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This seminar presents the topic of the recently completed EU project 3D-MUSE. In particular it will demonstrate the viewpoint of a mixed signal integrated circuit designer of the emerging sequential 3D integration technology. This technology allows for an order of magnitude higher connection density between 3D tiers as opposed to the well established parallel 3D integration or wafer level bonding technologies, i.e. nearing 10^8 interconnections per mm^2, corresponding to a 3D contact pitch of 100nm. Combining different CMOS technology nodes this way offers unique design opportunities in particular for mixed-signal integrated circuits.
The 3D-MUSE project wants to spearhead the progression from what we shall refer to as 'systems-in-stack' to true 'systems-in-cube' that 3D sequential integration will enable. We define the former as a 3D system that is characterized by locating functional blocks within a single plane in the 3D packaging integration stack, while the latter makes use of the full emancipation of the interconnect density in the third dimension of sequential 3D integration and rather implements functional blocks in a volume comprising multiple tiers. We demonstrated this concept by conceiving novel architectures for micro circuits in a volume in a two tier 3D sequential integration process. In particular, we have identified mixed-signal circuits as, on one hand, a major bottleneck for functional performance scaling of sensor nodes and smart sensors in the IoT and cyberphysical systems, and on the other hand, excellent candidates for beneficial trade-offs when implemented as circuits in a volume with using two specialized tiers, one for analog device options and another for optimal digital designs.