Intel announced the development of the industry’s first glass substrates for the production of future generations of chips with advanced packaging, which are planned to begin production in the second half of this decade. The use of glass substrates will allow us to continue scaling the number of transistors on chips according to Moore’s law to create even more advanced data-oriented processors.
Image source: Intel
Intel notes that the development of glass substrates took the company more than ten years of research. Compared to modern organic substrates, glass has properties such as ultra-low flatness and better thermal and mechanical stability, which allows for much higher interconnect density in the substrate, which is critical for modern multi-chip processors. These advantages will enable chip designers to create high-density, high-performance chips for data-intensive workloads such as artificial intelligence (AI). Intel plans to begin supplying glass substrates to the market in the second half of this decade.
Intel believes that by 2030, the semiconductor industry will reach the limit of how it can scale transistors on chips using traditional organic materials, which consume more power and have the disadvantages of shrinkage and warping. Intel notes that scalability is critical to progress in the semiconductor industry, and glass substrates are the most viable and therefore most important next step in the production of future generations of semiconductors.
During the period of growing demand for more powerful computing and the transition to heterogeneity, when several more compact microcircuits or so-called chiplets are used in a chip package, the ability to improve the speed of signal transmission both between transistors and between chiplets, increasing energy efficiency, becoming very important. and improving the efficiency of chip package substrate design.
Compared to organic substrates used today, glass substrates have superior mechanical, physical and optical properties that allow more transistors to be packaged, enabling better scaling and assembly of larger system-in-packages. . By using glass substrates, chip designers will be able to combine more chiplets into a chip package, reduce the size of the chips, while simultaneously providing them with increased performance, increased energy efficiency and reduced manufacturing costs.
Glass substrates will initially be introduced where they can be used most effectively – in workload-intensive segments that require larger chip packages and higher-speed processing capabilities, such as data centers, AI and graphics.
Glass substrates are designed to withstand higher operating temperatures, provide 50% less pattern distortion, have ultra-low flatness for improved depth of field in lithography, and provide greater structural stability for extremely dense interlayer bonding. Thanks to these distinctive properties, a tenfold increase in interconnect density is possible on glass substrates. In addition, the improved mechanical properties of glass make it possible to create packaging for microcircuits with ultra-large form factors. Taking into account all the advantages of glass substrates, Intel expects that the semiconductor industry will produce chips that will contain one trillion transistors by 2030.
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