|Publication number||USRE42318 E1|
|Application number||US 11/398,458|
|Publication date||May 3, 2011|
|Filing date||Apr 4, 2006|
|Priority date||May 3, 2000|
|Also published as||US6833984, US20070222061, US20070223159, US20070230134, US20070230139, USRE42429, USRE42785|
|Publication number||11398458, 398458, US RE42318 E1, US RE42318E1, US-E1-RE42318, USRE42318 E1, USRE42318E1|
|Original Assignee||Rambus Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (98), Non-Patent Citations (24), Classifications (43)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 09/554,064 filed on May 3, 2000 entitled “Semiconductor Module with Imbedded Heat Spreader” This application is a reissue application of U.S. Pat. No. 6,833,984, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/564,064 filed on May 3, 2000 entitled “Semiconductor Module with Imbedded Heat Spreader”, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,449,159; more than one reissue application has been filed for the reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 6,833,984 the reissue applications are application Ser. Nos. 11/398,458 filed on Apr. 4, 2006 (the present application); 11/754,199 filed on May 25, 2007; 11/754,206 filed on May 25, 2007; 11/754,211 filed on May 25, 2007; 11/754,212 filed on May 25, 2007; 12/790,380 filed on May 28, 2010; and 12/790,393, all of which are reissues of U.S. Pat. No. 6,833,984.
The present invention relates generally to semiconductor modules and in particular to a semiconductor module that allows for more efficient interconnection between the semiconductor module an a computing device's transmission channel.
The semiconductor industry is constantly producing smaller and more complex semiconductors, sometimes called integrated circuits or chips. This trend has brought about the need for smaller chip packages with smaller footprints, higher lead counts, and better electrical and thermal performance, while at the same time meeting accepted reliability standards.
In recent years a number of microelectronic packages have been produced to meet the need for smaller chip packaging. One such package is referred to as a chip scale package (CSP). CSPs are so called because the total package size is similar or not much larger than the size of the chip itself. Typically, the CSP size is between 1 and 1.2 times the perimeter size of the chip, or 1.5 times the area of the die. One example of a CSP is a product developed by TESSER® called “MICRO BGA” or μBGA. In a CSP, the semiconductor has a set of bond pads distributed across its surface. A first surface of an insulating, flexible film is positioned over the semiconductor surface. Interconnect circuitry is positioned within the film. Electrical connections are made between the interconnect circuitry and the semiconductor bond pads. Solder balls are subsequently attached to a second surface of the film in such a manner as to establish selective connections with the interconnect circuitry. The solder balls may then be attached to a printed circuit board.
CSPs may be used in connection with memory chips. Memory chips may be grouped to form in-line memory modules. In-line memory modules are surface mounted memory chips positioned on a circuit board.
As memory demands increase, so does the need for increased memory capacity of in-line memory modules. A need has also arisen for materials and methods that lead to increased performance by more closely matching the coefficient of thermal expansion of the materials used in these memory modules. Examples of such in-line memory modules are single in line memory modules or SIMMs and dual in-line memory modules or DIMMs. DIMMs have begun to replace SIMMs as the compact circuit boards of preference and essentially comprise a SIMM wherein memory chips are surface mounted to opposite sides of the circuit board with connectors on each side.
A problem with in-line memory modules is that adding more chips to the circuit board spreads out the placement of the chips on the circuit card and therefore requires reconfiguration of the circuit card connectors and their associated connections on the motherboard, which means replacing the memory card and in some cases the motherboard.
Another problem with current in-line memory modules is that a separate heat spreader must be positioned across a set of memory chips. The heat spreader adds cost to the assembly process and adds significant weight to the module.
Existing Multi-Chip Modules (MCM's) typically connect the transmission channel to semiconductors via electrical contact points or ball-outs on the MCM. Each electrical contact point then connects to a semiconductor in the MCM via an electrical lead, so that a signal may be transmitted along the transmission channel to each semiconductor via that semiconductor's electrical lead. However, each successive electrical lead slightly degrades the signal, by placing a load on the signal. By the time the signal reaches the last semiconductor connected to a transmission channel, the signal may have degraded so as to be unusable.
Modem MCM's, such as those disclosed in the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/564,064, disclose MCMs that include relatively long electrical leads. The longer the electrical lead, the more the signal degradation. This is because the speed of the signal is inversely related to the length of the electrical lead. Therefore, existing MCMs can only handle a maximum of approximately thirty two semiconductors connected to a single transmission channel before the signal has degraded to an unusable form.
