This website requires JavaScript.

A Comprehensive Guide to IC Package Technology

Blog  /  A Comprehensive Guide to IC Package Technology

A Comprehensive Guide to IC Package Technology

Apr 12, 2024

What is IC package?

IC packaging is the process of packaging electronic components (such as chips, transistors, capacitors, resistors, etc.) into specific shapes and sizes so that they can be easily mounted on a PCB and connected to a circuit. Encapsulation not only provides mechanical protection but also offers electrical connections and thermal management functions.

IC package

IC package type and size

IC package types and sizes vary depending on the component type, function, and application. The following are common IC package types and their general sizes:

Surface Mount Device (SMD)

QFP (Quad Flat Package) is a larger PCB footprint commonly used for ICs and integrated circuits. Common sizes include 7x7mm, 10x10mm, 14x14mm, etc., and the number of pins ranges from dozens to hundreds.

Surface Mount Device

BGA (Ball Grid Array)

BGA packages typically have spherical pads, with a package pitch generally ranging from 0.75mm to 1.0mm, and the number of pins can vary from dozens to hundreds.

Features: BGA packaging is suitable for high-performance chips and large-scale integrated circuits, offering good heat dissipation and electrical performance.

BGA (Ball Grid Array)

SOIC (Small Outline Integrated Circuit) is a common type of integrated circuit packaging. It has a compact shape and a small pitch pin layout, making it suitable for packaging medium-sized integrated circuits. The sizes are usually 3x3mm, 5x5mm, 7x7mm, etc., and the number of pins generally ranges from 8 to 48.

Plug-in Packaging (THT) - Through hole technology component packages

DIP (Dual Inline Package)

The common size is 7.62mm (0.3 inches) pitch, and the number of pins ranges from 8 to hundreds.

Dual Inline Package

TO-220 packages

TO-220 packages are typically used for power devices. They are approximately 10x15mm in size and have three pins.

TO-220 packages


The dimensions are approximately 5x5mm, with a pin count of 3.

Plug-in Packaging

Other Package Types

COB (Chip on Board)

The chip is directly mounted on the PCB. The package size is typically very small and is commonly used in compact equipment and products with high integration requirements.

Chip on Board

PLCC (Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier)

is typically used for highly integrated digital circuits. The package size is approximately 20x20mm, and the number of pins usually ranges from 20 to 84.

Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier

The IC package contains what information?

  • Package type: Indicate the package type of the component, such as QFP, BGA, SMD, etc.

  • Package size: Describes the overall dimensions of the package, usually expressed in terms of length, width, and height.

  • Pin layout refers to the arrangement of pins in a pin package, which can be single row, double row, grid, etc.

  • Pin Count: This term refers to the number of pins in the package, which dictates the function of the component and the number of interfaces.

  • Material Type: The packaging material type, such as plastic, ceramic, etc., influences the mechanical strength, heat resistance, and other characteristics of the package.

  • Pad Information: Describes the location, shape, and size of solder pins to ensure proper solder connections.

  • Thermal management involves designing and setting parameters for heat dissipation structures for high-power components to ensure they operate within the normal temperature range.

  • Package Identification: The package may contain the manufacturer's logo, model number, date code, and other information for traceability and identification.

  • Pin function: For complex packages, a functional description of the pin may be included to guide correct circuit connections.

  • Environmental adaptability: This refers to the package's ability to adapt to different environments, including being waterproof, dustproof, and other characteristics.

This information is crucial for designing and producing PCB boards to ensure that components are correctly integrated into the circuit, meeting design requirements and performance specifications.

For IC packaging, there are specific internationally applicable standards that define packages, schematic symbols, and 3D models.

1. IPC 7351 (PCB Packaging)

The standard package library launched by IPC defines the physical size, pin layout, and pad design of standard SMD component packages. This makes it easier for PCB designers to directly utilize standard packages during the design process.

2. ANSI Y32.2-1975 (Schematic Symbols)

The standard defines symbols for various electrical and electronic components, such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, operational switches, power supplies, sensors, connectors, etc. Each component symbol has a unique shape and identification that is utilized to represent the component's type and function in the schematic.

3.ISO 10303-21 (3D model)

The ISO 10303-21 standard defines the file format used for STEP models that can be imported into 3D CAD software. The standard is more of a file format specification than a requirement for encapsulating drawing components.

ISO 10303-21

Rules to Follow When Designing IC Packages

  • Package size: It is important to ensure that the size and shape of the package meet the component specifications to avoid being either too large or too small. Incorrect sizing may lead to installation difficulties or electrical problems.

  • Pin arrangement: Pay attention to the arrangement of the pins. Avoid overlapping or placing them too densely. Ensure there is sufficient spacing between pins for soldering.

  • Pad design: It is important to determine the correct pad size and shape, taking into account welding quality and reliability, and to avoid poor welding caused by excessive or insufficient welding.

  • Thermal Heat Dissipation: Design suitable heat dissipation structures for components requiring heat dissipation to maintain the components' operating temperature within a safe range.

  • Symbol marking: Design an accurate symbolic representation of the package in the schematic diagram to aid identification and comprehension by designers and maintenance personnel.

  • 3D Model: This feature offers a 3D representation of the package following IPC standards to assist with PCB layout and collision detection.

  • Prohibited Areas: Ensure there are sufficient prohibited areas designated during the package design process to prevent collisions with other components or packages.

  • Manufacturability Considerations: It is important to consider limitations in the PCB manufacturing and assembly process during the design phase to ensure that the design aligns with actual production requirements.

How to Choose the Correct IC Package

Different IC packaging types

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) packaging is suitable for small electronic products like smartphones, tablets, etc.

Plug-in packaging is suitable for applications that require larger electrical and mechanical connections, such as industrial control systems and automotive electronics.

System-in-Package (SiP) packaging integrates multiple functional modules into one package to provide higher integration and performance.

Ball Grid Array (BGA) package features a high-density solder ball array designed for high-performance and high-power applications.

2. Determine functional and performance requirements

Signal integrity is crucial. It is important to consider the quality and stability of signal transmission when selecting a packaging type that can meet the signal requirements. For high-frequency or high-speed signals, it is essential to select a package with excellent signal integrity.

Size restrictions: Choose the suitable package size according to the space limitations of the PCB and the needs of the assembly process. Ensure that the package size matches the PCB layout to prevent installation issues resulting from a size mismatch.

3. Consider cooling and thermal management

For integrated circuits (ICs) that need to handle high power, heat dissipation and thermal management are crucial considerations. Choosing a package with a good heat dissipation design, such as one with heat dissipation pins or a heat sink plate, can effectively dissipate heat and prevent the integrated circuit (IC) from overheating.

4. Consider layout and routing

The layout and pinout of the package are critical for the performance and reliability of the circuit. Make sure the package you choose matches your PCB layout to ensure good signal integrity and electrical connections.

5. Cost and Supply Chain Availability

Finally, consider the cost and availability of the supply chain. Some packaging types may be more expensive or have tighter supply chains than others. Therefore, consider the cost versus performance and ensure that the packaging you select can meet your project requirements and timelines.