For the Daily Press: Infineon`s Innovative "Chip-Sandwich" Potentially Increases Memory Capacity More Than a Hundredfold by Just Doubling Chip Area, Enabling New Applications for Mobile Phones and Smart Cards
The new Infineon method entails placing two integrated circuits one on top of the other with their functional sides face-to-face - akin to a sandwich in which two buttered slices of bread are laid on top of each other, with the buttered sides facing each other. Without extra-wirebonding, the chips - for example a security microcontroller and a memory chip - are mechanically and electrically interconnected via hundreds of tiny contact pads on the chips surfaces. This multiplies the storage capacity of the microcontroller chips without increasing the die area. At the same time, it makes chip design more flexible and shortens development times.
The first chips, in which a security controller and a memory module are superimposed on each other, provide 1 megabyte (MB) of memory, eight times more storage space than what is currently possible. The new chips will initially be used for SIM cards in mobile phones, where the demand for additional memory capacity is greatest, because of SMS and MMS messages and increased address book entries. First samples of the new chip are scheduled to be available as early as the spring of next year. The face-to-face process is then expected to go into mass production in the second half of 2005. Infineon currently supplies one in three SIM card chips worldwide.
A SIM card with 100 times more storage capacityThe area available for the integrated circuit on smartcards and SIM cards is limited to a maximum of 25 square millimeters. Infineons conjoined face-to-face chips will in future be capable of accommodating up to 20 megabytes of memory on just twice the area on which a maximum of 1 megabyte fits today. These 20 MB, which offer more than 100 times the memory capacity of todays smartcard chips, are scheduled to be available starting the second half of 2006.
The growing popularity of multimedia services and the ability to transfer large amounts of data via UMTS make SIM cards with a large memory capacity especially attractive to mobile communications providers, as they enable them to offer their customers additional services such as expanded address books in which images can also be stored. The novel sandwich chips also provide enough space for security programs that make electronic reservations and payments, for example, programs that book theater tickets and entire trips, and for individualized information services such as stock exchange reports. Furthermore, sandwich chips will enable mobile phones to integrate additional electronic applications, such as the secure storage of confidential emails, which until now have been technically impossible to implement.
In other smartcard applications, the large memory sandwich chips could make access cards even more secure by allowing a whole range of additional information to be stored, including biometric data of the persons with access authorization.
The face-to-face technology places two integrated circuits with their functional sides one on top of the other. Without extra-wirebonding, the chips are mechanically and electrically interconnected.Press Photo (german version)
JPG | 188 kb | 1535 x 1063 pxPress Photo (german version)
JPG | 7 kb | 160 x 111 px
The face-to-face technology places two integrated circuits with their functional sides one on top of the other. Without extra-wirebonding, the chips are mechanically and electrically interconnected.Press Photo (english version)
JPG | 179 kb | 1535 x 1063 pxPress Photo (english version)
JPG | 7 kb | 160 x 111 px