Embedded die for power: a new era for the advanced packaging industry? – An interview with Infineon Technologies and Schweizer Electronic

The power electronics market for power semiconductor devices was worth US$17.5B in 2018, according to Yole Développement’s report, Status of the Power Electronics Industry.

Key factors driving the market include electrical power conversion optimization and expansion driven by electrification trends in transportation, CO2 emission reduction goals, the development of clean electricity sources and industrialization. The main driving application with a huge market potential while requiring technological innovation is electric and hybrid electric vehicles (EV/HEVs). Mild-hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs), based mainly on 48V circuitry, are the simplest way for vehicle electrification, enabling a small CO2 emission reduction while satisfying the growing need for electrical power in a vehicle. As MHEVs are a highly cost-sensitive automotive segment, innovations in power electronics are needed.

Infineon Technologies (Infineon) designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of semiconductors and system solutions. The company has a leading position in the automotive market with both power discrete devices and power modules.

Schweizer Electronic (Schweizer) is the company renowned for its high-tech printed circuit boards and innovative solutions and services for automotive, solar, industrial and aviation electronics. The company addresses key challenges in the areas of Power Electronics, embedding and system cost reduction.

Infineon holds 9.4% of Schweizer and the two are partnering on the embedded MOSFET development for automotive. The P² Pack embedding solution from Schweizer belongs to the embedded die packaging family; an emerging packaging solution offering unequaled performance in terms of form factor, thermal management and signal integrity. Embedded die is the first real substrate stacking technology on the market. Its market was valued at $21M in 2018 and is expected to reach $231M by 2024, exhibiting a 49% CAGR as detailed in Yole Développement’s report, Status of the Advanced Substrates Industry.

Gilles Delarozee, Marketing Head in charge of Automotive MOSFETs at Infineon is in charge of low voltage automotive MOSFETs with a dedicated focus on chip-embedding technologies. Christian Rössle is VP Sales & Marketing at Schweizer.

Yole Développement (Yole) and its analysts, Emilie Jolivet, Director, Semiconductor & Software division, Mario Ibrahim, Technology & Market Analyst, Package Assembly Substrate and Milan Rosina, Principal Analyst , Power Electronics & Batteries had the opportunity to discuss with them their vision of how the industry is evolving. i-Micronews is pleased to provide today a snapshot of this discussion.

Emilie Jolivet (EJ): Please briefly introduce both companies, Infineon & Schweizer, as well as the collaboration between the two companies.

Gilles Delarozee (GD): Infineon designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of semiconductors and system solutions. The focus of its activities is on automotive electronics, industrial electronics, RF applications, mobile devices and hardware-based security.

Infineon is a world leader in semiconductors. Combining entrepreneurial success with responsible action, at Infineon we make the world easier, safer and greener. Barely visible, semiconductors have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. We are playing a key role in shaping a better future – with microelectronics that link the digital and the real world. Our semiconductors enable smart mobility, efficient energy management and the secure capture and transfer of data.

Infineon has a leading position in the automotive market with both power discretes and modules.

Christian Roessle (CR): Schweizer Electronic AG stands for state-of-the-art technology and consultancy competence. Schweizer’s high-tech printed circuit boards and innovative solutions and services for automotive, solar, industrial and aviation electronics address key challenges in the areas of Power Electronics, Embedding and System Cost Reduction. Its products are distinguished for their superior quality and their energy-saving and environmentally- friendly features. Together with its partners, WUS Printed Circuit (Kunshan) Co. Ltd., Meiko Electronics Co. Ltd. and Elekonta Marek GmbH & Co. KG, the company offers in its division electronics cost- and production- optimized solutions for small, medium and large series.

GD: Schweizer and Infineon have a long-lasting established business relationship. For more than 15 years Schweizer has been a qualified supplier to Infineon for bond PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) for IPMs (Intelligent Power Modules). In the past 10 years, Infineon and Schweizer explored chip-embedding technology with system-demonstrator designs for automotive power applications such as starter generators. The outstanding performance convinced us to commercialize Power MOSFET chip-embedding technology and provide superior system benefit to our customers. Our development cooperation includes the development of Infineon’s embeddable OptiMOS Standard-Cell and the joint qualification with Schweizer’s (Smart) p² Pack PCB technology.

Courtesy of Infineon Technologies & Schweizer Electronic

EJ: Infineon holds 9.4% of Schweizer and the two are partnering on the embedded MOSFET development for automotive. What are the expectations of each company for this technology?

