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Taiwan unveils new 3D-IC technology for 'super chips'

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) unveiled on Tuesday a new three-dimensional integrated circuit (3D-IC) technology that it said can be used to make “super chips.”

The laboratory said it has spent NT$500 million (US$16.61 million) over the past 10 years developing the “Monolithic 3D-IC” technology, which chip makers can use to stack multiple layers of chips, allowing for more functions at a lower power consumption level.

“We have developed a very critical core technology in line with industrial trends,” said Shieh Jia-min, who is in charge of the project.

Currently, only French research-and-technology organization Leti is working on a similar Monolithic technology, but the NARL can provide better performance and offer more components with its solution, Shieh said.

The new technology enables 150 layers of chips to fit in space once used to stack a mere two chips using traditional technology, and helps improve signal propagation speed, provides a higher order of connectivity and offers new design possibilities, Shieh said.

Shen Chang-hong, another researcher on the team, told CNA that a Taiwanese flat panel maker is currently collaborating with the team and plans to release new products using the technology in April at the earliest.

“We're promoting technical cooperation at the moment, and looking forward to technology transfer in the future,” Shen said.

The laboratory plans to enhance the technology and expects it to mature to a level suitable for use by memory chip makers or contract chip makers within five years, he said. The technology can benefit the telematics, aerospace, cloud computing and information and communications sectors, according to researchers.

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