Illustrations of IC packages, from 2D to 3D
In five words or less, can you describe what a semiconductor is? Some might say it’s a computer chip, others might say it’s ‘space magic’, but I dare say most people have never heard that word before and would simply say “I have no idea”. I was certainly part of the latter group before starting my internship at Amkor Technology where I was hired as a 3D illustrator to create realistic packaging illustrations. Now, after 3 years in this role, I can confidently say that semiconductors are the “devices that connect our world”.
It’s no secret that there are plenty of semiconductor illustrations on the internet that paint a pretty decent picture of a package’s form and function and how the substrate, dies or components stack up . However, these illustrations are often drafted in PowerPoint or Word (Figure 1), where they are crude, granular, or not scaled due to the limited feature set of these programs. Not only that, but when images are constantly cropped or shared, the images tend to get compressed or reduced in quality and the original message the artist or engineer wanted to convey gets lost in the pixels. When it comes to communicating the concepts of certain packages to our clients and colleagues, precision, realism and quality become non-negotiable.
Fig. 1: PowerPoint section of module M.2.
Throughout my internship, I used Dassault Systèmes’ SOLIDWORKS computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw substrates, dielectrics, solder masks, vias, dies, wire links and everything you can imagine in a semiconductor package. What started out as flat, blocky images now have depth and scale that can be interpreted by a customer or an engineer. What really elevates the artwork in the package comes from the materials database found natively in the program. Here I can pop green and polymeric solder masks, wirebonds like gold, silver, or even epoxy, and slimy underfill. The possibilities are endless and the ability to export these files as realistic renders sets them apart from their counterparts.
Fig. 2: 3D isometric rendering of the SOLIDWORKS M.2 module.
Redrawing package illustrations has become an important part of my workflow and the more I learn about semiconductor packages, the more accurate my illustrations can become, and therefore the more intellectual information Amkor can have at its disposal. Rendering cross-sections, creating 3D isometric packages (Figure 2) that show internal components, or even generating new package concepts with guidance from engineers has become a brand essential that I have been able to support here at Amkor. In this role, I am grateful for the opportunity to help our engineers and customers conceptualize semiconductor packages a little better.
Tyler DeHaan joined Amkor in 2020 and currently works in the R&D Design Center as a design engineer creating intricate and in-depth 2D and 3D IC package illustrations. Previously, he was a 3D illustration intern in Amkor’s marketing communications department. DeHaan holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University.