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A semiconductor package is a metal, plastic, glass, or ceramic casing containing one or more discrete semiconductor devices or integrated circuits. Individual components are fabricated on semiconductor wafers (commonly silicon) before being diced into die, tested, and packaged. The package provides a means for connecting it to the external environment, such as printed circuit board, via leads such as lands, balls, or pins; and protection against threats such as mechanical impact, chemical contamination, and light exposure. Additionally, it helps dissipate heat produced by the device, with or without the aid of a heat spreader. There are thousands of package types in use. Some are defined by international, national, or industry standards, while others are particular to an individual manufacturer.
A semiconductor package may have as few as two leads or contacts for devices such as diodes, or in the case of advanced microprocessors, a package may have hundreds of connections. Very small packages may be supported only by their wire leads. Larger devices, intended for high-power applications, are installed in carefully designed heat sinks so that they can dissipate hundred or thousands of watts of waste heat.
In addition to providing connections to the semiconductor and handling waste heat, the semiconductor package must protect the "chip" from the environment, particularly the ingress of moisture. Stray particles or corrosion products inside the package may degrade performance of the device or cause failure.  A hermetic package allows essentially no gas exchange with the surroundings; such construction requires glass, ceramic or metal enclosures.
Manufacturers usually print—using ink or laser marking—the manufacturer's logo and the manufacturer's part number on the package, to make it easier to distinguish the many different and incompatible devices packaged in relatively few kinds of packages. The markings often include a 4 digit date code, often represented as YYWW where YY is replaced by the last two digits of the calendar year and WW is replaced by the two-digit week number,   typically the ISO week number.
Very small packages often include a two-digit date code. One two-digit date code uses YW, where Y is the last digit of the year (0 to 9) and W starts at 1 at the beginning of the year and is incremented every 6 weeks (i.e., W is 1 to 9).  Another two-digit date code, the RKM production date code, use YM, where Y is one of 20 letters that repeat in a cycle every 20 years (for example, "M" was used to represent 1980, 2000, 2020, etc.) and M indicates the month of production (1 to 9 indicate January to September, O indicates October, N indicates November, D indicates December).
To make connections between an integrated circuit and the leads of the package, wire bonds are used, with fine wires connected from the package leads and bonded to conductive pads on the semiconductor die. At the outside of the package, wire leads may be soldered to a printed circuit board or used to secure the device to a tag strip. Modern surface mount devices eliminate most of the drilled holes through circuit boards, and have short metal leads or pads on the package that can be secured by oven-reflow soldering. Aerospace devices in flat packs may use flat metal leads secured to a circuit board by spot welding, though this type of construction is now uncommon.
Early semiconductor devices were often inserted in sockets, like vacuum tubes. As devices improved, eventually sockets proved unnecessary for reliability, and devices were directly soldered to printed circuit boards. The package must handle the high temperature gradients of soldering without putting stress on the semiconductor die or its leads.
Sockets are still used for experimental, prototype, or educational applications, for testing of devices, for high-value chips such as microprocessors where replacement is still more economical than discarding the product, and for applications where the chip contains firmware or unique data that might be replaced or refreshed during the life of the product. Devices with hundreds of leads may be inserted in zero insertion force sockets, which are also used on test equipment or device programmers.
Many devices are molded out of an epoxy plastic that provides adequate protection of the semiconductor devices, and mechanical strength to support the leads and handling of the package. The plastic can be cresol-novolaks, siloxane polyimide, polyxylylene, silicones, polyepoxides and bisbenzocyclo-butene.  Some devices, intended for high-reliability or aerospace or radiation environments, use ceramic packages, with metal lids that are brazed on after assembly, or a glass frit seal. All-metal packages are often used with high power (several watts or more) devices, since they conduct heat well and allow for easy assembly to a heat sink. Often the package forms one contact for the semiconductor device. Lead materials must be chosen with a thermal coefficient of expansion to match the package material.
A very few early semiconductors were packed in miniature evacuated glass envelopes, like flashlight bulbs; such expensive packaging was made obsolete when surface passivation and improved manufacturing techniques were available.  Glass packages are still commonly used with diodes, and glass seals are used in metal transistor packages.
Package materials for high-density dynamic memory must be selected for low background radiation; a single alpha particle emitted by package material can cause a single event upset and transient memory errors (soft errors).
