Industry Sponsored Project: Indiana Integrated Circuits

Author: Mark Roche and Chardee Allee

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Indiana Integrated Circuits, LLC (IIC) was founded in 2009 by Jason Kulick and Professor Gary Bernstein to commercialize an innovative semiconductor packaging and interconnect technology. This technology, called Quilt Packaging (QP), exists as a result of research at the University of Notre Dame, but the company has subsequently moved operations to Innovation Park located in South Bend, Indiana.

For IIC’s involvement with the ESTEEM program, current students Mark Roche and Chardee Allee are working to advance QP in two distinct market spaces. With a variety of potential applications given its unique and diverse advantages, they are exploring how QP will fit in the biomedical device and optical application spaces, respectively.QP is a new way to connect Integrated Circuits either made from different substrate materials or from differing semiconductor manufacturing processes into a single ‘monolithic’ device. This is achieved through the fabrication of electrically conductive metallic interconnects called ‘nodules’ at the edge of each chip, mechanically and electrically joined to form a high quality connection. These nodules are formed and precisely aligned using industry recognized Semiconductor processing and IC Packaging techniques. The nodules fit together in an interlocking ‘quilt’ due to the male and female connectors now resident on the chip edge. This elegant process provides numerous advantages in terms of yield improvements, system density, enhanced electrical performance, and power efficiency.

Beyond the exploration of new application spaces, the ESTEEM students are creating a statistical software package using software skills learned from statistics class to analyze and visualize data to be gathered from electrically probing (measuring) the quilted chips. In addition, they are finalizing the test plan that will be used to make these measurements where the goal is to extract the maximum amount of information in the shortest amount of time. The data produced can then be used internally to gain a better insight into the performance of the technology but also to present to customers and ultimately drive sales of Quilt Packaging.