Intel has announced a significant breakthrough in the semiconductor industry by introducing one of the first glass substrates for next-generation advanced packaging. This innovation is expected to propel the continued scaling of transistors in a package, particularly targeting data-centric applications.
The adoption of glass substrates holds immense importance due to the distinct properties they offer compared to traditional organic substrates. Glass substrates offer ultra-low flatness, improved thermal and mechanical stability, and significantly higher interconnect density in a substrate. These attributes empower chip architects to design high-density, high-performance chip packages suitable for data-intensive workloads like artificial intelligence (AI).
The industry is projected to encounter limitations in scaling transistors using conventional organic materials by the end of the decade. Organic materials tend to consume more power and exhibit limitations such as shrinkage and warping. Hence, scaling is critical for the progress and evolution of the semiconductor industry, and glass substrates offer a viable and crucial next step for the next generation of semiconductors.
In terms of functionality, glass substrates enhance signaling speed, power delivery, design rules, and substrate stability, making them pivotal as the industry moves towards a heterogeneous era utilizing multiple “chiplets” in a package. The superior mechanical, physical, and optical properties of glass substrates allow for more transistors to be connected in a package, facilitating better scaling and the assembly of larger chiplet complexes. This, in turn, leads to performance and density gains, greater flexibility, and lower overall cost and power usage.
Initially, glass substrates will find applications in sectors where larger form factor packages and higher speed capabilities are required, such as data centers, AI, and graphics. The exceptional properties of glass substrates, including tolerance to higher temperatures and low pattern distortion, contribute to a 10x increase in interconnect density compared to current organic substrates.
“After a decade of research, Intel has achieved industry-leading glass substrates for advanced packaging. We look forward to delivering these cutting-edge technologies that will benefit our key players and foundry customers for decades to come,” Babak Sabi, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Assembly and Test Development, said.
Intel’s efforts in researching and evaluating the reliability of glass substrates over more than a decade have paved the way for this groundbreaking development. The company’s history of pioneering next-generation packaging technologies and fostering an ecosystem around these advancements has positioned Intel as a key player in enabling the transition to glass substrates.
Looking ahead, Intel remains focused on ongoing innovation in advanced packaging, including glass substrates, with the goal of achieving 1 trillion transistors on a package by 2030. The introduction of these industry-leading glass substrates demonstrates Intel’s commitment to the future of computing beyond the Intel 18A process node.