There is a saying in real estate; when land get expensive, multi-storied buildings are the alternative solution. We have a similar situation in the chip industry. For the past thirty years, chip designers have considered whether building integrated circuits multiple layers might create cheaper, more powerful chips.
Performance of deep-sub micrometer very large scale integrated (VLSI) circuits is being increasingly dominated by the interconnects due to increasing wire pitch and increasing die size. Additionally, heterogeneous integration of different technologies on one single chip is becoming increasingly desirable, for which planar (2-D) ICs may not be suitable.
The three dimensional (3-D) chip design strategy exploits the vertical dimension to alleviate the interconnect related problems and to facilitate heterogeneous integration of technologies to realize system on a chip (SoC) design. By simply dividing a planar chip into separate blocks, each occupying a separate physical level interconnected by short and vertical interlayer interconnects (VILICs), significant improvement in performance and reduction in wire-limited chip area can be achieved.
In the 3-Ddesign architecture, an entire chip is divided into a number of blocks, and each block is placed on a separate layer of Si that are stacked on top of each other.