Pentagon-funded silicon interposer project closer to reshore US advanced packaging capability

Misha Lu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

The Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) office, funded by the US Department of Defense to establish high-priority domestic capabilities to safeguard the US defense industrial base from global supply chain risks, has begun the fourth and final phase of its contract with BRIDG, a non-profit public-private partnership organization based in Florida, US dedicated to advanced system integration and packaging.

IBAS awarded the contract, up to more than US$20 million, to BRIDG in October 2019, and the first phase was completed in November 2022, together with BRIDG partners Imec and SkyWater Technology. At the heart of the program is silicon interposer technology, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for advanced packaging, especially when it comes to chiplet application. At the conclusion of phase one, SkyWater successfully developed a baseline fabrication flow for silicon bridge interposers, and subsequent phases saw through-silicon vias (TSV) and RF-enabling materials incorporated in the process

According to Dale Miller, SkyWater Florida vice president, the final program phase marks an important milestone as the foundry prepares its interposer platform offering to support RF, digital, and mixed-signal applications. The silicon interposer technology, meanwhile, stems from Imec. Matt Walsh, the chief engineer of the IBAS advanced packaging program at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, indicated in a press release that silicon interposer technology supports next-generation applications for the US Department of Defense.

The endeavor is also part of SkyWater foundry's ambition to become a US leader in heterogeneous integration, recognizing the limited availability of the packaging supply chain on US soils. Apart from silicon interposer, the foundry is also targeting hybrid bonding and fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP) capabilities.

Aiming to accelerate technology commercialization and thus "bridge the innovation development gap," BRIDG provides R&D and manufacturing services for small-volume production. It specializes in digital, RF, and photonics interposer technology development coupled with advanced packaging. Notably, it is certified by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and considered trust-ready by the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA).

The IBAS Program invests in fostering six priority industrial capabilities. Alongside microelectronics, it also targets submarine and shipbuilding workforce, kinetic weapons, critical chemicals, castings and forgings, and energy storage.