Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Magnetic sensors in automotive motors to enjoy brisk growth

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Given their capability to improve car safety, convenience and fuel efficiency, semiconductor magnetic sensors used in automotive motors will enjoy fast market growth with revenue expanding by nearly 40 percent in 2012, according to an IHS iSuppli MEMS & Sensors special report on magnetic sensors.

Revenue derived from the use of magnetic sensors in automotive motors will reach $160.3 million in 2012, up a solid 38.2 percent from $116 million this year, extending the steady rise of the market over the last three years. And although revenue growth after 2012 will moderate to the single digits, the five-year compound annual growth rate from 2010 to 2015 still will equate to a robust 16 percent. By 2015, magnetic sensor revenue in automotive motors will amount to $193.6 million.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

“While the average motorist isn’t aware of this, each time he drives a car, he can make use of as many as 100 small motors, performing tasks ranging from enabling the power steering, to actuating the fans in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system,” said Richard Dixon, senior analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. “These motors often employ magnetic sensors to ensure their safe and efficient operation. Because of this, magnetic sensors have attained widespread and fast-growing usage in the automotive segment.”

At present, the automotive industry accounts for half of semiconductor magnetic sensor market revenue.

Each low-end to midrange car, for instance, incorporates more than 10 electric motors on average, used for purposes such as fan cooling, the alternator and front and rear wipers. Luxury cars have almost 100 motors—a long list including sensors for HVAC blowers, electronic steering and throttle control, and transmission sensors for automatics and new double-clutch systems. Other uses include seat positioning, sunroof, tachometer, headlight positioning, headrests and even control of air input flaps based on air quality information.

An important driver for efficient motors is energy consumption, where fractions of a liter in fuel savings can be critical—and each gram of carbon dioxide produced as emissions is counted. Here, the trend is toward the electrification of pulley-driven motors and replacement by brushless DC motors. These efficient motors allow on-demand operation of the main powertrain components, such as water-cooling pumps, oil pumps and other auxiliary pumps, and to reduce overall energy needs.

Another application of magnetic sensors to motors is in shaft position encoding—found, for instance, in power windows for cars, in which the sensors determine how many complete turns a shaft has made in order to control the length of travel of the window lifter. Unusual loading conditions due to the presence of a hand also can be detected by the sensor to provide a so-called anti-pinch functionality, which results in the motor turning backward if an obstruction is encountered.

Electronic power steering is likewise a fast-growing direct motor application, replacing electro-hydraulic alternatives that use a pump to build pressure in order to provide for greater fuel efficiency. The sensor requirement is in commutation of the motor and also in sensors that detect current.

In hybrid electric vehicles, magnetic sensors come into play in the monitoring of auxiliary motor inverters, where the battery direct current needs to be changed to the motor alternating current. Such a conversion requires the use of three current sensors—one for each phase of the motor.

Use of Hall IC and AMR sensors needed for advanced auto applications
In general, automotive motors use Hall integrated circuit (IC) sensors in a three-phase motor for commutation. A three-phase motor typically has six states, measured by three digital Hall ICs for closed-loop regulation. In some cases, magnetic sensors may not be required, and Hall ICs may be replaced by simple current measurement in the circuit. For example, DC motors that operate in an environment with constant speed and no load changes—such as a fan that constantly rotates—can infer the required knowledge of speed without the need for sensors.

However, in advanced motors where load changes and knowledge of torque is needed, the use of Hall ICs or anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR) sensors is required in order to measure the motor position of the shaft.

In particular, the use of AMR will increase in the next five years. An example of its use is for the tachometer motors used to indicate speed and RPM instruments, for reasons of motor quietness.

NXP Semiconductors of the Netherlands is a major provider of AMR sensors, while Hall sensor IC alternatives are supplied by Micronas of Switzerland, Infineon Technologies of Germany, US-based Allegro Microsystems, Melexis N.V. of Belgium and Japan’s Asahi Kasei Microsystems.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

ANADIGICS expands family of 4G power amplifiers

WARREN, USA: ANADIGICS Inc. announced the expansion of its mobile 4G power amplifier (PA) family. The new AWM6268 WiMAX/LTE power amplifier provides world-class linearity and integration similar to that of ANADIGICS' current WiMAX solutions, while increasing output power to deliver greater range and throughput in the 2.5 GHz to 2.7 GHz frequency band. This device also delivers exceptional linearity and output power for LTE applications.

