Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TI makes wide Vin power supply design easier with synchronous SIMPLE SWITCHER DC/DC regulators

DALLAS, USA: Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced seven SIMPLE SWITCHER regulators that simplify wide VIN synchronous power supply design and help engineers create energy-efficient, electromagnetic interference (EMI) compliant products.

The easy-to-use LM43600/1/2/3 and LM46000/1/2 DC/DC converters feature an input voltage range of up to 60 V for high reliability in rugged systems, and 27 micro amps of standby current that minimizes power consumption at light load. The unique synchronous power stage architecture reduces radiated emissions for EMC compliance in a variety of industrial, automotive and communications applications.

The LM43600, LM43601, LM43602 and LM43603 synchronous regulators support an input voltage range from 3.5 V to 36 V and generate output currents of up to 0.5 A, 1 A, 2 A and 3 A, respectively.  The LM46000, LM46001 and LM46002 support an input of 3.5 V to 60 V and output currents of up to 0.5 A, 1 A and 2 A.

The converters integrate compensation, control features and MOSFETs to reduce the bill of material (BOM) by up to seven components. The HTSSOP package is leveraged across the entire family, allowing pin- and footprint-compatibility, as well as scalability.

The regulators are fully supported in TI's WEBENCH online design tool, helping designers generate, optimize and simulate a wide VIN design, and then export that design to a CAD program.

35 major European start-ups emerge at SEMICON Europa’s Innovation Village

GRENOBLE, FRANCE: At SEMICON Europa, attendees and exhibitors will delve into the technologies that shape the future of the microtech, nanotech, medtech and cleantech industries.

Representing the entire supply chain from materials to electronic systems and services, 35 major European start-ups will participate in the Innovation Village and present their new technologies at SEMICON Europa.  The largest and most important semiconductor event in Europe, SEMICON Europa  will be held 7-9 October in the Grenoble location for the first time.

The new three-day Innovation Village program will be the stage for emerging innovators, industry leaders, strategic investors, and venture capitalists to discuss the needs of the industry's innovation engine. Attendees will gain insights on technology, capital, partnership, and collaboration strategies necessary for mutual success.

Innovation Village consists of a start-up exhibition (7-9 October), Silicon Innovation Forum (7 October) and Innovation Conference (8 October). As part of the Silicon Innovation Forum, all selected start-ups will have the opportunity to “pitch” to investors and SEMICON Europa visitors.

The pitch session will be followed by a start-up panel discussion  “Fundraising for the Future Champions of European Electronics,” led by Jean-Pascal Bost of SATT-GIFT with panelists: Jacques Husser (Sigfox), Eric Baissus (Kalray), Serguei Okhonin (ActLight) and Mike Thompson (Hotblock Onboard).

The Innovation Conference, sponsored by Fidal Innovation, will bring together notable names in European innovation to discuss current practices and relevant funding issues facing semiconductor and high-tech start-ups today. Keynote speakers will include Nicolas Leterrier (Schneider Electric) on Innovation Practices and Dan Armbrust (Silicon Catalyst) on Lean Innovation. Christine Vaca (Gate1) will act as the conference chair.

“For the inaugural SEMICON Europa in Grenoble, our team was intent on developing a program that would highlight the strength of the local and the European ecosystems in innovation and new technology,” explains Anne-Marie Dutron, director of the SEMI Grenoble office. “At Innovation Village, visitors will  discover the creativity of 35 European start-up companies, presenting their products, partnership and investment opportunities.”

Participating start-ups were chosen by a selection committee which included ten of the most recognizable venture firms in the industry: Applied Ventures LLC, Robert Bosch Venture GmbH, TEL Venture,3M Ventures, CEA Investissement, Samsung Ventures, Air Liquid Electronics, ASTER Capital), VTT Ventures, and  Capital-E.

