Swedish startup to shrink IC packaging with carbon nanofibers

June 07, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Founded in 2005 after having secured a number of patents leveraging the growth of carbon nanofibers (CNFs) on different substrates, Swedish startup Smoltek believes CNFs will play an essential role in shrinking IC packaging.

Smoltek's core technology platform, SmolGROW is what the company claims to be the only process that enables controlled growth of conductive nanostructures at 390°C using CMOS compliant materials and processes. With this low-temperature CNF growth well under control, the company has secured an IP portfolio covering a number of applications including dense 2.5/3D stacking (SmolINPO), ultra-fine pitch interconnects (SmolINCO), integrated capacitors for energy storage or decoupling (SmolCACH), but also thermal interface materials (SmolTIM) for high performance RF and power electronics components and SmolNIL, making use of the CNFs to fabricate high aspect ratio structures through nano imprint lithography (the CNFs have a typical diameter of 50 to 100nm, being from 2 to 150 micrometres long, depending on process parameters).

Contemplating an IP licensing business model, Smoltek's Chief Innovation Officer & Founder Dr. M. Shafiq Kabir shared his insights with EETimes Europe.

"We will licence our IP to both OSATs and foundries so they can offer the process to their customers on top of silicon, either to integrate new discrete components like our SmolCACH, or to integrate the CNFs in new packaging strategies" Kabir said in an interview.


A forest of CNFs grown onto a metal IC bond pad.

"We are also working on a Process Design Kit (PDK) for the vertical integration of our process into the IC design flow, because everyone has to be aligned to optimize IC and package integration".