At IEEE 3D IC 2009, Day 2 and 3, San Francisco, CA …..

Paul Werbaneth,Vice President – Marketing and Applications, Tegal Corporation

Thoughts on Day 2 and conclusions following Day 3:

There’s been a really strong student / university contribution to the conference this week by many of the schools to which I feel close.  Penn State, Pitt, Tohoku University. (I had the unexpected pleasure of choosing a lunch table Wednesday where I sat next to Professor Koyanagi from Tohoku University, first time for me to meet this distinguished scholar, who is an IEEE Fellow and an IEEE Medal Laureate.)  Rensselaer (Prof. Ken Rose is my old friend from ASMC committee work, and my niece is now a freshman at RPI), MIT, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore; Prof. Chuan Seng Tan is assembling a book on 3D IC Technology, to which I contributed a chapter on TSV etching), NC State.  Among others.

Kelli Ireland, from Pitt (“A routerless system level interconnection network for 3D integrated systems”) and Adam Beece from RPI (“Impact of parameter accuracy on 3D design”), grad students both, absolutely nailed their presentations – great job Adam, great job Kelli.

When you take someone from Singapore (best food in the world) to dinner in San Francisco where do you go?  I figured since we had my colleague Yannick Pilloux with us it should be Californian French, so off to Grand Café ( we go.  It works for Yannick (“authentic boef bourguignon”), it works for Chuan Seng (Petaluma duck breast), and it works for me (porc roti with mushrooms, beans, and corn).

If Day 2 of IEEE 3D IC was devoted somewhat to Comp Sci topics and Networks on Chips, then Day 3, Wednesday, swings back to devices, applications, and markets.  Eric Beyne (IMEC) pinch-hits and scores with the talk “European R&D activities for 3D integrated heterogeneous systems.”  To me, it really looks like the commercial products we’ll be seeing, enabled by 3D IC technology, are going to contain MEMS stacked onto logic and power, with a radio tucked in somewhere along the way.  At least that’s what they’re saying in Europe, and that’s what (“10um fine pitch Cu/Sn micro-bumps for 3-D super-chip stack”) they’re saying in Japan.

It makes me wonder where Apple is on all this.  IEEE 3D IC is all about great technology, and Apple is all about great (insanely great) products – products based on the best cutting-edge technology and software, of course.  When I start thinking about sleekly designed consumer products packing the power of a complete consumer entertainment system, and boasting wireless connectivity, GPS navigation, and ripping games, all in a single unit,  I look to my iPhone.  Already highly integrated, but then I think, what if those many digital, analog, power management, RF, and MEMS components were stacked into a single packaged “chip,” not spread out over business card-size circuit boards, as they are today.  What more would I get?   (What more do I need?)

How about some health monitoring functions (room for that once we integrate the super dreamy chip into the handset), how about some real-time language translation functions, how about a microprojector, how about a portable augmented reality function that reports to the display glasses I’m wearing (Oak-Bans?) using GPS data so it knows where I am and how my reality should be augmented?  They say there might be room for a printer in there too once we free up the space.

A 21st century electronic Baedeker, that’s what I want.  With a beautiful red leather cover, just like in the old days.  (I’m still going to be holding this DreamyChip Baedeker in my hand, by the way – direct brain implants are for IEEE 3D IC 2019).  I’m not alone in that I see this coming, propelled by the work reported on this week during IEEE 3D IC.

From San Francisco, CA, thanks for reading.