This study has investigated the state of the art of 3D packaging technologies, the associated vertical interconnection techniques, and emphasised the importance and the impact of such technology on systems performance. This was demonstrated through a collection of diverse systems that have been implemented using this packaging technology. From these systems, there is no doubt that 3D packaging does enhance the system performance and reduces the size, weight, delay, power consumption, etc. Moreover, such technology enables the implementation of systems whose requirements can not be met using conventional packaging technologies. It is believed that 3D packaging technology is a must for the implementation of most high performance systems, because it represents a key to the development of advanced microelectronic systems with small size, light weight and low power requirements.
Even though 3D packaging technology provides a lot of advantages over conventional packaging technologies, it adds more challenges to the system design in terms of thermal management and system complexity. These challenges are expected to significantly reduce with advances in packaging technologies. The cost and `time-to-delivery' are other types of challenges that have arisen due to the high cost of the infrastructure required for 3D packaging and the reluctance of manufacturing companies to exploit this technology. The last two challenges will ease, when manufacturing companies realise that they can not avoid recourse to 3D technology in the design of high performance systems. As a matter of fact, a good number of companies and organisations have already recognised the potential of such technology and its impact on their products and systems. Some of these organisations and companies are Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), Department of Defense (DoD), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Night Vision Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD), Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Hughes Aircraft Company, Irvine Sensors, Texas Instruments, Thomson-CFS and many other companies. These companies and organisations are working in areas such as spacecraft, aerospace, satellites, defensive missiles, surveillance, security systems, high performance computing, real time image processing, high density memories, sensors and telemetry.
As a result, it is believed that 3D technology is now sufficiently mature to enable the successful development and implementation of a 3D demonstration device, which is one of the goals of this program. This is discussed as part of a research and development plan in the accompanying Plan document, and will feed into the DSTO long term strategic planning for design and development of systems that have requirements that can not be meet using conventional packaging techniques.