Advanced substrates, a key enabler of future advanced packaging solutions

Advanced Substrates Overview: From IC Package to Board report – Yole Développement – February 2017


  • How can advanced substrates and boards bridge the gap created by front-end scaling?
  • Three distinct competitive areas, as a consequence of scaling.
  • Advanced substrate solutions: fueling tomorrow's markets.

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LYON, France – February 23, 2017: “Advanced substrates are the key interconnect component of advanced packaging architectures”, comments Andrej Ivankovic, Technology & Market Analyst, Advanced Packaging & Semiconductor Manufacturing at Yole Développement (Yole).Indeed advanced substrates are critical in enabling future products and markets.
To answer to technology evolution and market needs, Yole’s advanced packaging team has established a stand-alone dedicated advanced substrate activity, focused on exploring the market and technologies of PCBs , package substrates and RDLs . And today, the “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company announces its first report titled “Advanced Substrates Overview: From IC Package to Board”. This technology & market analysis serves as an overview of advanced substrate technologies, markets, and supply chain, to be supported by subsequent in-depth reports.
Advanced substrates are a key enabler of future products and markets. Yole’s analysts offer you a special focus on this industry and its competitive landscape.

Today’s advanced substrates in volume are:
 FC substrates
 2.5D/3D TSV assemblies
 And thin-film RDLs especially for FOWLP advanced packaging platform, below an L/S resolution of 15/15 um and with transition below L/S < 10/10 um.
These advanced substrates are traditionally linked to higher-end logic such as CPUs /GPU s, DSPs , etc… Driven by ICs in the latest technology nodes in the computing, networking, mobile, and high-end consumer market segments (gaming, HD /Smart TV).
Moreover, due to additional form factor and low power demands, WLP and advanced FC substrates are also widespread in majority of smartphone functions. Yole’s analysts identified: application processors, baseband, transceivers, filters, amplifiers, WiFi modules, drivers, codecs, power management, etc.

Future higher-end products will require package substrates with L/S < 10/10 um and boards with L/S < 30/30 um. These demands have given rise to three distinct competition areas:
 Board vs. IC substrate (See the image 1: green & grey zone)
 IC substrate vs. FOWLP (See the image 1: green & orange zone)
 FOWLP vs. 2.5D/3D packaging (See the image 1: yellow & orange zone)

The board vs. FC substrate area is characterized by the transition from the subtractive to the mSAP process, and competition between board and substrate manufacturers. Evaluation of “substrate-like PCBs” is already under way at OEMs, and so too the potential new integration opportunities they could bring. Furthermore, developments in FC substrate, FOWLP, and 2.5D/3D packaging have created an immense competitive arena for L/S < 10/10 um packaging, with a large variety of solutions coming from business models across the supply chain including IDMs, foundries, OSATs, WLP houses, substrate manufacturers, and EMS.

As shown in figure 2, the transition to substrates for ICs below L/S < 10/10 um has begun, led by application processors/basebands in FOWLP and advanced FC substrates, and the first GPUs in 2.5D/3D TSV configuration. The “below L/S < 10/10 um” advanced substrate roadmap is open, with intense R&D underway and each manufacturer developing strategies and targets for their respective solutions….

Yole’s advanced substrates report is an overview of the technology status and market evolution. It will be followed by further in-depth reports. Today, with this first edition, the objective is to provide an overview of board, substrate and RDL interconnects, analyze the technology trends and assess future development of the advanced substrate market. A detailed description of the report is available on, Advanced Packaging reports section.

The Fan-Out platform’s excitement has clearly caught the attention of the advanced packaging industry as well as advanced substrate manufacturers. Day to day, Yole’s advanced packaging team is enlarging its know-how to understand the technical and economic issues.
Analysts are daily interacting with advanced packaging leaders to turn research results into strategies and define a long-term view of the business.
To point out its commitment towards the advanced packaging community, Yole is playing a key role within the program of the 13th International Conference and Exhibition on Device Packaging (March 6-9, 2017 - Fountain Hills, Arizona USA). The consulting company announces two presentations on March 7:
 What is driving the 3D TSV technologies business? Santosh Kumar, Sr Technology & Market Analyst, Yole
 FOWLP: market & technology trend. Jérôme Azemar, Technology & Market Analyst, Yole

As well as a panel discussion titled “The Fan-Out Breakout” moderated by Jérôme Azemar. Fan-Out is the most dynamic solution in the advanced packaging playground at the moment. Make sure you will get an up-to-date vision of the market and debate with brilliant panelists including:
 Rich Rice, Sr. VP of Business Development, ASE Global
• Islam Salama, Director, Pathfinding Department, Substrate and Packaging Technology Development at Intel
• Johannes Lodermeyer, Wafer Level Technology Development Responsible, Infineon Technologies
• Vinayak Pandey, Product and Technology Marketing Director / Scott Sikorski, Product Technology Marketing Vice-President at JCET / STATS ChipPAC
• And Santosh Kumar, Sr Technology & Market Analyst, Yole

To get more information about this conference and Yole’s participation, please contact Camille Veyrier, Marketing & Communication Project Manager at Yole (

PCB: Printed Circuit Board
RDL: Redistribution Layer
IC: Integrated Circuits
FC: Flip Chip
TSV: Through Silicon Via
FOWLP: Fan Out Wafer Level Packaging
CPU: Computer Power User
GPU: Graphics Processing Unit
DSP: Digital Signal Processor
HD: High Definition
mSAP process: modified Semi-Additive Processing

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