Fan-Out packaging options grow

An article written by Stefan Chitoraga and Favier Shoo from Yole Développement (Yole) for SEMI Engineering – Chipmakers, OSATs and R&D organizations are developing the next wave of fan-out packages for a range of applications, but sorting out the new options and finding the right solution is proving to be a challenge.

Fan-out is a way to assemble one or more dies in an advanced package, enabling chips with better performance and more I/Os for applications like computing, IoT, networking and smartphones. In just one example of fan-out, a DRAM die is stacked on a logic chip in a package. This, in turn, brings the memory and processing functions closer together, providing more bandwidth in systems.

Fan-out isn’t the only advanced package type in the market, but it does have some advantages over competitive technologies like 2.5D and others.

“As part of advanced packaging, fan-out solutions have become critical and effective for increasing device performance and bandwidth,” said Stefan Chitoraga, an analyst at Yole Développement (Yole). In total, the fan-out packaging market is expected to grow from $1.475 billion in 2020 to $1.953 billion in 2021, according to Yole.

Fan-out packaging isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around since the mid-2000s. But the technology was under the radar until 2016, when Apple adopted TSMC’s fan-out package in the iPhone 7 and subsequent phones. Suddenly, other packaging houses developed a multitude of new and different fan-out packages. And today, the list of fan-out types continues to grow, making it difficult to keep track of the options and where they all fit.

Each version of fan-out comes with its own set of tradeoffs. Fan-outs can be developed using different manufacturing flows. They also can be made on round wafers or panels.