ANADIGICS' 4G power amplifiers are optimized for high data rate broadband wireless devices, such as smartphones, notebook PCs, netbooks, data cards, and Wi-Fi hotspots.

"While LTE technology continues to gain traction, mobile broadband system operators around the world continue to deploy and expand WiMAX networks, offering new WiMAX-enabled devices to support the rapidly increasing demand for wireless data," said Glenn Eswein, director of product marketing for broadband RF products at ANADIGICS.

"ANADIGICS remains at the forefront of WiMAX RF performance by providing power amplifiers that enable longer range and higher throughput, while maximizing battery-life. These performance advantages have been validated by volume shipments of our existing WiMAX PA products, and through design wins with the new AWM6268 power amplifier."

"The expansion of ANADIGICS' 4G power amplifier family demonstrates our commitment to innovation and product excellence," said Joe Cozzarelli, senior director of broadband RF products at ANADIGICS. "As 4G applications evolve, it is becoming more evident that the performance of the PA affects network performance and the user experience directly. The new AWM6268 power amplifier enables a wider range of these applications by delivering enhanced linear output power and efficiency."

In WiMAX applications, the AWM6268 PA provides best-in-class linearity and high power added efficiency of 25% at +26 dBm output power to help maintain excellent battery-life under the most demanding, data-intensive usage scenarios. For LTE, the PA delivers high linearity and 33% power added efficiency at +28 dBm output power. The AWM6268 uses a footprint, a pin-out, and controls that are compatible with the earlier AWT6264 PA.

ANADIGICS' complete family of 4G PAs is manufactured using the company's advanced InGaP HBT MMIC technology, which offers state-of-the-art reliability, temperature stability, and ruggedness.

Analogix SlimPort Accessories Program welcomes Luxshare-ICT

2012 International CES, SANTA CLARA, USA: Analogix Semiconductor announced that Luxshare-ICT has joined the SlimPort Accessories Adopters Program (SAAP). Developed by Analogix and based on core DisplayPort technologies, the SlimPort product line enables the delivery of uncompressed audio and video from a mobile device to HD and legacy displays.

The SlimPort family of transmitters and receivers is compatible with the Mobility DisplayPort (MYDP) digital interface, which allows the standard Micro USB port to be used for both DisplayPort and USB connectivity.

The SlimPort Accessories Adopters Program (SAAP) enables rapid development of cables, docking stations and adapters that allow users to share smartphones, tablet PCs and notebook computers content on large screen displays. Members in the SAAP pay no royalties, licensing, or annual fees.

“Analogix SlimPort helps expand the market for mobile devices by providing connectivity to nearly all big screens, projectors or displays,” said Josue Castillo, director of Engineering, for Luxshare-ICT, based in Milpitas, CA. “An additional benefit of SlimPort is minimal or zero battery consumption by SlimPort accessories, due to Analogix CoolHD technology. As a global leading manufacturer, joining SAAP allows us to develop, test, and bring high-quality accessories to market more rapidly.”

Companies with SAAP membership have access to documentation and components, as well as technical support from the ADTC-EasyHD Test Lab in Beijing, China and free product certification. Each accessory must meet standards for product quality and compliance. Once a product receives certification, its manufacturer receives the benefit of being listed on the Analogix website and submission to top-level mobile handset makers for evaluation and mass production.

"The SAAP welcomes Luxshare-ICT as a manufacturer that can, in the near-term, introduce SlimPort-based products that will benefit consumers,” said Andre Bouwer, Vice President of Marketing for Analogix. “Luxshare-ICT will provide attractive options for the millions of people who carry their libraries of HD content on a mobile device and have a strong desire to watch them on a large screen."

IXYS’ Westcode launches new generation 4.5kV 3kA GTO thyristor

BIEL, SWITZERLAND: IXYS Corp. announced that Westcode, its UK subsidiary, introduced a new 4.5kV 3kA gate turn-off thyristor (GTO) thyristors. The new device, which offers a more robust design, is fully compatible with earlier designs of the same nominal rating.