GD: The two companies have a good cultural fit in terms of automotive experience, technology innovation and quality understanding. Our complementary technical competence and market understanding are the base for a better product offering and better system-solutions. With our cooperation, we generate significant benefits for our customers and enable designs that are more compact with higher power efficiency. Schweizer’s PCB embedding technology is a key competency in this area for Power MOSFET.

CR: Infineon is the ideal partner for our Embedding technology called Smart p² Pack. Besides the performance-improved OptiMOS Standard-Cell aimed to lower the RDS(on) at a given die size, Infineon has the innovative power to develop and launch the respective technologies required for chip-embedding: compatible front-side copper-metallization and optimized die bonding processes, both proven new test concepts to manage overall yield aspects.

Milan Rosina (MR): Referring to your press announcement released on May 6th: “Reducing CO2 in traffic: Continental first player to implement innovative technology from Infineon & Schweizer for 48V systems”: What convinced Infineon to embed power MOSFETs using Schweizer’s p² Pack? Can you expand on the advantages and the major challenges for embedding die(s) in a substrate?

GD: We have anticipated an increasing demand for high power systems, driven by the requirement to reduce CO2 emissions. Also, the number of 48V hybrid vehicles is increasing, and the 48V main inverter is a challenge in terms of power. Lowest RDS(on) and cooling efficiency are addressed with our latest OptiMOS technology generations that include thick copper metallization, thin wafer processing and our patented and optimized die attached processes as well as 300mm wafer processing.

As demonstrated earlier with Schweizer we can take even further advantage of those innovative technologies with the complementary p² Pack embedding PCB technology thanks to optimized interfaces and interconnections.

To date, 48V main inverters are mainly built on ceramic power modules using bare die Power MOSFET silicon. However, bare die business is a complex and potentially costly topic. It requires a solid expertise throughout the value chain for all partners and appropriate infrastructure for the module maker. Chip- embedding solves the main challenges for bare die-based modules, such as bare die handling, electrical testing, product quality and reliability.

CR: The definition of the business model is based on the core competencies of both companies. The use of Infineon’s Standard-Cells – thin dies on a thick copper lead frame – allows us to specify the responsibilities of Infineon and Schweizer very clearly. The handling and testing of the thin bare dies are performed within Infineon’s standard production line; embedding into the p² Pack is done by Schweizer with fully automated processes.

The Standard-Cell is comparable to a standard packaged MOSFET; it’s easy to handle and it is tested using a high current test, a key success factor to achieve high production yield.

Mario Ibrahim (MI): Can you briefly explain the main steps of the p² Pack manufacturing process? Can you detail the embedded die supply chain? Who is responsible for the final yield? Is it Schweizer, Infineon, or the carmaker?

CR: Infineon ships to Schweizer the so-called S-(Standard) Cell: A MOSFET on a thick copper lead frame, with a special Cu metallization. The Cu metallization is necessary for the galvanic process in order to connect the micro vias to the chip. In a fully automated process, the Standard-Cells are then placed into a PCB core. The embedding continues with standard PCB production: prepregs, copper sheets will be laminated. Next steps are to generate Cu-filled micro vias and structure the power layer. Since most of our customers request to add another logic layer to combine power and logic circuits on a single PCB, we add another lamination process, which makes the final product a Smart p² Pack.

The production is completed with the final PCB test including electrical testing of the MOSFET Standard-Cells.

Courtesy of Infineon Techhnologies & Schweizer Electronic

GD: The simplicity of the supply chain is part of the beauty of our embedding technology: Infineon delivers fully tested Standard-Cells to Schweizer.

Schweizer then manufactures the custom designed PCB with embedded Standard-Cells. For the final electrical test of the PCB with embedded Standard-Cells, we have developed and implemented a new test concept in the Schweizer production line.

MR: The first application will be a 48V starter generator. Will this application require embedding of multiple MOSFETs? Can you give further details on the structure of this package and its advantages for this specific application?

