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Release No: 147-95
March 24, 1995


The Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) yesterday signed a $19,192,716 cost-shared agreement with Plastic Packaging Consortium, led by National Semiconductor Corporation, Sunnyvale, Calif., to advance the technology and domestic production infrastructure for plastic packaging of integrated circuits. The government's share of funding is $9,578,005, with the balance being supplied by industry. This project is sponsored under the Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP).

The other consortium members are: Amoco Chemical Company, Naperville, Ill.; Leading Technologies Inc., Apollo, Penn.; Delco Electronics Corp., Kokomo Ind.; Dexter Electronic Materials, Olean, N.Y.; IPAC, San Jose, Calif.; Olin Corporation, New Haven, Conn.; Rohm and Hass Company's Plaskon Electronic Materials Inc., Spring House, Penn.; and Sheldahl Inc., Northfield, Minn. Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., will be a subcontractor to National Semiconductor.

Low cost packaging is important for all military systems. In the past, however, military users have been hesitant to use plastic packaging due to concerns about reliability and power dissipation capability. This program will address those concerns through technology enhancements and extensive reliability characterization. As a result, many military applications will be able to achieve substantial cost reductions by adopting plastic packaging.

Furthermore, with defense consumption now below three percent of the total integrated circuit market, it is essential that DoD be able to utilize standard industry packaging approaches while still meeting harsh defense requirements. This program addresses those needs by establishing an on-shore production infrastructure capable of cost-effectively meeting both military and commercial needs.

Plastic packaging is generally the lowest cost approach to provide the necessary protection, thermal management, and electrical connectivity for integrated circuits, and is used for about 98 percent of all integrated circuits. However, in order to meet the complexity, power, performance, and reliability demands of future military and commercial integrated circuits, plastic packaging technology will have to be enhanced. Furthermore, almost all plastic package assembly is done offshore.

This two-year effort will put in place a total industry capability from packaging materials to final assembly, which will be able to meet the future needs of the semiconductor industry with flexible, cost-effective, on-shore production capability. Enhancements will be made in plastic package reliability, power dissipation capability, and signal density, and these capabilities will be demonstrated on a number of military and commercial products.

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