Frank Wakeman, Westcode’s Marketing & Technical Support Manager, saod: “The advantage of our new gate design enabled us to use a simpler and therefore more robust and cost effective fully hermetic industry standard outline with 75mm (2.95 inch) Anode/cathode electrodes. This is a configuration that offers one of the highest power densities in GTOs in the market today. The device is supplied as standard with a heavy duty coaxial gate lead; however, customised options to meet specific applications can also be accommodated. The new GTO thyristor has designation G3000TF450 and has a maximum turn-off current of 3000A with a 6 microfarad snubber capacitor and maximum circuit loop inductance of 300nH. The device is suitable for applications which require a nominal DC link voltage up to 2.8kV.”

“We have been extending the power range of our Bipolar product lines beyond what has been capable with our IGBTs for gate turn-off applications. With the recent extensions of our GTO’s range, we complement our high power MOSFETs and IGBTs, to offer our customers the complete solution for power switching with high efficiency and lower cost,” commented Dr. Nathan Zommer, CEO and founder of IXYS.

“In many high power applications, GTOs have been the ideal power semiconductor due to their ruggedness and better surge current and voltage blocking capabilities than MOSFETs and IGBTs.”

Further products are planned: 68mm (2.68 inch) silicon device with turn-off current rating of 2kA and a 91mm (5.58 inch) silicon device with a turn-off current rating of 4kA. Launch dates are expected to be announced in early 2012.

Typical applications for this device include: main drives, auxiliaries and choppers for traction, as well as AC drives for motor control. The device is suitable for all snubber circuit topologies, as well as conventional RCD.

Thinfilm and Polyera to bring printed CMOS memory to market

OSLO, NORWAY: Thin Film Electronics ASA announced a partnership with Polyera – a developer and supplier of high-performance functional materials for the flexible and printed electronics industry. Thinfilm and Polyera will jointly develop organic semiconductor materials for high-volume printing of Thinfilm Addressable MemoryTM and printed integrated systems. The collaboration brings printed integrated systems, such as smart sensor tags, closer to commercial availability.

Thinfilm and Polyera will co-develop gravure based ink formulations for use in high-throughput printing equipment and will prototype integrated printed system products incorporating Polyera materials, including n-type semiconductors, with Thinfilm Addressable Memory.

“Polyera's groundbreaking work on n-type organic transistors has paved the way for printed CMOS circuits – more energy-efficient logic circuitry with simpler design. Such printed logic plays a key role when we now are combining our memory technology with other printed components to enable printed systems,” said Davor Sutija, Thinfilm CEO.

Using Polyera materials, Thinfilm and PARC, a Xerox company, recently demonstrated a prototype of the world’s first printed non-volatile memory device addressed with complementary organic circuits, the organic equivalent of CMOS circuitry. Thinfilm Addressable Memory combines Thinfilm’s polymer-based memory technology with PARC’s transistor technology using complementary pairs of n-type and p-type transistors to construct the circuits. The addition of integrated circuits makes the roll-to-roll printed Thinfilm Memory addressable by printable logic.

“We are building an ecosystem and supply chain for a world filled with the ‘Internet of things’, where everything is connected via a ‘smart’ tag. By engaging with state-of-the-art partners like Polyera, Solvay, who provides the ferroelectric polymer memory material, and InkTec, who recently opened a facility dedicated to manufacturing Thinfilm Memory, we move significantly closer to our goal of enabling fully printed electronics and our ‘memory everywhere’ vision,” Sutija continued.

The agreement calls for Polyera to supply commercial quantities for Thinfilm and partner manufacturing and to have exclusive rights to ink formulations developed for Thinfilm’s field of use.

Skyworks commences volume shipments of analog control ICs to Siemens Healthcare

WOBURN, USA: Skyworks Solutions Inc. has begun volume shipments of analog control switches to Siemens Healthcare for their state-of-the-art MAGNETOM magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners.

Skyworks’ devices allow Siemens to manufacture scanning equipment that is 50 percent more productive and easier for medical technicians to maneuver. The switches deliver low insertion loss, positive voltage operation and very low direct current power consumption - all critical elements for magnetic resonance imaging. Each scanner requires hundreds of switches.

Skyworks’ portfolio of low noise amplifiers, Schottky and varactor diodes, attenuators and multi-throw switches are also supporting other wireless medical applications including blood sugar and heart monitors, pacemakers, and patient telemetry devices.

According to Nerac, a research and advisory firm, the number and variety of wireless medical devices is growing rapidly, driven by the expansion of wireless communication technology and the medical needs of an aging population. Wireless medical devices that monitor patients range from defibrillators to infusion pumps.

