IC category

Imec and Cadence Tape Out Industry’s First 3nm Processor Chip

Nanoelectronics research institute IMEC and Cadence Design Systems have worked together to produce a tape-out for the industry’s first 64bit processor core as a test chip to be built in a nominal 3nm node. The tape-out project, geared toward advancing 3nm chip design, was completed using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and 193 immersion (193i) lithography-oriented design rules and Cadence tools.

Cadence and Imec have created and validated GDS files using a modified Cadence tool flow. It is based on a metal stack using a 21-nm routing pitch and a 42-nm contacted poly pitch created with data from a metal layer made in an earlier experiment. The Cadence tools used include the Innovus implementation system that makes use of massively parallel computation for the physical implementation system to achieve power, performance, and area (PPA) targets. The Genus synthesis tool provides RTL synthesis that addresses FinFET process node requirements.

IMEC utilized a standard industry’s 64-bit CPU for the design with a custom 3nm standard cell library. For the project, EUV and 193i lithography rules were tested to provide the required resolution, while providing PPA comparison under two different patterning assumptions.

Imec is starting work on the masks and lithography, initially aiming to use double-patterning EUV and self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP) immersion processes. Over time, Imec hopes to optimize the process to use a single pass in the EUV scanner. Ultimately, fabs may migrate to a planned high-numerical-aperture version of today’s EUV systems to make 3-nm chips.

Besides the finer features, the first two layers of 3-nm chips may use different metalization techniques and metals such as cobalt, said Ryoung-Han Kim, an R&D group manager at Imec. The node is also expected to use new transistor designs such as nanowires or nanosheets rather than the FinFETs utilized in today’s 16-nm and finer processes.

As process dimensions reduce to the 3nm node, interconnect variation becomes much more significant,” said An Steegen, executive vice president for semiconductor technology and systems at Imec. “Our work on the test chip has enabled interconnect variation to be measured and improved and the 3nm manufacturing process to be validated. Also, the Cadence digital solutions offered everything needed for this 3nm implementation. Due to Cadence’s well-integrated flow, the solutions were easy to use, which helped our engineering team stay productive when developing the 3nm rule set.

Imex and Cadence are achieving new milestones together with this new 3nm tape-out, which can transform the future of mobile designs at advanced nodes. For more information on EUV technology and 193i technology, see the article about it here.

Dual 15A or Single 30A µModule Regulator with Stacked Inductor Package is 96% Peak Efficient

Analog Devices  announces the Power by Linear LTM4662, a dual 15A or single 30A step-down µModule regulator in a BGA package with an exposed stacked inductor for improved thermal dissipation properties. The remaining components, the MOSFETs, DC/DC controller and supporting components, are over-moulded and the complete device is housed in a 11.25mm x 15mm x 5.74mm BGA package. With limited airflow, the LTM4662 is easily cooled because the inductor transfers heat from the power stage to the surrounding ambient air. The LTM4662 performs at up to 96% peak efficiency, enabling it to deliver a full 30A continuously at 12VIN to 1.0VOUT at 70°C ambient with 200LFM airflow. With the dual regulator design, small package size and precise voltage accuracy, the LTM4662 meets the PCB area constraints of densely populated system boards to power low voltage and high current devices such as FPGAs, ASICs, microprocessors and GPUs. Applications include PCIe boards, communication infrastructure, cloud computing-based systems, as well as medical, industrial, and test & measurement equipment.

The LTM4662 operates from a 4.5V to 20V input voltage range. With 5V external bias, the device can operate from 2.375V. The output voltages are adjustable from 0.6V to 5.5V, enabling the device to generate not only low voltage for digital devices but also 2.5V, 3.3V and 5V which are commonly needed as system bus voltages. Total output voltage DC accuracy is guaranteed at ±1.5% over line, load and temperature (–40°C to 125°C). Two LTM4662s can current share to deliver 60A to a load. Moreover, the onboard remote sense amplifiers on both outputs compensate for voltage drops caused by trace impedance of the PC board due to large load current. The LTM4662 has selectable internal or external feedback loop compensation, enabling users to optimize loop stability and transient performance while minimizing the number of output capacitors.

The LTM4662’s switching frequency can be programmed from 250kHz to 1MHz with one resistor, and can be synchronised to an external clock ranging from 250kHz to 1MHz for noise-sensitive applications. Protection features include overvoltage and overcurrent protection.

The LTM4662 operates from –40°C to 125°C. For more information, visit www.linear.com/product/LTM4662

Exynos 9 series applications processor has deep learning based software

The new Exynos 9810 brings premium features with a 2.9GHz custom CPU, an industry-first 6CA LTE modem and deep learning processing capabilities

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced the launch of its latest premium application processor (AP), the Exynos 9 Series 9810. The Exynos 9810, built on Samsung’s second-generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process, brings the next level of performance to smartphones and smart devices with its powerful third-generation custom CPU, faster gigabit LTE modem and sophisticated image processing with deep learning-based software.