Start-ups include ActLight (Switzerland), BlinkSight (France), BluWireless Technology (UK), Calao-Systems (France) and Silicon Line (Germany). For more information about Innovation Village, participating start-ups or about the Innovation Conference, please visit the SEMICON Europa website: www.semiconeuropa.org/Segments/InnovationVillage

All events in Innovation Village, including the three-day start-up exhibition, Silicon Innovation Forum and Innovation Conference will be available at no charge for all SEMICON Europa guests and visitors. The event will be co-hosted by SEMI Grenoble and Gate1. The mission of GATE1 is to support the creation of new technology-driven businesses by capitalizing on the proximity of numerous university laboratories and research centers. GATE1 offers programs for technology maturation, business incubation and business acceleration.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Brooks Instrument CTO to lecture on in-situ diagnostics in semiconductor manufacturing

HATFIELD, USA: Bill Valentine, CTO at Brooks Instrument, will join a panel of expert presenters at the Advanced Process Control (APC) Conference XXVI hosted by the Integrated Measurement Association.

Valentine’s topic, “A New Multi-Sensor Mass Flow Controller Provides In-Situ Performance Data to Enable Fault Detection and Predicative Maintenance,” will discuss the results of a one-year tool study that examined how new developments in real-time mass flow controller (MFC) diagnostics technology can help improve process yields, chamber to chamber matching and reduce operational costs in semiconductor manufacturing.

The presentation is part of Technical Session 4: Virtual & Innovative Sensors and Metrology which will be held at the University of Michigan, Rackham Building in Ann Arbor, MI on Wednesday, October 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Brooks Instrument is a world-leading provider of advanced flow, pressure, vacuum and vapor delivery solutions used for Front End Of Line (FEOL) and Back End Of Line (BEOL) semiconductor fabrication applications. As a pioneer in the development of MFC technologies for the semiconductor industry, Brooks Instrument has made substantial investments to drive improvements in how MFC technology can help solve fundamental process issues.

Typical performance verification tests require the user to take the tool off line to perform diagnostic tests such as calibration verification, valve leak and zero drift. Valentine’s presentation will describe how a new generation of MFCs utilizing in-situ multi-sensor diagnostics provides extremely precise real-time process data that enables the user to track and trend gas delivery performance.

The results of the use of MFCs embedded with this technology have been evaluated on tools at several Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs). Valentine’s paper includes data on improvements in zero drift, changes in flow accuracy and valve leak, as well as the impact this real-time data has on improving process yields.

In addition to the new generation of MFCs, Valentine will discuss how the MFC has become a critical component in semiconductor tools, enabling equipment and process automation as well as more precise gas control for shrinking geometries. And while the MFC is the most complex component in a gas delivery system, until recently there wasn’t an effective method to directly monitor performance while running processes.

MoSys announces industry’s lowest power 100G full duplex retimer IC

SANTA CLARA, USA: MoSys has announced its new LineSpeed 100G Low Power Retimer integrated circuit (IC) for next-generation networking and communications systems.

The full-duplex quad retimer device supports CFP2, CFP4 and QSFP28 module CDR requirements with a single chip and delivers a strong self-adapting receive equalization for ease of connection and improved signal integrity for up to 20dB of insertion loss.

The device features the industry’s lowest power dissipation at 700mW, small full-duplex footprint, reference-free operation, integrated system and line side  loopbacks, and on-chip PRBS generation, error checking, eye monitor and diagnostic capabilities using the MoSys IC Spotlight Analyzer.

The LineSpeed MSH110 IC is a single chip, CMOS device designed to support IEEE 802.3ba and OIF CEI-3.0 electrical standards. Specifically optimized for low-power 100G module and line card applications, the MSH110 device optimizes performance, space and power for 100G modules and line cards used in data center, enterprise or service provider systems.

The device supports Ethernet and OTN baud rates ranging from 24 - 28 Gbps and includes adaptive equalization to support applications ranging from CEI-28G-VSR to CEI-28G-MR (up to 20dB insertion loss). The device has eight independent channels, each consisting of a receiver connected to a corresponding transmitter. Data can be input and output on all eight channels simultaneously.

Elmos selects Synopsys' custom and digital design solutions

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: Synopsys Inc. announced that Elmos has selected Synopsys' comprehensive custom and digital tools to increase the engineering productivity of its mixed-signal design teams.

