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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Innovation At Work in Singapore

“Technology Diffusion” is one of those intellectual concepts that you don’t expect to see taking place right before your eyes, but that’s what I witnessed at SEMICON Singapore.

The theory of Diffusion of Innovations is what every young marketer learns and its a useful guide to establishing marketing strategy. The theory is about how innovations spread through society in an S curve, as the early adopters and innovators select the technology first, followed by the early majority and late majority, and eventually laggards. The theory states that innovation diffusion is a process that occurs over time through five stages: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation and Confirmation. There’s a lot been written about it.

At the show this week, I kicked off the Advanced Packaging seminars at the Semiconductor Technology Symposium with a few clunky words and hung around to hear the opening keynotes and presentations on copper wire bonding. With the skyrocketing price of gold, copper wire bonding has been become a hot topic. While copper wire has been used for awhile on simpler devices, it hasn’t been widely deployed high volume chips because, well, it’s hard to do. The presentations discussed the latest research on copper wire bonding, showing the challenges, the costs, the process techniques, the new test methodologies needed. Very detailed.

The room was full—200 people—packaging engineers from every major OSAT in the region. You could hear a pin drop during the presentations. Every key detail was noted by the audience (their heads would drop simultaneously as they all took notes on the same point). As the morning sessions ended, I left for the exhibit floor, as did everyone else, single file down the escalators and through security. The crowd—over a hundred engineers—streamed directly into the K&S, Shinkawa and ASM booths (the top wire bonders) at the front of the hall. You know they were all talking copper.

In about 6 months, watch for all the new copper bonded products to start coming out.

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