In recognition of its innovation and technological advancements, Samsung’s Exynos 9 Series 9810 has been selected as a CES 2018 Innovation Awards HONOREE in the Embedded Technologies product category and will be displayed at the event, which runs January 9-12, 2018, in Las Vegas, USA.

“The Exynos 9 Series 9810 is our most innovative mobile processor yet, with our third-generation custom CPU, ultra-fast gigabit LTE modem and, deep learning-enhanced image processing,” said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. “The Exynos 9810 will be a key catalyst for innovation in smart platforms such as smartphones and personal computing for the coming AI era.”

With the benefits of the industry’s most advanced 10nm process technology, the Exynos 9810 will enable seamless multi-tasking with faster loading and transition times between the latest mobile apps. The processor has a brand new eight-core CPU under its hood, four of which are powerful third-generation custom cores that can reach 2.9 gigahertz (GHz), with the other four optimized for efficiency. With an architecture that widens the pipeline and improves cache memory, single-core performance is enhanced two-fold and multi-core performance is increased by around 40 percent compared to its predecessor. (more…)

LT8364 DC/DC converter can be configured multiple ways

Analog Devices has announced the LT8364 current mode, 2MHz step-up DC/DC converter. It has an internal 4.0A, 60V switch and operates from an input voltage range of 2.8 to 60V.

The ‘Power by Linear’ LT8364 is suitable for applications with input sources ranging from a single-cell Li-Ion battery to multi-cell battery stacks, automotive inputs, telecomms power supplies and industrial power rails.

The LT8364 can be configured as either a boost, SEPIC or an inverting converter. Its switching frequency can be programmed between 300kHz and 2MHz, enabling designers to minimise external component sizes and avoid critical frequency bands, such as AM radio, says Analog Devices. It offers over 90 per cent efficiency while switching at 2MHz. Burst Mode operation reduces quiescent current to only nine microA while keeping output ripple below 15mVp-p. There is the option of a small 4.0 x 3.0mm DFN, or high voltage MSOP-16E package, with small external components to ensure a compact footprint while minimising cost, adds Analog Devices.

The LT8364’s 100-mOhm power switch delivers efficiencies of over 95 per cent. It also offers spread spectrum frequency modulation to minimise EMI concerns. A single feedback pin sets the output voltage whether the output is positive or negative, minimising pin count. Other features include external synchronisation, programmable under-voltage lockout (UVLO), frequency foldback and programmable soft-start.

The two versions available are the LT8364EDE in a 4.0 x 3.0mm DFN-12 package and the LT8364EMSE which is offered in a high voltage MSOP-16E (with four pins removed for high voltage spacing). Industrial temperature (operating at -40 to +125 degree C), the LT8364IDE and LT8364IMSE, and high temperature models, the LT8364HDE and LT8364HMSE, with temperature ranges of -40 to +150 degree C, are also available. All versions are available from stock.

The design includes a bias pin for higher efficiency and positive or negative output voltage programming is possible with a single feedback pin. The device has optional spread spectrum frequency modulation to minimise EMI.

Helix Semiconductors starts production of DC-DC power chip

Fabless power semiconductor startup Helix Semiconductors has started mass production of its MxC200, a configurable high-efficiency 15W DC-DC power chip.

Previously known as the HS200, the MxC200 takes voltage input ranging from 12V to 48V and converts it to selectable lower voltages. For example, when configured as a 48V input to 12V output, the device offers greater than 97 percent peak efficiency and greater than 90 percent efficiency at full load. by Nick Flaherty @ eenewseurope.com

With the MxC200 and other MuxCapacitor-based products, Helix Semiconductors is answering the demand for more energy-efficient power ICs in the burgeoning AC-DC and DC-DC markets,” said Harold Blomquist, president and CEO of Helix Semiconductors. “The MxC200 features a unique three-stage process, each of which divides its input in half. Power can be pulled from any of its three outputs simultaneously up to 15W. The company’s MuxCapacitor technology enables the MxC200 to achieve unprecedented high efficiency and to stay nearly flat from full load down to 5 percent load.

Helix Semiconductors starts production of DC-DC power chip – [Link]

Solid State Supplies offers world’s smallest Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) module

Acknowledged as the UK’s leading source of advanced embedded technology, Solid State Supplies Ltd. now offers the world’s smallest Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) SiP module from Silicon Labs. With a package size of 6.5mm x 6.5mm x 1.4mm the BGM11S Blue Gecko SiP (System in Package) module targets applications where ultra-small size, reliable high performance RF, low power consumption, full modular certification and easy application development are key requirements.