According to Nerac’s “Wireless Medical Devices: Security Issues, Market Opportunities and Growth Trends” article, by 2020 at least 160 million Americans alone will be monitored and treated remotely for at least one chronic condition. The market for such remote monitoring of patients is forecast to reach $5.1 billion by 2013 up from $3.6 billion in 2007.

“Skyworks is delighted to be partnering with Siemens to help enable state-of-the-art imaging for medical applications,” said Liam K. Griffin, executive VP and GM of high performance analog. “At a higher level, this design win is yet another example of how Skyworks’ analog portfolio is gaining traction across a wide array of end markets, demonstrating Skyworks’ success in diversifying into highly profitable, adjacent segments.”

Magma’s latest version of FineSim Pro delivers 3X faster runtime

SAN JOSE, USA: Magma Design Automation Inc. announced the availability of a new version of the FineSim Pro full-chip circuit-level simulation product that delivers 3X faster runtime than previous versions while continuing to deliver SPICE-accurate results.

As an example, FineSim Pro was able to simulate a large post-layout design containing more than 75K MOS devices and more than 2.9 million parasitic resistors and capacitors in a little over an hour. With this latest version, chip designers can better address the growing complexity of verification and increasing number of simulations required for today’s analog/mixed-signal designs.

“The amount of simulations required to adequately verify today’s complex, advanced-process-node designs has placed a premium on overall simulation runtime performance,” said Anirudh Devgan, GM, Magma’s Design Implementation Business Unit. “Leveraging an improved architecture, better numerical solvers and a single-CPU-optimized simulation algorithm, FineSim Pro delivers three times better performance than previous versions.”

FineSim Pro multi-CPU support
FineSim Pro is the industry's first fast SPICE circuit simulator that supports multi-CPU simulations. It is the only simulator that performs true multi-CPU SPICE analysis. This allows for the most accurate results with the best possible throughput. FineSim Pro verifies a range of designs from large memories to large complex analog ICs, which previously could not be practically verified in transient circuit simulators. FineSim Pro also has a separate option for IR drop and electromigration analysis.

Skyworks Solutions and Advanced Analogic announce amended merger agreement

WOBURN & SANTA CLARA, USA: Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Advanced Analogic Technologies Inc. announced that the two companies have amended their previously announced merger agreement. Under the terms of the revised merger agreement, Skyworks will acquire all of the outstanding shares of AnalogicTech for $5.80 per share in cash through a tender offer that Skyworks intends to commence within seven business days. The companies expect the transaction to be completed in January 2012.

Skyworks intends to finance the tender offer with cash on hand. The tender offer will not be subject to financing and, among other things, will be conditioned upon a majority of the shares of AnalogicTech common stock outstanding being tendered and no injunctions being issued prohibiting the offer or the merger.

AATI has addressed and satisfactorily clarified all issues previously raised by Skyworks. As part of the settlement, the companies have agreed to voluntarily dismiss the claims asserted against each other in the Delaware Chancery Court. Skyworks and AnalogicTech have mutually determined that their respective claims were insignificant in light of the overall value of the transaction.

“Skyworks is pleased to have reached this agreement with AnalogicTech and to be moving forward together,” said David J. Aldrich, president and CEO of Skyworks. “We believe this transaction will enable Skyworks to further capitalize on our strong smart phone, tablet, set-top box and infrastructure positions with an expanded and differentiated product portfolio while accelerating our entry into new vertical markets.

“Analog power management semiconductors represent a strategic growth market for Skyworks as our customers increasingly demand both ubiquitous wireless connectivity and power optimization across seemingly every kind of electronic platform. With AnalogicTech, Skyworks will be well positioned to address these twin market opportunities by leveraging our broad customer relationships and innovative product portfolios, and increasing operational scale.”

“We believe the revised agreement with Skyworks provides AnalogicTech stockholders with immediate value and certainty for their investment in the company, while providing important benefits to AnalogicTech’s employees and customers,” said Richard K. Williams, president, CEO and CTO of Advanced Analogic Technologies. “We share Skyworks’ vision of the enormity and growth potential of the analog semiconductor market and continue to believe that together, we can better address customers’ demand for highly integrated power management solutions across a broader range of markets and applications. We look forward to closing this transaction quickly and are committed to ensuring a smooth transition.”