Spaceflight and military applications traditionally used hermetically packaged microcircuits (HPMs). However, most modern integrated circuits are only available as plastic encapsulated microcircuits (PEMs). Proper fabrication practices using properly qualified PEMs can be used for spaceflight. 
Multiple semiconductor dies and discrete components can be assembled on a ceramic substrate and interconnected with wire bonds. The substrate bears leads for connection to an external circuit, and the whole is covered with a welded or frit cover. Such devices are used when requirements exceed the performance (heat dissipation, noise, voltage rating, leakage current, or other properties) available in a single-die integrated circuit, or for mixing analog and digital functions in the same package. Such packages are relatively expensive to manufacture, but provide most of the other benefits of integrated circuits.
A modern example of multi-chip integrated circuit packages would be certain models of microprocessor, which may include separate dies for such things as cache memory within the same package. In a technique called flip chip, digital integrated circuit dies are inverted and soldered to a module carrier, for assembly into large systems.  The technique was applied by IBM in their System/360 computers. 
Semiconductor packages may include special features. Light-emitting or light-sensing devices must have a transparent window in the package; other devices such as transistors may be disturbed by stray light and require an opaque package.  An ultraviolet erasable programmable read-only memory device needs a quartz window to allow ultraviolet light to enter and erase the memory. Pressure-sensing integrated circuits require a port on the package that can be connected to a gas or liquid pressure source.
Packages for microwave frequency devices are arranged to have minimal parasitic inductance and capacitance in their leads. Very-high-impedance devices with ultralow leakage current require packages that do not allow stray current to flow, and may also have guard rings around input terminals. Special isolation amplifier devices include high-voltage insulating barriers between input and output, allowing connection to circuits energized at 1 kV or more.
The very first point-contact transistors used metal cartridge-style packages with an opening that allowed adjustment of the whisker used to make contact with the germanium crystal; such devices were common for only a brief time since more reliable, less labor-intensive types were developed. 
Just like vacuum tubes, semiconductor packages standards may be defined by national or international industry associations such as JEDEC, Pro Electron, or EIAJ, or may be proprietary to a single manufacturer.
The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons using electronic devices. Electronics uses active devices to control electron flow by amplification and rectification, which distinguishes it from classical electrical engineering, which only uses passive effects such as resistance, capacitance and inductance to control electric current flow.
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material, usually silicon. Large numbers of tiny MOSFETs integrate into a small chip. This results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster, and less expensive than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to integrated circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones and other home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs such as modern computer processors and microcontrollers.
Semiconductor device fabrication is the process used to manufacture semiconductor devices, typically integrated circuit (IC) chips such as modern computer processors, microcontrollers, and memory chips such as NAND flash and DRAM that are present in everyday electrical and electronic devices. It is a multiple-step sequence of photolithographic and chemical processing steps during which electronic circuits are gradually created on a wafer made of pure semiconducting material. Silicon is almost always used, but various compound semiconductors are used for specialized applications.
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electrical signals and power. The transistor is one of the basic building blocks of modern electronics. It is composed of semiconductor material, usually with at least three terminals for connection to an electronic circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.
In microelectronics, a dual in-line package, is an electronic component package with a rectangular housing and two parallel rows of electrical connecting pins. The package may be through-hole mounted to a printed circuit board (PCB) or inserted in a socket. The dual-inline format was invented by Don Forbes, Rex Rice and Bryant Rogers at Fairchild R&D in 1964, when the restricted number of leads available on circular transistor-style packages became a limitation in the use of integrated circuits. Increasingly complex circuits required more signal and power supply leads ; eventually microprocessors and similar complex devices required more leads than could be put on a DIP package, leading to development of higher-density chip carriers. Furthermore, square and rectangular packages made it easier to route printed-circuit traces beneath the packages.
Transistor–transistor logic (TTL) is a logic family built from bipolar junction transistors. Its name signifies that transistors perform both the logic function and the amplifying function, as opposed to earlier resistor–transistor logic (RTL) and diode–transistor logic (DTL).
A ball grid array (BGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging used for integrated circuits. BGA packages are used to permanently mount devices such as microprocessors. A BGA can provide more interconnection pins than can be put on a dual in-line or flat package. The whole bottom surface of the device can be used, instead of just the perimeter. The traces connecting the package's leads to the wires or balls which connect the die to package are also on average shorter than with a perimeter-only type, leading to better performance at high speeds.
