Tag Archives: ic

Hot rods keep the die cool


Clemens Valens @ elektormagazine.com shows us a new IC Package that keeps the IC cool.

Texas Instruments’ HotRod QFN is a thermally enhanced plastic package with solder lands on all sides as well as power buses for enhanced current carrying capability. Inside the package the die is mounted on a copper lead frame which eliminates the power wire bonds, improving electrical and thermal performance. This technique also improves application efficiency and minimizes package parasitic radiation.

Hot rods keep the die cool – [Link]

Reverse engineering the popular 555 timer chip


Ken Shirriff wrote an article on reverse engineering the 555 timer chip, He writes:

This article explains how the LMC555 timer chip works, from the tiny transistors and resistors on the silicon chip, to the functional units such as comparators and current mirrors that make it work. The popular 555 timer integrated circuit is said to be the world’s best-selling integrated circuit with billions sold since it was designed in 1970 by analog IC wizard Hans Camenzind[1]. The LMC555 is a low-power CMOS version of the 555; instead of the bipolar transistors in the classic 555 (which I described earlier), the CMOS chip is built from low-power MOS transistors. The LMC555 chip can be understood by carefully examining the die photo.

Reverse engineering the popular 555 timer chip – [Link]

A biometric sensor for wearables – LG Innotek


LG Innotek has released an ultra-thin optical biometric sensor module designed to be used in wearables and smartphones to measure health parameters such as heartbeat, stress indicators and blood oxygen saturation level. The new sensor is more accurate than it’s predecessors achieving ±5 bpm range of error and consumes very little power to operate. At stable heartbeat rate an accuracy of ±2 bpm can be achieved, which is as good as conventional medical instruments. The module is just 1 mm thick and contains a photodiode, five LEDs and an IC.

A biometric sensor for wearables – LG Innotek – [Link]

555 Timer Teardown


Ken Shirriff has done a detailed teardown of the popular 555 timer IC. Let’s take a look inside this little chip:

Given the popularity of the 555 timer, I thought it would be interesting to find out what’s inside the 555 timer and how it works. While the 555 timer is usually sold as a black plastic IC, it is also available in a metal can, which can be cut open with a hacksaw revealing the tiny die inside.

555 Timer Teardown – [Link]

200 chip definitions everyone should know


Andreas Olofsson @ parallella.org has compiled a long list of acronyms used in the chip industry. If you would like to be an expert on IC field, take your time and check it out.

Given how important chips are to modern society EVERYONE should understand and appreciate how they are made. Every field has its own set of terms, jargon, and acronyms (engineers love acronyms!). As you would expect, chip design is no different. If you are new to chip design, it might take you a few days to read through the Wikipedia entries for each one of these 200 topics.

200 chip definitions everyone should know – [Link]

Hack-proof RFID chips claimed by MIT


Researchers at MIT has announced a new RFID chip that is almost impossible to hack and it could mean that an identity thief couldn’t steal your credit card number by sitting next to you.

The researchers’ new chip uses a bank of 3.3-volt capacitors as an on-chip energy source. But it also features 571 1.5-volt cells that are discretely integrated into the chip’s circuitry. When the chip’s power source — the external scanner — is removed, the chip taps the 3.3-volt capacitors and completes as many operations as it can, then stores the data it’s working on in the 1.5-volt cells.

Hack-proof RFID chips claimed by MIT – [Link]

Microchip to Buy Atmel for Nearly $3.6 Billion


MicroAtMelChipMicrochip Technology to Buy Atmel for Nearly $3.6 Billion @ The New York Times.

Microchip Technology agreed to acquire a fellow chipmaker, the Atmel Corporation, for about $3.6 billion, part of a wave of mergers and acquisitions within the semiconductor industry.

Chip makers have been combining to cut costs and build scale for their customers. Microchip agreed to acquire the 37-year-old chipmaker Micrel in May for about $839 million. Microchip purchased Supertex for $394 million in 2014, and the year before that, bought the closely held Brussels-based EqcoLogic for an undisclosed amount.

Microchip joins larger peers in this round of consolidation, including Avago Technologies, which agreed to acquire Broadcom for $37 billion, one of the biggest deals ever within the semiconductor industry.

Microchip to Buy Atmel for Nearly $3.6 Billion – [Link]

LTC3643 – 2A Bidirectional Power Backup Supply


Linear Technology Corporation introduces the LTC3643, a bidirectional, high voltage boost capacitor charger that automatically converts to a buck regulator for system backup. The proprietary, single-inductor topology with integrated PowerPath™ functionality does the work of two separate switching regulators, reducing size, cost and complexity. The LTC3643 operates in two modes – boost charge mode and buck backup mode. The charging mode efficiently charges an electrolytic capacitor array up to 40V with an internal switch current rating of 2A from an input supply between 3V to 17V. In backup mode, when the input supply falls below the programmable power-fail (PFI) threshold, the step-up charger operates in reverse as a synchronous step-down regulator to power and hold up the system rail from the backup capacitor. During backup, the current limit can be programmed from 2A to 4A, making this device ideal for high energy, relatively short duration backup capacitor systems, power failure backup systems, solid-state drives and battery stack charging applications.

LTC3643 – 2A Bidirectional Power Backup Supply – [Link]

Precision programmable current source uses two ICs


by Stefano Salvatori & Pietro Oliva @ edn.com:

This Design Idea mates a precision current source IC with precision difference amp chips to create a programmable current source or sink.

The resistor-programmable current source/sink in Figure 1 illustrates the basic topology, taking advantage of tightly matched on-chip resistor ratios instead of relying on absolute tolerances.

Precision programmable current source uses two ICs – [Link]

Wafer pooling: low-cost prototyping service for ICs

20151112145948_wafer-pooling2 (1)

AMS is providing a fast and cost effective IC prototyping service. by Clemens Valens @ elektormagazine.com:

The Full Service Foundry division of ams AG announced its fast and cost-efficient IC prototyping service, known as Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) or shuttle run. The prototyping service combines several designs from different customers onto a single wafer to offer significant cost advantages as the costs for wafers and masks are shared among a number of different participants.

Wafer pooling: low-cost prototyping service for ICs – [Link]