This highly integrated SiP solution is a complete Bluetooth subsystem with on-board radio transceiver, antenna, serial interfaces, core processor, memory, clock management, I/O, timers, triggers, hardware security and power management. (more…)

STMicroelectronics Introduces STM32WB – A SoC With 32bit Microcontroller And Bluetooth Low Energy 5

The new STM32WB from STMicroelectronics is a new wireless supporting System on a chip (SoC) that comes with a fully-featured ARM Cortex-M4 (@ 64 MHz) based microcontroller to run the main computing processes. It also has an ARM Cortex-M0+ core (@ 32 MHz) to offload the main processor and offer real-time operation on the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5 and IEEE 802.15.4 radio. The SoC can also run other wireless protocols as OpenThread, ZigBee® or other proprietary protocols. It opens many more options for connecting devices to the Internet of Things (IoT).

STM32WB High-performance SoC specifications
STM32WB High-performance SoC specifications

The Cortex-M4 combined with a Cortex-M0+ for network processing makes sure the STM32WB to be the latest ultra-low-power microcontroller to combine superior RF performance with longer battery life. The SoC also combines essential circuitry for connecting to the antenna. It also packs right amount user and system memory, hardware encryption, and customer-key storage for brand and IP protection.

These days, only a few manufacturers offer similar dual-processor wireless chips capable of managing the user application and the radio separately for maximum performance. Alternative chips typically utilize entry-level ARM Cortex-M industry-standard cores, which introduce technical limitations and very low amount of onboard flash memory.

The robust and low-power 2.4GHz radio consumes only 5.5mA in transmit mode of this new STM32WB and as little as 3.8mA when receiving. This device also include STM32 digital and analog peripherals that are engineered for low power consumption and complex functionalities, including timers, ultra-low-power comparators, 12/16-bit SAR ADC, a capacitive touch controller, LCD controller, and industry-standard connectivity including crystal-less USB 2.0 FS, I2C, SPI, SAI audio interface, and a Quad-SPI supporting execution in place.

STM32WB devices will be available in an array of 48-pin UQFN, 68-pin VQFN, or 100-pin WLCSP with up to 72 general-purpose I/Os (GPIO). Each can be specified with any of three memory configurations, giving a choice of 256KB Flash and 128KB RAM, 512KB-Flash/256KB-RAM, or 1MB-Flash/256KB-RAM.

More information is available at the official website.

Constant current linear LED driver IC improves efficiency for LED strips

The BCR430U constant current linear LED driver IC’s drop performance regulates LED current in standalone operation for LED lighting. No external power transistor is needed, says Infineon Technologies. Typical applications for the BCR430U include LED strips, architectural LED lighting, LED displays and retail, appliance and emergency lighting.

The voltage drop of the integrated driver IC can go down to 135mV at 50mA. This improves overall efficiency and provides the voltage headroom required to compensate for LED forward voltage tolerances and variances in the supply voltage, explains Infineon, for more flexibility in lighting design. Using the BRCU430U, additional LEDs can be added to lighting designs without changing the supply voltage.

The LED driver current ranges between five and 100mA, and can be easily adjusted via high Ohmic resistor on a dedicated pin. The supply voltage ranges between 6.0 and 42V. For safe and reliable operation and to extend the LED lifetime, a smart over-temperature controlling circuit reduces the LED current when the junction temperature is very high.

The BCR430U is available now in a SOT-23-6 package.

Compact µModule regulator is for use with FPGAs, GPUs and ASICs

Designed for use in PCIe boards, communications infrastructure, cloud computing-based systems, medical, industrial, and test and measurement equipment, the LTM4646 is a dual 10A or single 20A output, step-down µModule PoL regulator from 5.0 or 12V input supply rails. It targets the PCB area constraints of densely populated system boards to power low voltage and high current devices such as FPGAs, ASICs, microprocessors and GPUs, says Analog Devices.

The LTM4646 includes inductors, MOSFETs, a DC/DC controller and supporting components, and is housed in a 11.25 x 15 x 5.01mm BGA package. Compared to the previous two single 10A output module solutions, the LTM4646 reduces the solution size of more than 25 per cent, says Analog Devices.

Total output voltage DC accuracy is guaranteed at ±1.5 per cent over line, load and temperature (-40 to +125 degree C). The onboard remote sense amplifiers on both outputs compensate for voltage drop caused by trace impedance of the PC board due to large load currents. Internal or external feedback loop compensation is selectable, enabling users to optimise loop stability and transient performance while minimising the number of output capacitors.

Peak efficiency at 12VIN to 1.0VOUT is 86 per cent. With 200LFM air flow, the LTM4646 delivers a full 20A continuously up to 85 degree C ambient, adds Analog Devices. The current mode architecture allows multi-phase parallel operation to increase output current with good current sharing, says the company.

The LTM4646 operates from 4.5 to 20V input, standalone. When 5.0V external bias is available, the device can operate from 2.375V. The output voltages are adjustable from 0.6 to 5.5V, enabling the LTM4646 to generate low voltage for digital devices but also 2.5, 3.3 and 5.0V, for system buses. The switching frequency can be programmed from 250kHz to 1.3MHz with one resistor, and can also be synchronised to an external clock ranging from 300kHz to 1MHz for noise-sensitive applications.

The LTM4646 has over-voltage and over-current protection.


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