Article published by UnitySC in Chip Scale Review (July-Aug 2017, Volume 21, Number 4)

With the increase of costs, delays and complexity at the most advanced frontend silicon technology nodes, advanced packaging process control solutions have become a key differentiator for achieving next-generation requirements, and thereby continued sustainability in the semiconductor industry. Within the advanced packaging realm, fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP) is gaining momentum due to its high integration, extreme flexibility, performance enablement and cost advantages, compared with more conventional assembly technologies.

Despite the wide adoption of FOWLP during the last few years, there are several challenges remaining about the industrialization of the process. For example, regardless of the FOWLP methodology used, the epoxy molding compound (EMC) is still a potential source of issues, with challenges in total thickness variation (TTV) management, package warpage and die shift. From a pure metrology perspective, the EMC thickness measurement may also be a challenge, because the epoxy material typically becomes opaque above a certain thickness and cannot be measured in the visible or infrared domains by conventional optical metrology techniques.

In this article, we introduce the various metrology technologies used to control the FOWLP process and review the main metrology measurements required during high-volume manufacturing. Additionally, we explore the advantages of using an inline, integrated 2D/3D metrology solution to characterize the FOWLP fabrication process using the chip-first/face-down approach.

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