In view of the foregoing it would be highly desirable to provide a semiconductor module that overcomes the short-comings of the abovementioned prior art devices.
A semiconductor module is provided which includes a heat spreader, at least two semiconductors thermally coupled to the heat spreader, and a plurality of electrically conductive leads electrically connected to the semiconductors. At least one of the electrically conductive leads is common to both of the semiconductors The semiconductor module also includes a termination resistor electrically coupled to at least one of the semiconductors.
A method of making a semiconductor module is also taught, whereby a plurality of electrically conductive leads are provided. At least two semiconductors are electrically coupled to the plurality of electrically conductive leads, where at least one of the electrically conductive leads is common to both of the semiconductors. The semiconductors are then thermally coupled to a heat spreader. Subsequently, a termination resistor is electrically coupled to at least one of the semiconductors.
The termination resistor coupled to the semiconductors substantially reduces any degradation of the signal caused by a load placed on the signal from electrical leads, as the signal is not being split as is the case with stubs in existing semiconductor modules. Furthermore, by incorporating the termination resistor into the semiconductor module, the need for a termination resistor on the printed circuit board is eliminated, thereby reducing the need for additional circuit board space, and deceasing circuit board layout complexity and cost.
For a better understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be made to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Like reference numerals refer to corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
As shown in
In a preferred embodiment, two semiconductors 102 are positioned on opposing sides of the heat spreader 106. The leads 108 preferably run the length of each sides of the heat spreader 106, culminating at electrical contact points 110 at the base of the heat spreader 106. Electrical contact points 110 may for example comprise solder balls or bond pads. The semiconductors may further comprise of single dies or multiple stacked dies.
In the embodiments shown in
The semiconductor modules 908 maybe placed directly onto a PCB 910, such as a motherboard, or alternatively onto an in-line memory module circuit card which in turn slots into another PCB, such as a motherboard. In this manner the footprint of an in-line memory module circuit card may remain constant even if additional semiconductor modules 908 are slotted onto the in-line memory module circuit card. As the footprint of the array is always constant, the in-line memory module circuit card does not have to be changed each time additional memory is required, thereby enhancing the upgradability of electronic devices. The invention provides a memory module with a small footprint. Adding further chips to the module does not effect the footprint.
When in an aligned position, each electrical contact point electrically connects with a corresponding electrical contact on the substrate or PCB. Where the electrical contact points are solder bumps, the electrical connection between the semiconductor module and the PCB may be made by heating the solder bumps to cause reflow of the solder and allowing subsequent cooling, thereby fusing the semiconductor module 908 to the PCB 910.
Alternatively, or in addition, fastening mechanisms 904 and 906 may be provided for securely anchoring the semiconductor modules 908 onto the PCB 910. Such fastening mechanisms 904 and 906 may include clamps, slots, or the like.
In an alternative embodiment, a semiconductor package such as a CSP may have its solder balls attached to the flexible circuitry. The combination of the semiconductor package and the flexible circuitry is then bonded to the heat spreader. In this manner existing semiconductor packages may be used to manufacture the semiconductor module according to the invention.
Another alternative embodiment may include shielding 1115 (
The semiconductor module of the invention eliminates the need for a separate heat spreader. The invention reduces overall cost and weight through shared common contact points or nodes. The common contact points also allow for a constant footprint to be maintained independent of the size or number of semiconductors used. Furthermore, the module is reliable as the semiconductors are not exposed to as high thermal stresses. The module also substantially improves heat dissipation by exposing greater surface areas to the surrounding air.
As explained above in the background section of this specification, many existing semiconductor modules position their embedded semiconductors relatively far from the circuit board to which they are attached. Each semiconductor in such semiconductor modules connects to a transmission channel via its own electrical lead. A signal passing along the transmission channel from lead to lead is degraded by a load placed on the signal by each successive lead. The longer the stub, the more the signal is degraded. Each successive lead further degrades the signal, until such time as the signal has been degraded so as to be useless. Most semiconductor modules also include a termination resistor at the end of each transmission channel on the printed circuit board. The present invention addresses the problem associated with signal degradation in semiconductor modules having relatively long electrical leads.
