System on chip (SoC) based design has long been recognized as a powerful method to offer product differentiation through higher performance and expanded functionality. Yet, it comes with a number of limitations, such as high cost of development. Also, SoCs are monolithic, which can inhibit rapid adaptation in the face of changing market needs. Furthermore, integration of mixed elements into a single die, such as memory, RF, FPGA, CMOS, optical etc. can complicate product delivery. These factors have led to the growth of 2.5D and 3D-IC which can offer a high degree of package level integration while providing flexibility and freedom from yield risks and extra costs associated with single die SoCs.
At the recent Samsung Advanced Foundry Ecosystem Forum Ajei Gopal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ansys, gave a keynote address that focused on this issue and the new types of analysis that will be needed to enable system growth through 3D-IC. Ajei spoke about how Samsung’s eXtend-Cube (X-Cube) can offer integration of multi die assemblies to create compact high-performance systems. According to Ajei X-Cube is suitable for 5G, AI, high performance computing, as well as wearables and IoT.
Ajei said to facilitate rapidly building 3D-ICs, physics based simulation can be used to account for all the effects that need to be considered in these new designs. The twist is that now many differing materials are being combined in a single package. There are new requirements for structural and fluids simulations that are critical to predict cooling and thermal warping and to ensure reliable solder ball connections. Also, electromagnetic interactions will become more significant.
Ajei cited an example where a customer used RedHawk-SC to model current flowing through thousands of microbumps and predicted that in some locations that there would be enough heat to melt the bumps. This would have led to a catastrophic failure of the 3D-IC module.
The real crux of what Ajei had to say was that while 3D-ICs are necessary for the innovations that the market calls for, to meet these needs a partnership is needed between multiple vendors to offer a complete and comprehensive solution. Not only has Ansys partnered with Samsung in areas like sign-off for EM effects in 3D-IC modules, but a broader partnership is required to satisfy design needs.
Ansys has partnered with Synopsys to integrate RedHawk, HFSS and IcePak into Synopsys 3D-IC compiler to provide highly accurate signal, thermal and power data. This combination of tools assures faster design closure with fewer iterations. Designers can also use Ansys SeaScape to apply machine learning algorithms to help filter analysis scenarios and dramatically trim analysis time.
It’s been widely understood for decades that no single vendor can provide the optimal solution for the complexities of IC, and now 3D-IC module, design. Ajei emphasized that any given analysis tool for simulation of multi-physics can take decades of effort to implement and validate. It makes the most sense to leverage several vendors to create an optimal solution. It’s best for designers when vendors work together proactively, instead of asking users to cobble something together. It was heartening to see this spirit of cooperation emphasized at this Samsung event. The only way designs that meet market needs will be produced is through multilateral cooperation. The Samsung SAFE event is available for on-demand viewing online, including the keynote address and the individual partner presentations.
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