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Intel shows off its heart of glass

by on19 September 2023

Seems like the real thing, but I was so blind

Intel has shown off its initial work on developing a glass core substrate and associated chip packaging process and says it could be used by the end of the decade.

Chipzilla plans on introducing glass core substrates to its products in the second half of this decade, allowing it to package chips in more complex and ultimately higher-performing configurations.

Intel has been short on details in the announcement, and glass core substrates have been under research for over a decade as a replacement for organic substrates. However, this seems to be the first time someone has issued something close to a roadmap for the technology.

Intel aims to do with glass core substrates to improve upon what can be done with existing organic substrates, allowing larger chips with more signals to be routed through the substrate more cleanly.

Intel will not be mounting chips on pure pieces of glass – but rather, the material at the substrate's core will be made of glass. Meanwhile, metal redistribution layers (RDLs) would still be present on both sides of a chip, providing pathways between various pads and solder joints.

Chipzilla claims glass substrates are superior in mechanical and electrical properties and are much better when building large chips.

From the mechanical side of the matter, Intel reports that glass core substrates offer far better mechanical strength than organic substrates. They’re able to withstand higher temperatures better than organic substrates during packaging, resulting in less warping and distortion. Glass is also reportedly easier to get flatter, making packaging and lithography easier.

Finally, glass has a similar coefficient of thermal expansion as silicon (unlike organic substrates), meaning that the minor warping that still occurs from heat is consistent with the dies above, as opposed to having different parts of a chip expanding at different rates.


Last modified on 19 September 2023
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