Over the last few decades, major advancements in the semiconductor supply chain
have occurred. These advancements have provided standard foundry processes,
physical theories that explain device models, accurate and efficient software,
and test equipment. Today, front-end components up to 95 GHz (E-band) and beyond
are either commercially available or can be specifically commissioned. In all
these advancements, packaging has been the one area where investments and
technology have lagged.
In many cases, packaging presents the major bottleneck to overall performance. As
trivial as the connection of components may sound, the unfortunate reality is
that the signal integrity of interconnects quickly limits performance at high
frequencies. Engineers in the digital world are now coming up against some of
these limitations, and only recently has the field made the investments
necessary for these signal integrity issues to be overcome. Even microwave
engineers, whose whole world is high frequency, struggle to find acceptable
packaging solutions. Many will be faced with designs riddled with crippling
mismatch loss, coupling loss, and unacceptable resonances.
For many engineering projects, cost is also an important design criterion and
differentiating feature. Without careful, directed analysis, engineers may find
their projects behind schedule and over budget. Further, lower operating costs
can be achieved with package designs that encourage simple fabrication,
assembly, handling, and test. Packaging research helps to advance new design
techniques and package processes. For these reasons, packaging is rapidly
gaining attention as a necessary growth field.