TSVs were adopted in production a few years ago for MEMS and CMOS Image Sensors (CIS).
"Driven by consumer applications such as smartphones and tablets, this market is expected to continue to grow over the next several years. For high end memories, 2015 will be the turning point for 3D adoption”, says Yole's Thibault Buisson, “Standards have now been established, therefore the industry will be ready to enter in high-volume manufacturing. Wide I/Os and logic-on-logic will follow, most probably around 2016-2017."
Emerging applications, such as photonics based on interposer, are also being developed for future products. However, their market entrance is most likely not going to happen before 2019-2020.
Today, 3DIC is still driven by the need to increase performance and functionality, and to reduce form factor and cost.
In the CMOS Image Sensor application the evolution of TSV has never stopped. Sony, leader of the CMOS Image Sensor, by using a full-filled TSV and via last approach to stack the CIS onto a CMOS die, was able to more efficiently utilize (90%) of its die surface area for the pixel array while decreasing the size of the die.
This technology, called Exmor, is using a 3D stacked integration approach, and, currently is the new trend for this type of devices as it enables a smaller die size and faster on-chip processing.
The path is open for the heterogeneous integration of devices: MEMS are being integrated onto ASIC dies connected with TSVs (such as mCube, Bosch, with their accelerometer products, and others), and 3D stacked devices with integrated passives for medical applications.