Elmos' decision to switch to Synopsys' solutions is based on the superior results delivered by Synopsys' Galaxy Design Platform and mixed-signal verification tools. The tools selected by Elmos include Galaxy Custom Designer for custom layout, Design Compiler for synthesis, IC Compiler for place and route, PrimeTime for static timing, StarRC for extraction, IC Validator for physical verification, CustomSim for circuit simulation and VCS AMS for mixed-signal verification.

The platform delivered up to 10 times faster mixed-signal verification and up to 10 percent smaller silicon area compared to Elmos' existing tools and methodologies. Adoption of Synopsys' solutions will enable Elmos to further extend its leadership in development of mixed-signal semiconductors for the automotive, industrial and consumer markets.

"After extensive evaluations, we concluded our search for a long-term technology partnership for high-performance analog mixed-signal designs with the selection of Synopsys' Galaxy Design Platform," said Jorg Gondermann, VP of product development at Elmos. "The Galaxy Design Platform provides a unified custom and digital solution that enables us to perform comprehensive, accurate, and up to 10 times faster verification while keeping our schedule with good silicon correlation, all of which are critical for us to meet our customer requirements."

Synopsys' Galaxy Custom Designer and IC Compiler solutions are seamlessly integrated to provide lossless roundtrip custom editing at any stage of the implementation flow. Design teams can realize faster turn-around-time by easily moving between digital and custom implementation flows while maintaining complete design data integrity.

The unified solution accelerates the design development cycle by enabling quick and reliable custom edits at any stage of development, including the time-critical tapeout phase. VCS AMS delivers industry-leading performance and capacity to accelerate regression testing of mixed-signal SoCs up to transistor-level accuracy.

VCS-AMS is based on tight integration of VCS functional verification solution and CustomSim FastSPICE simulation engines. It supports complex design architectures mixing SPICE, Verilog, VHDL, SystemVerilog, Verilog-A, and Verilog-AMS.

LibreOffice makes strides in software quality with Coverity Scan

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: Coverity Inc., a Synopsys company, announced the results of its latest Coverity Scan Project Spotlight, which analyzed the LibreOffice open source project, including defect density and the types of defects identified, as compared to the industry average. The report is an update from the Coverity Scan Project Spotlight on LibreOffice issued in November 2013.

LibreOffice is a Document Foundation project which began as an offshoot of the OpenOffice open source collaboration suite in 2010. It is the default office suite of the most popular Linux distributions including Novell, Red Hat and Ubuntu, and has the support of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), AMD, Google and Intel. It is also available in more than 112 languages and for a variety of computing platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Since last year's Coverity Scan Project Spotlight, the LibreOffice team analyzed more than 9 million lines of code to find and fix more than 6,000 defects – including high- and medium-impact defects like null pointer dereferences, resource leaks and error handling issues.

The team also reduced the project's defect density from .8 to .08, far lower than the defect density for like-sized projects using the Coverity Scan service. For comparison, the 2013 Coverity Scan Open Source Report found the average defect density for open source projects with more than 1 million lines of code was .65, and for like-sized proprietary code bases was .71.

"LibreOffice's remarkable results after just two years of using the Coverity Scan service reiterates the mission criticality of software testing for the open source community to find and fix software defects early," said Zack Samocha, senior director of products for Coverity. "We applaud the LibreOffice development team for their commitment to creating and delivering high-quality software."

Altera FPGAs enable Dolby Vision for ultra-HD TVs

SAN JOSE, USA: Altera Corp. announced its Arria V FPGAs are delivering the high performance needed for Dolby Laboratories’ innovative Dolby Vision imaging technology for ultra-high definition (UHD) displays.

The Dolby Vision value proposition is to deliver a dramatically different visual experience to TV displays, enabling content creators and television manufacturers to deliver greater brightness while also providing much deeper, more nuanced darks, and a fuller palette of colors. Dolby Laboratories reports that Dolby Vision can deliver signals that offer 40 times brighter highlights than today's TVs, along with up to 1,000 times greater contrast.

Roland Vlaicu, VP for Consumer Imaging at Dolby Laboratories, said: “Altera FPGAs provide the processing and compression capabilities that enable Dolby Vision to override previous technology limitations that required video content to be altered before being reproduced for transmission. With Dolby Vision, producers and creative teams have the freedom to use a fuller gamut of colors, as well as peak brightness and deep contrasts for better viewing experiences.”