Skyworks noted that the Registration Statement on Form S-4 that had been previously filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 17, 2011, and withdrawn on November 3, 2011 will not be resubmitted for filing.

Skyworks expects the transaction to be earnings accretive in FY12 post synergies and will provide more information during its first fiscal quarter 2012 earnings conference call to be held in January 2012.

Touchstone Semiconductor intros tightest offset, low-power current-sense amplifiers

MILPITAS, USA: Touchstone Semiconductor, a developer of high-performance analog integrated circuit solutions, has announced the TS1100 family of 1μA current-sense amplifiers that cut offset to 30µV, over 3X tighter than the closest competitor.

The tight offset allows users to not have to increase power consumption in order to achieve improved accuracy. This is something that cannot be done with any other low power current sense amplifier. The TS1100 is available in four gain options from 25V/V to 200V/V, so customers can choose the ideal gain option for their unique application.

The TS1100 family’s combination of small form factor (SOT23-5), low supply current operation and variety of fixed gain options make it an ideal choice for low current, high-side current-sensing amplification. The TS1100 is particularly suitable for use in all battery-powered, remote or hand-held portable instruments, including power management applications, motor control, power management and fixed-platform telecom boxes.

Like all Touchstone proprietary products, Touchstone is offering free demonstration boards to qualified customers through December 31.

TI intros sub-1 GHz wireless connectivity for ultra-low-power MSP430 LaunchPad development kit

DALLAS, USA: Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) has announced a sub-1 GHz radio frequency (RF) value line plug-in-board for TI's MSP430 microcontroller LaunchPad development kit.

The new 430BOOST-CC110L RF BoosterPack includes ETSI-compliant and FCC-certified modules to help speed development time, reduce certification costs and eliminate barriers associated with the RF hardware design process. The RF BoosterPack and MSP430 LaunchPad offer developers affordable solutions for cost-sensitive sub-1 GHz RF applications such as remote controls, toys, home and building automation, and security systems. The 430BOOST-CC110L is available today for $19, and the MSP430 LaunchPad is separately available for $4.30.

"We are excited to bring wireless connectivity to the more than 100,000 MSP430 LaunchPads in the market today, and provide a simple, cost-effective development platform for those looking to innovate wireless products with MSP430 microcontrollers," said Erling Simensen, product marketing manager, Low-Power RF, TI.

"By combining TI's leading ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers with our sub-1 GHz RF value line transceivers, we are delivering easy-to-use, affordable and scalable solutions to wirelessly connect more cost-sensitive consumer applications."

Additionally, the RF module included on the RF BoosterPack is separately available as an ETSI-compliant and FCC-certified production-ready module. The A110LR09A RF module is available from TI third party developer Anaren Inc., and can be tested using the 430BOOST-CC110L development tool.

IDT demos world’s first commercial piezoelectric MEMS oscillators

SAN JOSE, USA: Integrated Device Technology Inc. (IDT) has developed and demonstrated the world’s first commercially available oscillators incorporating piezoelectric microelectromechanical system (pMEMS) resonators. IDT’s oscillators take advantage of the pMEMS resonator’s high native frequencies, making them well-suited to replace traditional quartz-based oscillators in any application.

IDT’s pMEMS resonator technology combines the strong electromechanical coupling of the piezoelectric material with the stability and low damping of single crystal silicon to create a passive frequency source of unparalleled performance and reliability. The devices are ideal for cloud computing designs requiring high reliability and resistance to shock and vibration, consumer applications requiring multiple outputs, and communications and networking equipment that need low phase jitter.

“As the leader in silicon timing solutions, MEMS is a natural step forward in further broadening our product offerings. It addresses the $3 billion quartz replacement market and complements our industry-leading CrystalFree™ CMOS oscillator products,” said Ted Tewksbury, president and CEO of IDT. “IDT’s piezoelectric MEMS technology is a culmination of internal development with over 40 patents granted or filed to date. The MEMS timing market is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years, and we plan to garner a large share with our superior technology and strong value proposition.”

“MEMS timing has been gaining market share against quartz oscillators and crystals -- extending its reach from consumer devices to telecom infrastructure and hard disk drives. And at an impressive 72.3 percent CAGR, revenue will grow from $13.5 million in 2010 to $205 million in 2015,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst for MEMS & Sensors at IHS iSuppli.

