IEEE plunks down massive 15-year electronics integration roadmap

showing components board
Chip and other electronics manufacturing will require integration of components, and IEEE has a new 15-year roadmap to make it all work together. (Getty Images)

Electrical engineers talk often about whether device A from vendor X will work with device B from vendor Y. Interoperability and integration of technologies are key to the future of electronics, from chips to devices.

To keep things flowing smoothly long term, IEEE on Thursday unveiled a 15-year integration roadmap for the future of electronics to identify technology requirements and stimulate collaboration between industry, academic and government groups.

Part of the mission of the new Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap is to “stay ahead of the innovation curve and identify barriers that could slow the pace of growth in the electronics industry,” said Ajit Manocha, president of SEMI, one of the sponsors of the HIR. Others include the IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, the IEEE Electron Devices Society, the IEEE Photonics Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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The HIR includes 22 chapters so far and can be downloaded by chapters.

The document “sets the course for continued electronics industry growth, greater technology innovation and enhanced performance of devices across a wide variety of applications,” said William Chen, chair of the HIR, in a statement. The HIR is intended to help innovators guide integration of applications and devices across emerging technologies such as AI, 5G, edge, cloud, data center, autonomous vehicles and wearable technology.

The vision statement in chapter 1 says the HIR “provides a long-term vision for the electronics industry, identifying difficult future challenges and potential solutions.” It identifies Heterogeneous Integration as the “key technology direction going forward” and defines it as the “integration of separately manufactured components into a higher- level assembly System in Package (SiP) that, in aggregate provides enhanced functionality and improved operating characteristics.” Components means individual dies, MEMS devices, passive components and assembled packages and subsystems that are integrated into a single package.

Heterogeneous Integration “is the low-hanging fruit for initiating a new era of technological and scientific advances to continue and complement the progression of Moore’s Law Scaling into the distant future. Packaging—from system packaging to device packaging—will form the vanguard to this enormous advance.” The chapter picks six market application areas that are the leading drivers for HIR: high performance computing and data centers; medical, health and wearables; autonomous automotive; mobile, aerospace and defense and IoT.

One key question HIR asks is “What integration technology progress is needed to keep system integration on track?” The integration in question refers to building blocks in single chip and multichip integration, integrated photonics, integrated power electronics, MEMS and sensor integration and 5G and Analog and Mixed Signal. Three major areas of technology for HIR include SiP, interconnects between 3D and 2D and wafer-level packaging.

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