Semiconductor designers focus on developing devices including BGAs, flip chips, MCMs, stack dies and lead frame packages. Engineers in this sector face a number of challenges — many of them multidisciplinary, centering on mechanical, thermal and electromagnetic. The driving force in the industry is the continuing need to reduce feature size: The latest processors use transistors with features of 28 nanometers or smaller. Thermally, this reduction results in increased power densities with higher junction temperatures and larger thermal variations across the die and package. In addition, package designers must deal with the increasing geometric complexities of newer package types such as MCMs and stack dies. Designs must include board and system-level effects.

HFSS can produce accurate models of connectors, transitions and vias for use in a comprehensive system simulation using DesignerSI.

In the mechanical discipline, nonlinear behaviors come into play in semiconductor design, including fatigue, delamination, creep, buckling and fracture. Engineers must also address increasing geometric complexity, nonlinear material properties, and multidisciplinary behaviors like thermomechanical stress or joule heating.

Increased governmental regulations complicate semiconductor design, with the expectation of greener manufacturing processes and lead-free semiconductor packages. In the electromagnetics arena, designers face increasing signal speeds and lower power consumption requirements, leading to more challenging power-and signal-integrity solutions as well as increasing incidents of electromagnetic interference within the high-speed channel.