David Gamba, senior director of the Consumer Business Unit at Altera, remarked: “Equipment manufacturers must address new, complex 4K, 8K, H.265/HEVC and connectivity standards, and FPGA programmability allows them to complete design cycles faster and deliver products to market. The work with Dolby, an innovative technology leader, shows the value of rapid algorithm processing enabled by Altera FPGAs and SoCs and software IP to bring groundbreaking, innovative designs to market.”

Several television manufacturers have already engaged with Dolby and Altera for the solution.

ST to offer reference implementation of Frog by Wyplay middleware for ARM STB SoCs

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Wyplay, creator of software solutions for leading pay-TV operators, and STMicroelectronics announced the availability of “Bull Frog” middleware, the Frog by Wyplay Set-top-Box middleware version 2.0 on ST’s Cannes and Monaco families of ARM system-on-Chip products.

The companies also disclosed their plan for an extension spanning the full ARM/HEVC product range from Liege2 (STiH301) to the latest UHDp60 family members STiH314/318/414/418.

This announcement illustrates the successful track record of collaboration between the two companies and was made possible, in part, thanks to a significant code contribution by ST’s software R&D teams. ST contribution to the Frog codebase will be shared among a growing community of more than 60 licensee companies, including device manufacturers, independent software vendors, software services providers, and operators.

Code contributed by ST covers adaptations of the Frog middleware to the ST SDK2 Linux software environment and specific hardware capabilities, API extensions, as well as optimization of the rendering of HTML5 applications.

ST’s contribution exemplifies the collaborative nature of the Frog shared-source ecosystem, a pre-integrated and pre-validated reference implementation that includes a UI, middleware, drivers, OS, and hardware. This level of integration and feature alignment yields an accelerated speed to market for the introduction of convergent services such as Over-The-Top services by pay-TV operators.

Inspur selects Micron as leading memory provider for server portfolio

BOISE, USA: Micron Technology Inc. and Inspur Group announced that Micron's 8Gb DDR3 SDRAM components will be used in a wide range of Inspur's computing products.

This announcement follows Micron's July 11 introduction of the industry's first monolithic 8Gb DDR3 SDRAM, based on the company's latest-generation 25nm DRAM manufacturing process.

The 8Gb DDR3 SDRAM is the newest addition to Micron's portfolio of advanced memory and storage solutions and will be used by Inspur to deliver high-performance, power-efficient servers targeted at cloud data centers and high-performance computing applications. Inspur will begin integrating Micron's components in their 2U rack products in early 2015 and will start volume shipments shortly thereafter.

Micron and Inspur have had a close, cooperative relationship for many years. As China's largest server supplier, Inspur is focused on solutions that enhance memory and I/O speed in order to meet the growing demand for better performance. The latest 8Gb DRAM component introduced by Micron meets this need by providing a higher density memory portfolio with better total cost of ownership.

Asia-Pacific dominates IC sales in largest system categories in 2014

USA: Data presented in IC Insights Update to the 2014 IC Market Drivers report confirms Asia-Pacific’s firm grip as the dominant market for IC sales—a continuation of what has been a long and ongoing trend.
As shown, Asia-Pacific is forecast to account for nearly 59 percent of the $285.9 billion IC market in 2014, followed by the Americas region, Europe, and Japan.

The Asia-Pacific region is particularly dominant with regard to IC marketshare in the computer and communications categories, and to a lesser extent in the consumer and industrial categories. Globally, the communications segment first surpassed the computer segment to become the largest end use market for ICs in 2013 and it is forecast to extend its marketshare lead to 1.1 points in 2014.

Europe is forecast to account for the largest share of the automotive IC market in 2014, but with Asia-Pacific increasingly becoming the focus of new car sales, it is expected to gain top share of IC sales in this systems segment in 2016.

IC Insights’ Update to the IC Market Drivers 2014 report forecasts total IC usage by system type through the year 2017. Highlights from forecast data include the following items.

• The two highest growth end-use markets for ICs are forecast to be automotive and communications, having 11 percent and 7.4 percent 2013-2017 CAGRs, respectively.

