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As electronic packages become increasingly complex, designing and building a cost-effective, robust product in a timely manner has become one of the biggest challenges facing packaging specialists. The increased need for higher silicon density drives packaging engineers to use stacked die (SCSP) and stacked package (POP) configurations. Some of key material challenges related to these packages include: 1) DDF Die Attach Film thin die stacking processes, 2) FOW Die Attach Film for same-size die stacking, 3) Spacer Die Attach Paste, an alternative to FOW for reduced cost, 4) Molding compounds with targeted performance for thin stacked die packages, 5) "Material Sets" in which the above products are combined to ensure system compatibility, reliability, and ultimately a much lower total cost of ownership overall In this paper, we discuss the "materials systems" approach used to identify and optimize the packaging materials needed to address these challenges for complex high density IC packaging. Examples highlight the need for materials systems optimization as well as the need to collaborate with packaging engineers early in the design stage of a new package.