GD: In 2030, we expect around 30% of the cars to be 48V mild hybrid vehicles with a variety of different architectures (from P0 to P5) and different power classes, depending on the type of vehicle. Scalability, performance and form factor will be essential for the Tier 1s. Beside the superior electrical performance, the technology allows to combine power, logic and DC link easily on one board in a very compact manner and with reduced height. We also expect an improved EMI performance. Most starter Generators use 6-phase motor architectures. Therefore, either 12, 24 or 36 MOSFETs are used, depending on the power class of the inverter. Today we offer two Standard-Cells: 80V MOSFETs, one with 0.9 mOhm with 460 Amps max current and another with 1.4 mOhm and 305 Amps max current. Both are based on the same Cu leadframe for standardization purposes.

As a first application, Continental Powertrain has decided to implement our chip-embedding technology in a 48 V starter generator for vehicles from a major European carmaker. According to Continental, they increase electrical power by 60 percent compared to a traditionally designed system.

With regards to the driver IC, we recommend our customers to place, for example, a TLE9180 on top of the PCB close to the embedded MOSFETs in order to shorten the control loop.

MR: In a 48V vehicle, are there any other applications where you’ll use Infineon Standard-Cell in the future? DC-DC converter? Others? Is embedded die a potential technology for conventional cars? If so, where, how and why?

GD: Wherever Power efficiency, low switching losses and miniaturization are required, p² Pack is a technology of choice. Based on our current assessment, any drive application with 6kW and more is a target application for our chip-embedding technology, as well as 48/12V DC-DC converters. Indeed, the low stray inductance in addition to the excellent thermal resistance and low RDS(on) will enable higher efficiency and/or eventually a reduction of the number of phases.

EJ: The first market for p2 Pack technology will be the 48V vehicle with Continental. We are expecting significant interest in embedded die in other fields like mobile, telecom & infrastructure. Will we see Schweizer’s embedded die technologies in markets other than automotive?

CR: Each PCB embedding technology has its specific requirements. This particular Power MOSFET embedding technology – Standard-Cell / p² Pack – addresses the benefits and differentiation in terms of KPI Rth, Zth with primary focus on automotive power applications. Along the road, we could also anticipate penetrating industrial- and aviation- power applications with similar requirements.

EJ: Embedded die is still a novel technology. A combination of active and passive devices is also possible. What is your expectation in terms of yield for each of those options? Is there a limitation to the number of embedded devices?

CR: Several years ago, we launched the Inlay technology (embedding of Cu leadframe) to the automotive market.  Therefore, we gained a lot of experience in integrating “copper parts” into our standard large size production panels. p² Pack is the next innovation step to integrate Power MOSFETs into this bus bar / Cu lead frame, called Infineon Standard-Cell. We also offer the possibility to embed high precision shunt devices in order to eliminate this well-known hot spot. Test data for active power cycling indicate up to 10 times higher robustness than conventional DCB power modules (Direct Copper Bonding).

GD: Each single Standard-Cell is tested with high current before the embedding into the PCB; the embedding technology enables customization of the board layout and each customer can optimize the layout based on the required number of MOSFETs, the mechanical constraints, and can minimize all stray inductances defined by the tracks on the PCB. The test concept of the Standard-Cell is based on high current test similar to the well-known but expensive KGD (known-good-die) testing; this is key to ensure high yield during the embedding process.

MI: What will be the next steps by Infineon & Schweizer for embedded die technologies? And how do you foresee the embedded die market in the coming years?

CR: Especially for non-belt driven starter generators the power requirements are constantly increasing. Just recently, the first 30kW solutions were introduced to the market. p² Pack will be the ideal solution for such high-power inverters. Also, for Climate Compressor and E-Turbos, we expect – especially in harsh environments – a growing market for our technology besides the already mentioned DC/DC opportunities. Therefore, we have huge demand expectations for our new p² Pack embedding technology and are ramping up our production capacity for product launches in 2020.

GD: We will thoroughly support the different opportunities we have and help our customers to optimize their board layout. The goal is to maximize the performance of each single product. This is essential in order to satisfy our customers and make them successful.

EJ: Would you like to add few final words for our readers?

GD: Our chip-embedding technology is a disruptive change in the MOSFET world! It’s a change in the supply chain and a new eco-system, but it brings the overall performance of the system one step further. This will be essential for the 48V market.

CR: We currently work in publicly funded projects on the technology demonstration for High Voltage applications, including 800V. New materials need to be qualified, which fulfill the reliability requirements of this highly interesting market. Especially for high power traction inverters using wide band gap devices we foresee a huge potential for p2 Pack.

