. Palomar’s solution is the new 8000i gold ball bonder with Intelligent Interactive Graphical Interface™ (i2Gi™).

microelectronics, smt, semiconductor

There is an interesting mix of relationships between these markets, with microelectronic packaging technologies fully capable of addressing all three markets – something the other two markets cannot suggest.

3800 Die Bonder 
Data Sheet
 

VisionPilot Data Sheet

 

8000i Wire Bonder
Data Sheet
 

 i2Gi Data Sheet

----
Bradley K. Benton
Western Regional Sales Manager
Palomar Technologies, Inc.
 

Comments

Hey Janine, 
You are sharing great information with us about semiconductor,wire bonder,SMT, Hybrid microelectronics etc. & their relationships. 
Thanks for giving this much understanding of it. 
Best  
Anup
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 4:18 AM by Anup Gupta
Hi Anup, 
Thanks so much for the kind words! However, all the credit for the great information goes to Bradley Benton for authoring such a great blog!
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 12:55 PM by Janine Hueners
By reading this great post, i easily understand the relationship between semiconductor,SMT and microelectronics. Surface mount technology is such a great technology in this day for electronics.
Posted @ Monday, April 21, 2014 2:59 AM by Stephine Lisa
Thank you for the kind words Stephine. SMT is a great technology, and it is in the processes of merging with Microelectronics. Two strong technologies combine to offer cost effective, reliable, solutions.
Posted @ Monday, April 21, 2014 12:58 PM by Bradley Benton
Post Comment
Name
 *
Email
 *
Website (optional)
Comment
 *

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics

Subscribe to
the PTI Blog!

Join the 4,382 industry peers who already have!

Your email:

Get To Know the PTI Bloggers!