• After slumping to only $10.6 billion in 2009, the automotive IC market is forecast to reach $21.4 billion in 2014 and $28.8 billion in 2017.

• Two largest end-use market segments—computer and communications—are forecast to hold 73.7 percent of the total IC market in 2017, about flat from the 73.9 percent share forecast in 2014.

• The Asia-Pacific region is forecast to gain IC marketshare over the next four years and reach 60.9 percent in 2017. In contrast, Europe and Japan are expected to continue to decline in share with the Japan region holding only 7.7 percent of the total $330.2 billion IC market in 2017.

First time SoC design efforts will rise 5.2 percent in 2014

USA: Improving market financials and continuing end market demand are combining to push ASIC Design activity to new levels.  The Basic SoC market is being driven by the emergence in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the need for silicon solutions for this segment.

Mixed signal ASIC designs have been growing for the last few years as more and more systems seek to interface to analog type 'real world' functions. New research report from Semico, ASIC Design Starts for 2014 by Key End Market Applications, predicts the ASIC Design Start Market will grow 7.1 percent in 2014.

"Increases in ASIC Design Start activity are key to the improving health of the semiconductor market going forward," said Rich Wawrzyniak, senior market analyst. "The steady increases in unit volumes in many end markets also has a positive impact on design start activity and provides great support for the third Party IP market as well."

New research findings include:
* Advanced Performance Multicore will grow 5.3 percent in 2014.
* Value Multicore SoCs will grow 5.6 percent in 2014.
* The entire ASIC Design Start market  increased 5.9 percent in 2013.

This increase is on top of the 5.9 percent growth rate in 2013 and is based on very good growth in the Mixed Signal ASIC market and on the Basic SoC market.

This last point is important for the semiconductor industry since 1st time SoC design efforts are where most designers develop or refresh the architectures that will carry their products forward over the next two-three years. A slowdown in these efforts can signal a reduction in innovation since 1st time designs are usually the most expensive and contain the most innovation over previous generations.

Increasing device complexity to meet rising market expectations for feature sets and functionality also is a driver of 1st time design efforts and increases here bode well for the SoC market and the third Party IP market as well.

Plasma-Therm leads Taiwan plasma workshop

ST. PETERSBURG, USA: Academics and semiconductor-industry scientists filled a lecture hall at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Hsinchu, Taiwan recently for an advanced plasma-processing workshop led by Plasma-Therm Principal Scientist Dr. David Lishan, Ph.D.

More than 90 people, representing 24 universities and 21 commercial enterprises, gathered at  NTHU for the full-day workshop, which was sponsored by Taiwan’s Tze Chiang Foundation of Science and Technology. Attendees gained insight into fundamental and advanced plasma processing technology used in semiconductor device fabrication, materials research, and nanotechnology.

Attendees’ interests spanned many disciplines enabled by plasma technology, including MEMS, solid-state lighting, power, photonics, and other nanotechnology areas. Plasma-Therm has presented the in-depth plasma-processing workshop at nearly two dozen institutions in the United States, Sweden, Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and China.

Dr. Jennifer Chang of WIN Corp., expressed appreciation to Plasma-Therm, Scientech (Plasma-Therm representative for Greater China) and Dr. Lishan, and hopes for “any opportunity to attend another lecture.”

“We have learned a lot of new techniques in nano-and micro-scale materials processing from your instructions,” said Dr. Chia-Fan Chu, an NTHU Postdoctoral Fellow, who praised the lecture content. “These lectures are very useful to us, especially in materials processing and semiconductor research,” he continued. “What was said and taught speaks to us vividly as ever from the printed page.”

Dr. Lishan noted the inquisitiveness of the participants, which included Ph.D. scientists, professors, graduate students, engineers and technology experts from throughout the region.

“It was an active audience, with the attendees asking many insightful questions about plasma technology as it applies to solving today’s challenges in semiconductor fabrication,” Dr. Lishan commented on his return to the US.

“I continue to be impressed by the innovative directions that researchers around the world are taking in plasma processing. I’m glad we are helping foster new developments as we educate researchers. The networking that I see at our workshops confirms the benefits of these events.”