Semiconductor and Electronics


ABF Substrate: Paving the Way for the Next Frontier of High-Performance Devices

Author : Priyanka | March 12, 2024

Imagine a world where your smartphone, computer, and countless other electronic devices work faster, smarter, and more efficiently than ever before. At the heart of these technological marvels lies a crucial component known as the ABF substrate. This substrate plays a vital role in the creation of nanometer-scale electronic circuits that power the devices we rely on every day.

So, let's dive in and explore more about this remarkable substrate.

What is the ABF Substrate?

ABF substrate, or Ajinomoto Build-up Film substrate, is an essential material used in advanced semiconductor manufacturing. It is a thin-film dielectric that provides electrical insulation for circuit substrates in various industries. ABF facilitates the formation of micrometer-scale circuits and is receptive to laser processing and direct copper plating, making it crucial for connecting nanoscale electronic circuits to millimeter-scale electronic components in electronic equipment and systems.

The demand for ABF material has been on the rise due to the surging demand for 5G technology, high-performance computing, servers, and GPUs, along with the expanding automotive industry. According to the latest report by Kings Research, the global ABF substrate market is likely to be valued at $4,399.5 million by 2030.

Pros of Using ABF Substrate in Semiconductor Manufacturing

An ABF substrate offers various benefits in semiconductor manufacturing. Some of these key advantages include:

  • It provides essential electrical insulation for semiconductor chips
  • It ensures electrical connectivity for different chip components
  • It facilitates the formation of micrometer-scale circuits
  • It enables the development of advanced technologies such as 5G and high-performance computing
  • It helps meet the demands of various industries, such as the automotive sector, as well as high-tech devices.

5 Major Application Areas of ABF Substrate

Ajinomoto build-up film substrate is utilized in various industries due to its crucial role in semiconductor manufacturing and its ability to meet the demands of advanced technologies. Some of the key applications include:

1. Semiconductor Industry

ABF is a key component in chip manufacturing, providing electrical insulation for circuit substrates in high-performance CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, networking ICs, and automotive processors. It facilitates the formation of micrometer-scale circuits and is receptive to laser processing and direct copper plating. It enables the connection of nanoscale electronic circuits to millimeter-scale electronic components in electronic equipment and systems.

2. Automotive Industry

In the automotive industry, ABFs are often used in high-performance computing (HPC) and graphic processing units (GPUs). The strong demand for these substrates is attributed to their use in addressing the shortage with in-line monitoring, especially in the context of 5G, HPC, servers, and GPU.

3. Packaging and IC Manufacturing

In packaging and IC manufacturing, ABF substrate is used as an insulating layer that protects semiconductor chips and ensures electrical connectivity for different components of integrated circuits (ICs). It is a fundamental material for high-performance computing applications and is essential for advanced substrate packaging.

4. 5G, High-Performance Computing, and Servers

ABF serves as an essential element in the across-the-board adoption of 5G technology due to its exceptional electrical properties and high-frequency capacities. The strong demand for 5G in various industrial applications has contributed to the increasing revenue and demand for ABFs.

5. AI and Advanced Chip Designs

With the shift in demand from consumer devices to more enterprise-related applications, such as AI (artificial intelligence) and servers. The use of ABF content drives efficient manufacturing and more advanced chip designs.

Latest Innovations in ABF Substrate Field

Below are novel advancements in the field of Ajinomoto build-up film substrate:

  • Advanced Packaging Techniques

Advanced packaging techniques and material innovations are enhancing integration levels, thermal management, and electrical performance on ABFs.

For example, Kinsus is building new ABF-based substrate production lines to address the significant shortages of packaging substrates made from ABF, particularly for complex ICs.

  • Eco-Friendly Substrates

ABFs are recognized for their eco-friendly properties, contributing to reduced environmental impact and aligning with sustainable manufacturing practices. Growing demand for eco-friendly substrates with low environmental impact and recyclability is driving innovation in this industry.

To meet this demand, companies like Nan Ya are increasing their investment in ABF substrate production. Additionally, there are efforts to monitor capacity and reserve capacity in advance to increase demand for eco-friendly substrates.

  • Advanced Capabilities

The advent of technologies like 5G has fueled the need for ABF-based substrates capable of handling high-frequency signals and high-speed data transmission. Material innovations have enhanced integration levels, thermal management, and electrical performance, making ABFs an essential material for high-performance computing applications.

  • Server-Grade CPUs/GPUs

The demand for high computational power, particularly in server-grade CPUs and GPUs and AI applications, has risen, leading to increased quantities and upgraded specifications of server-grade CPUs and GPUs. Additionally, developments in chipset packaging technology have significantly boosted the use of ABF-based substrate materials.

In this field, Unimicron Technology produces IC substrates featuring insulating ABF. They have been experiencing yield issues with their products, which have been resolved by using ABF substrates for various processors, including server-grade CPUs and GPUs.

  • Integration of Nanometer-Scale Electronic Circuits

Technological advancements in circuit integration have facilitated the development of CPUs made of nanometer-scale electronic circuits. These circuits are mainly connected to millimeter-scale electronic components in electronic machines and systems. ABF enables the easy creation of these micrometer-scale circuits, as its surface is receptive to laser processing and direct copper plating.

For example, the Ajinomoto Group uses ABFs for the production of nanometer-scale electronic circuits. These substrates also facilitate the interconnection of electronics in devices, such as CPUs and GPUs, which play a vital role in high-performance computing and other advanced applications.

In a Nutshell

The evolution of ABF substrates reflects a dynamic and promising future for semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging technology. The remarkable benefits of ABFs underscore their pivotal role in meeting the escalating demand for high-performance computing and semiconductor chips.

As the industry continues to embrace sustainable and efficient production methods, coupled with in-line monitoring and defect inspection, the trajectory of ABF substrate materials is poised to observe continued growth and innovation. With their potential to drive progress in diverse sectors such as networking, servers, and electric vehicles, ABFs stand as a key enabler of the technological landscape, promising enhanced performance, reliability, and sustainability for future semiconductor applications.

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