Chips inside a package ought to talk wirelessly, eliminating costly wired links engineers are crafting for 3D stacks. ThruChip Communications has an inductive coupling link it says could save 40% of the costs of through-silicon vias (TSVs) now in development.
The technology-licensing startup recently hired Dave Ditzel as its chief executive. The veteran microprocessor designer says the technology pioneered by Professor Tadahiro Kuroda of Keio University in Japan has potential for broad impact, especially for stacks of DRAM and flash chips.
Kuroda is "one of the most famous circuit-design professors in the world, and I've kept in touch with him over the years as a consultant and hired his students," said Ditzel who led CPU design teams at Intel, startup Transmeta, and the former Sun Microsystems.
A growing group of companies is developing so-called 2.5D stacks that lay dies side-by-side, connected through wired links on a silicon interposer beneath them. Engineers are working on the next big leap, drilling tiny TSVs through dies stacked vertically, but so far the technique is mainly in a prototype phase, hampered by issues of cost and complexity.
ThruChip's wireless approach is simpler, uses less power, and is cheaper than using TSVs, says Ditzel who joined the company in December. He aims to hire a Silicon Valley support team to help companies design the coupling coils in their chips.
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