Impedance matching of an electrical load to the impedance of a signal source and the characteristic impedance of a transmission channel is often necessary to reduce reflections by the load, back into the transmission channel. As the length of a non-terminated transmission line increases, reflections become more problematic. When high frequency signals are transmitted or passed through even very short transmission lines, such as printed circuit board (PCB) traces, a termination resistor may be inserted at the load to avoid reflections and degradations in performance.
In the multi-chip modules of the present invention, termination resistors are preferably internal to the MCM's. The use of external termination resistors presents a number of drawbacks. The placement of a termination resistor outside an MCM results in an additional stub or short transmission line between the termination resistor and the integrated circuit device. External termination resistors also require significant circuit board space, and increase circuit board layout complexity and cost.
The semiconductors 1204 on the flexible circuit 1210, are preferably bonded directly to a heat spreader 1218. Alternatively, as shown and described in relation to
The heat spreader 1218 is preferably made from a material with good heat dissipation properties, such as a metal. In a preferred embodiment, the semiconductors 1204 are positioned on opposing sides of the heat spreader 1218. The electrical leads 1202 connect the semiconductors 1204 to electrical contact points 1216 at the base of the semiconductor module 1200. In use, electrical contact points 1216 may for example comprise solder balls or bond pads. The electrical contact points 1216 electrically couple the electrical leads 1202 to a transmission channel 1214 on a printed circuit board 1212. Electrical signals are transmitted along the transmission channel 1214 to electrical contact points 1216. The electrical signals are then passed from the electrical contact points 1216 through the electrical leads 1202 to each of the semiconductors 1204.
In this embodiment, the semiconductors 1204, on opposing sides of the heat spreader 1218, are connected to one another in series by the electrical lead 1202. It should be noted that multiple (i.e., more than two) semiconductors 1204 may be connected together in series. The final semiconductor in the series, remote from the transmission channel, electrically couples to a termination resistor 1208. The termination resistor 1208 is preferably thermally coupled to the heat spreader 1218 so that any heat built up in termination resistor 1208 can dissipate through the heat spreader.
The termination resistor 1208 connected in series to the semiconductors 1204 substantially reduces any degradation of the signal caused by a load placed on the signal from the electrical leads 1210, as the signal is not being split as is the case with stubs in existing semiconductor modules. A signal is transmitted from a signal source along the transmission channel 1214, along an electrical lead 1202, to each semiconductor 1204 connected in series, and is terminated at the termination resistor 1208. Furthermore, by incorporating the termination resistor 1208 into the semiconductor module 1200, the need for a termination resistor on the printed circuit board 1214 is eliminated.
This embodiment of the invention is particularly useful now that the memory capacity of individual semiconductors has increased to a point where only a few semiconductors are needed for many applications.
The resistance value of the termination resistor 1208 (
The semiconductors may be electrically coupled in series, where the semiconductors are capable of being electrically coupled to a transmission channel. Moreover, an additional termination resistor may be electrically coupled to the semiconductor not already connected to the termination resistor, where each of the semiconductors is capable of being electrically coupled to a separate transmission channel.
While the foregoing description and drawings represent the preferred embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that various additions, modifications and substitutions may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined in the accompanying claims. In particular, it will be clear to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms, structures, arrangements, proportions, and with other elements, materials, and components, without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The presently disclosed embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims, and not limited to the foregoing description.
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|U.S. Classification||361/58, 361/707|
|International Classification||H02H9/00, H01L23/36, H01L25/065, H01L23/538|
|Cooperative Classification||H01L2924/12032, H05K2201/10674, H01L23/5387, H05K1/0246, H01L23/36, H01L2225/06517, H01L25/0657, H01L2225/06579, H01L2225/06551, H01L2924/3011, H01L24/86, H05K1/189, H05K2201/056, H01L23/367, H05K2201/10022, H01L2225/06589, H05K2201/1056, H05K2201/09445, H01L2225/06586, H01L25/0655, H01L23/4985, H01L2225/0652, H01L2924/3025, H01L2924/19105, H01L2225/06527, H01L2924/14, H05K3/0061, H01L23/552, H01L23/647|
|European Classification||H01L23/36, H01L25/065S, H01L25/065N, H01L23/64R, H01L23/538J, H05K1/18F, H01L23/367, H05K1/02C4R|