Surface-mount technology (SMT), originally called planar mounting, is a method in which the electrical components are mounted directly onto the surface of a printed circuit board (PCB). An electrical component mounted in this manner is referred to as a surface-mount device (SMD). In industry, this approach has largely replaced the through-hole technology construction method of fitting components, in large part because SMT allows for increased manufacturing automation which reduces cost and improves quality. It also allows for more components to fit on a given area of substrate. Both technologies can be used on the same board, with the through-hole technology often used for components not suitable for surface mounting such as large transformers and heat-sinked power semiconductors.
A pin grid array (PGA) is a type of integrated circuit packaging. In a PGA, the package is square or rectangular, and the pins are arranged in a regular array on the underside of the package. The pins are commonly spaced 2.54 mm (0.1") apart, and may or may not cover the entire underside of the package.
In electronics manufacturing, integrated circuit packaging is the final stage of semiconductor device fabrication, in which the block of semiconductor material is encapsulated in a supporting case that prevents physical damage and corrosion. The case, known as a "package", supports the electrical contacts which connect the device to a circuit board.
A quad flat package (QFP) is a surface-mounted integrated circuit package with "gull wing" leads extending from each of the four sides. Socketing such packages is rare and through-hole mounting is not possible. Versions ranging from 32 to 304 pins with a pitch ranging from 0.4 to 1.0 mm are common. Other special variants include low-profile QFP (LQFP) and thin QFP (TQFP).
In electronics, through-hole technology is a manufacturing scheme in which leads on the components are inserted through holes drilled in printed circuit boards (PCB) and soldered to pads on the opposite side, either by manual assembly or by the use of automated insertion mount machines.
A hybrid integrated circuit (HIC), hybrid microcircuit, hybrid circuit or simply hybrid is a miniaturized electronic circuit constructed of individual devices, such as semiconductor devices and passive components, bonded to a substrate or printed circuit board (PCB). A PCB having components on a Printed Wiring Board (PWB) is not considered a true hybrid circuit according to the definition of MIL-PRF-38534.
Electronic packaging is the design and production of enclosures for electronic devices ranging from individual semiconductor devices up to complete systems such as a mainframe computer. Packaging of an electronic system must consider protection from mechanical damage, cooling, radio frequency noise emission and electrostatic discharge. Product safety standards may dictate particular features of a consumer product, for example, external case temperature or grounding of exposed metal parts. Prototypes and industrial equipment made in small quantities may use standardized commercially available enclosures such as card cages or prefabricated boxes. Mass-market consumer devices may have highly specialized packaging to increase consumer appeal. Electronic packaging is a major discipline within the field of mechanical engineering.
In electronics, TO-3 is a designation for a standardized metal semiconductor package used for power semiconductors, including transistors, silicon controlled rectifiers, and, integrated circuits. TO stands for "Transistor Outline" and relates to a series of technical drawings produced by JEDEC.
The thermal copper pillar bump, also known as the "thermal bump", is a thermoelectric device made from thin-film thermoelectric material embedded in flip chip interconnects for use in electronics and optoelectronic packaging, including: flip chip packaging of CPU and GPU integrated circuits (chips), laser diodes, and semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA). Unlike conventional solder bumps that provide an electrical path and a mechanical connection to the package, thermal bumps act as solid-state heat pumps and add thermal management functionality locally on the surface of a chip or to another electrical component. The diameter of a thermal bump is 238 μm and 60 μm high.
Electronic components have a wide range of failure modes. These can be classified in various ways, such as by time or cause. Failures can be caused by excess temperature, excess current or voltage, ionizing radiation, mechanical shock, stress or impact, and many other causes. In semiconductor devices, problems in the device package may cause failures due to contamination, mechanical stress of the device, or open or short circuits.
In electronics, a chip carrier is one of several kinds of surface-mount technology packages for integrated circuits. Connections are made on all four edges of a square package; compared to the internal cavity for mounting the integrated circuit, the package overall size is large.
Chip on board (COB) is a method of circuit board manufacturing in which the integrated circuits are attached to a printed circuit board, and covered by a blob of epoxy. By eliminating the packaging of individual semiconductor devices, the completed product can be more compact, lighter, and less costly. In some cases, COB construction improves the operation of radio frequency systems by reducing the inductance and capacitance of integrated circuit leads.