Interviewees

Gilles Delarozee is Marketing Head in charge of Automotive MOSFETs at Infineon Technologies (Infineon). He studied at a higher national engineering school in France with a focus on electronics. He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration. He joined Infineon in 2003 in the automotive division, and held different positions in marketing and product line management. In his current position, he is in charge of low voltage automotive MOSFETs with a dedicated focus on chip-embedding technologies.

Christian Rössle, VP Sales & Marketing at Schweizer Electronic AG (Schweizer) studied industrial engineering and began his career in 1995 as Marketing Manager at Siemens Semiconductors. After eight years in the automotive and industrial segment holding various functions in Germany and abroad, he became Marketing Director and Product Line Head in 2003 at Infineon’s Memory Division / Qimonda. Within this division he was Head of Marketing for Mobile and Consumer applications with P&L responsibility for the Mobile segment. Since 2009 he has worked with Schweizer, responsible for Sales, Partner Management and Marketing of Schweizer’s innovative technologies. In addition, he assumed responsibility for the area Embedding/System in 2014, setting up a new business field, which comprises the embedding of active and passive components into printed circuit boards.

Interviewers

Emilie Jolivet is Director of the Semiconductor & Software Division at Yole Développement, part of Yole Group of Companies, where her specific interests cover package & assembly, semiconductor manufacturing, memory and software & computing fields.
Based on her valuable experience in the semiconductor industry, Emilie manages the expansion of the technical and market expertise of the Semiconductor and Software Team. The team interacts daily with leading companies allowing semiconductor & software analysts to collect a large amount of data and integrate their understanding of the evolution of the market with technology breakthroughs.
In addition, Emilie’s mission focusses on the management of business relationships with semiconductor leaders and the development of market research and strategy consulting activities inside the Yole group.
Emilie Jolivet holds a Master’s degree in Applied Physics specializing in Microelectronics from INSA (Toulouse, France). After an internship in failure analysis at Freescale (France), she was an R&D engineer for seven years in the photovoltaic business where she co-authored several scientific articles. Enriched by this experience, she graduated with an MBA from IAE Lyon and then joined EV Group (Austria) as a business development manager in 3D & Advanced Packaging before joining Yole Développement in 2016.

As a Technology & Market Analyst, Advanced Packaging, Mario Ibrahim is a member of the Semiconductor & Software division at Yole Développement (Yole), ), part of Yole Group of Companies. Mario is engaged in the development of technology & market reports as well as the production of custom consulting studies. He is also deeply involved in test activities business development within the division.
Prior to Yole, Mario was engaged in test activities development on LEDs at Aledia. He was also in charge of several R&D advanced packaging programs. During his 5 years stay, he developed strong technical & managerial expertise in different semiconductor fields.
Mario holds an Electronics Engineering Degree from Polytech’ Grenoble (France). He spent 3 apprenticeship years within Imaging Division of STMicroelectronics Grenoble, where he contributed to the test benches park automation within the test & validation team.

Milan Rosina, PhD, is Principal Analyst, Power & Wireless / Batteries, at Yole Développement (Yole), within the Power & Wireless division. He is engaged in the development of the market, technology and strategic analyses dedicated to innovative materials, devices and systems. His main areas of interest are EV/HEV, renewable energy, power electronic packaging and batteries.
Milan has 20 years of scientific, industrial and managerial experience involving equipment and process development, due diligence, technology, and market surveys in the fields of renewable energies, EV/HEV, energy storage, batteries, power electronics, thermal management, and innovative materials and devices.
He received his PhD degree from Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP) in France.
Milan Rosina previously worked for the Institute of Electrical Engineering in Slovakia, Centrotherm in Germany, Fraunhofer IWS in Germany, CEA LETI in France, and utility company ENGIE in France.

Related event

TechDay: EV/HEV Cost vs. Performance Trade-off: A Battle on Multiple Fronts For Power Electronics

The event is located at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, Mercedesstrasse 75, 70372 Stuttgart, Germany. It takes place on December 12, from 1:45 PM to 6:00 PM.



Related reports

Status of the Advanced Substrates Industry

Demands from the new digital age are waking up the sleeping substrate giants.


Status of the Power Module Packaging Industry

Major evolutions in substrate, interconnection, and die-attach technologies, driven by EV/HEV, are transforming the power module packaging supply chain.

Status of the Power Electronics Industry

Long term growth of the power electronics market is driving 300mm wafer-based production.

Source: http://www.yole.fr

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