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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Taking a Look at Wafer-Level Packaging

Meeting consumer demand for increased features on camera phones and other mobile devices
An image sensor packaged at wafer level and provided with a ball grid array interface to simplify and reduce the cost of attachment to a printed circuit board.
Comparison of a conventional cell phone camera with an OptiML module from Tessera.
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By Barry Hochfelder

Mobile devices have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. Cell phones alone are everywhere. In East Africa, for example, there is one doctor for every 50,000 people, yet 97 percent of the population has access to a cell phone.

An analysis of the mobile phone market by Gartner Dataquest (Stamford, Conn.) shows mobile phone trends rising from about 800 million units in 2005 to 1.4 billion next year. This includes basic phones, enhanced phones and smart phones.

Most of these phones have digital cameras and consumers are demanding even more functions and features. One way to provide all much of this—including better resolution on the cameras—is with wafer-level packaging (WLP).

“Wafer level is becoming by far the most prevalent packaging,” says Mike Bereziuk, Executive VP Imaging & Optics at Tessera (San Jose, Calif.). “In 2007, about 39 percent of CMOS sensors were in wafer-level packages. They project that by 2012 it will be over 76 percent.”

What is it?

Wafer-level packaging is simply the technology of packaging an integrated

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