Digital technology provider Intel will use glass substrates in the manufacture of its electronic chips.

The Silicon Valley based technology group said it had developed the glass substrate which will allow it to create denser and more efficient chips. In a chip, the substrate is the material on which the silicon layers rest.

It makes it possible to reinforce their structural rigidity and to redistribute the signals between the different elements.

The organisation said that compared to today’s organic substrates, glass offers distinctive properties such as ultra-low flatness and better thermal and mechanical stability, resulting in much higher interconnect density in a substrate.

These benefits will allow chip architects to create high-density, high-performance chip packages for data-intensive workloads such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Intel said it was on track to deliver complete glass substrate solutions to the market in the second half of this decade.

By the end of the decade, the semiconductor industry will likely reach its limits on being able to scale transistors on a silicon package using organic materials, which use more power and include limitations like shrinkage and warping.

Scaling is crucial to the progress and evolution of the semiconductor industry, and glass substrates are a viable and essential next step for the next generation of semiconductors.

As the demand for more powerful computing increases and the semiconductor industry moves into the heterogeneous era that uses multiple “chiplets” in a package, improvements in signalling speed, power delivery, design rules and stability of package substrates will be essential.

Glass substrates possess superior mechanical, physical and optical properties that allow for more transistors to be connected in a package, providing better scaling and enabling assembly of larger chiplet complexes (called “system-in-package”) compared to organic substrates in use today.

Chip architects will have the ability to pack more tiles – also called chiplets – in a smaller footprint on one package, while achieving performance and density gains with greater flexibility and lower overall cost and power usage.

Glass substrates will initially be introduced into the market where they can be leveraged the most: applications and workloads requiring larger form factor packages such as data centres, AI, graphics and higher speed capabilities.

Glass substrates can tolerate higher temperatures, offer 50% less pattern distortion, and have ultra-low flatness for improved depth of focus for lithography, and have the dimensional stability needed for extremely tight layer-to-layer interconnect overlay.

As a result of these properties, a 10x increase in interconnect density is possible on glass substrates.