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Evolving ‘flip-chip’ technology boosts markets


New levels of performance of electronics technology have been enabled by flip-chip technology, fueling the growth of global markets for semiconductors, electronic devices, and a host of industrial and consumer products, according to a BCC Research report.

The study reveals that increasing complexity of the architecture of chip design and fabrication is spurring this market’s exponential growth rate.Semiconductor devices like integrated circuits (ICs) are connected to external circuitry using flip-chip technology by means of solder bumps deposited onto chip pads. Traditionally, devices are connected from substrates or other active components using wire bonds. More specifically, flip chip is directly attached to a board, substrate, or carrier by various conductive methods called bumping. The chip is “bumped” by laying it on a substrate and thus uses a “face down” process. Wire bonding, the older methodology gradually being replaced by flip chip, used a “face up” process.

Global market for flip-chip technology

The global market for flip-chip technology, which totaled $24.9 billion in 2015, should reach $27.2 billion and $41.4 billion in 2016 and 2021, respectively, incr easing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8%. As a segment, copper (Cu) pillar bumping process owned the largest market share in 2015, and should retain its position during the forecast period. The Cu pillar bumping process is expected to reach $21.2 billion by 2021, reflecting a five-year CAGR of 16.7%.

The flip-chip market is a technology-driven market. Manufacturers are focusing on developing new technologies for the bumping process, which in turn is increasing the demand for raw materials required for manufacturing. This leads to aggressive growth in this industry among raw material suppliers. The many advantages over other packaging methods such as reliability, size, flexibility, performance, and cost are the prime factors driving the growth of the flip-chip market. The market is also driven by availability of flip-chip raw materials, equipment, and services.

Controlled collapse chip connection (C4) technology

Demand for flip chips with controlled collapse chip connection (C4) technology has grown significantly due to the shrinking size of chips and demand for more sophisticated structures. Improved thermal heat transfer and performance at higher frequencies also drive the market for flip chips.

Flip-chip bumping extensively uses various wafer bumping technologies, such as lead-free solder, gold stud bumping, and so forth. Copper bumping accounts for the major share of the market. Tin-lead (Sn-Pb) solder is expected to show a highly negative growth rate. Government initiatives to ban toxic substances have impacted its market heavily.

“The Cu pillar bumping process provides better performance, low cost, and is a nontoxic process,” says BCC Research analyst Sinha Guarav. “In addition, increasing demand for communication devices and other computing devices is also expected to have a positive impact on the Cu pillar bumping market.”


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