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NDEE Faculty and Alumnus Obtain Quilt Packaging Patent

Leslie Lestinsky • DATE: November 27, 2018

Indiana Integrated Circuits (IIC), a start-up company founded by University of Notre Dame, Department of Electrical Engineering (NDEE) faculty and alumni, has obtained its thirteenth patent–in addition to 12 pending United States and international patents–related to their Quilt Packaging technology. NDEE faculty researchers/inventors associated with IIC are Gary Bernstein, Patrick Fay and Wolfgang Porod, as well as  NDEE alumnus, Jason Kulick. This particular patent was a result of the joint efforts of NDEE professors Scott Howard, Doug Hall, Anthony Hoffman and Gary Bernstein.

Quilt Packaging is a revolutionary integrated circuit packaging concept that combines the functions of several individual components into a single “quilt”. This particular patent protects optical Quilt Packaging, which is used for chip-to-chip integration of photonic devices such as lasers, fiber optics, waveguides and photodetectors.

Kulick commented, “Our innovative microelectronics technology is game-changing for system performance. It enables ultra-wide bandwidths and ultra-low loss in heterogeneous integration with applications across a wide range of markets.” 

Quilt Packaging

Potential fields of use for this Quilt Packaging patent include fiber optics for communication, high-throughput data links for cellular backhaul and high-performance computing, lidar for vehicle sensing in autonomous vehicles, and spectroscopy for chemical/biomedical detection. IIC works closely with companies specializing in defense systems, automotive power electronics, radio frequency/microwave systems, power conversion, sensors, and biomedical fields.

Integrated circuits, or “chips,” can perform many different tasks, including computing, storing data, communicating wirelessly, controlling large amounts of power, and much more. They are typically placed into protective packages, mounted on printed circuit boards and communicate with other chips of various types through a variety of structures. Those structures include minuscule wires, solder balls, the package, and the printed circuit board. All of this complexity is expensive and costs time and energy in the communication process. Quilt Packaging greatly reduces the cost and complexity of chip-to-chip communication paths by using small metal structures called nodules, that stick off the edges of one chip and interlock with the mating structure of another chip. In this fashion, the contact length is greatly reduced, resulting in higher performance than any existing interconnect method.

IIC co-founder and NDEE Frank M. Freimann Professor Gary Bernstein commented, “I'm very enthusiastic about the energy and excitement that Jason and the IIC team have generated for the company and our technology. They have done a fantastic job of moving the technology forward with this new patent and others. I expect this next year will be very exciting for the company.”

IIC, founded in 2009, began full-time operation in 2011 and is located in South Bend, Indiana. For more information about IIC, visit: www.indianaic.com