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The printed circuit board assembly landscape is changing rapidly, driven primarily by handheld consumer devices. The highest-volume PCBA is the cell phone, which is understandable given that virtually everyone equips themselves with at least one such device to stay connected these days. More and more consumers want data connectivity, not just voice, and that has pushed telecommunication companies to switch from voice to data networks. In the process, server farms and data centers have sprung up around the world to support the data volume generated by the ever growing list of cell phone applications.
Cell phones and portable devices have now become the driver for electronics innovation and technology development. As an example, the need to stay connected every second of the day to instantly receive the latest news or updates has prompted industry to pursue a way to bump up the cell phone’s speed and turn down its power for longer battery life. Likewise, consumers’ insatiable demand for feature-packed, thin, lightweight, and energy-efficient devices is spurring the need for HDI technology. It’s an innovation that is now rippling through the electronics ecosystem—from semiconductor integrated circuits (ICs) to PCBs and SMT equipment.
An Industry Perspective
The semiconductor industry rose to the “more than Moore” challenge, downsizing 28 nm silicon nodes to 22 nm and now 14 nm to increase the speed and lower the energy consumption (watts) of devices. The primary beneficiary of this silicon node technology is the central processor unit, which also exists in the micro controller unit and when integrated with other electronic functions becomes system-on-chip (SoC). Innovations like through-silicon via (TSV) have enabled the creation of 3D integrated circuits (3D ICs) by connecting layers of different silicon dies stacked vertically, which can then be integrated into the smallest and densest SoC package. The stacked silicon die can be of the same technology, like DDR memories, or a SoC made up of different technologies or applications.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.