Not visible to the naked eye, IDT’s passive pMEMS resonator is the world’s smallest hermetically-sealed wafer level package (WLP) resonator, making it a fitting replacement for larger quartz-based resonators. IDT’s pMEMS oscillators will incorporate this resonator technology in industry-standard pin- and function-compatible plastic packages, increasing system design flexibility and improving time-to-market versus crystal oscillators. and SMIC launch new IP portal for SMIC compatible cores

BANGALORE, USA:, the world’s largest online IP repository, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., China’s largest and most advanced semiconductor foundry, announced the launch of a new intellectual property (IP) portal that aggregates SMIC process-compatible third-party IP cores.

The SMIC portal contains a growing list of over 500 pieces of IP from more than 20 IP vendors, including Synopsys, Kilopass, Dolphin Integration, VeriSilicon and others – all designed for fabrication in SMIC processes ranging from 40/45 nanometer (nm) to 65/55 nm and 0.25 micron. The site enables both IP providers and integrators to easily leverage the SMIC IP ecosystem.

“This new portal highlights our ongoing effort to expand the SMIC IP ecosystem,” said Steven Chen, senior director, Product Marketing of SMIC. “Deploying the IP offered by SMIC through an intuitive portal allows our customers to work more efficiently and productively toward improving silicon quality and time-to-market. Our work with clearly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to provide value-added service, helping SMIC's customers select best-in-class IP and enabling quick and easy design decisions and successful IP integration.”

“Our dedicated SMIC portal brings IP vendors and integrators that much closer,” said Sean O’Kane, director of “Together, we enable IP integrators to streamline their selection process and give IP vendors a targeted forum for evangelizing their solutions.”

austriamicrosystems releases high-voltage CMOS, high-voltage Flash and RF multi project wafer services schedule for foundry customers

UNTERPREMSTAETTEN, AUSTRIA: austriamicrosystems’ Full Service Foundry business unit released its further expanded fast and cost-efficient IC prototyping service, known as Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) or shuttle run, with an even more extensive schedule in 2012. The prototyping service, which combines several designs from different customers onto a single wafer, offers significant cost advantages for foundry customers as the costs for wafers and masks are shared among a number of different shuttle participants.

austriamicrosystems’ best-in-class MPW service includes the whole range of 0.18µm and 0.35µm specialty processes. In order to provide leading analog semiconductor process technology, manufacturing and services, austriamicrosystems now offers four MPW runs in the 0.18µm CMOS (C18) process as well as four MPW runs in its advanced 0.18µm High-Voltage CMOS (H18) technology.

The H18 process technology is based on IBM’s industry proven 0.18µm CMOS process CMOS7RF and offers industry-first RF (Radio Frequency) integration and high density SoC (System on a Chip) capability. It is perfectly suited for applications such as smart sensors, sensor interface devices, smart meters, industrial and building controls and LED lighting control in the automotive, industrial and medical markets.

For the 0.35µm specialty processes, which are based on the 0.35µm CMOS process transferred from TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), a total of 15 runs are offered in 2012: austriamicrosystems' 0.35µm High-Voltage CMOS process family with a 20V CMOS option -- which is ideally suited for power management products and display drivers, a 50V CMOS process -- which has been optimized for automotive and industrial applications, and a 120V module -- which meets the requirements of sensor and sensor interface chips in high-voltage applications.

The advanced High-Voltage CMOS process with Embedded Flash functionality adds to austriamicrosystems’ MPW service portfolio. The CMOS compatible 0.35µm Silicon-Germanium BiCMOS technology (S35) enables RF circuit designs with an operating frequency of up to 7 GHz combined with high-density digital parts on one single ASIC.

Overall austriamicrosystems will offer almost 150 MPW start dates in 2012, enabled by long lasting cooperation with organizations such as CMP-TIMA, Europractice, Fraunhofer IIS and Mosis. Japanese customers may now participate via our new MPW program partner Toppan Technical Design Center Co., Ltd (TDC). Located in Tokyo, TDC is acting as a local foundry service provider for austriamicrosystems and will provide Japanese foundry customers with direct access to MPW service. The complete schedule for 2012 has now been released.

To take advantage of the MPW service, austriamicrosystems’ foundry customers deliver their completed GDSII-data at specific dates and receive untested packaged samples or dies within a short lead-time of typically eight weeks for CMOS and 10 weeks for 0.35µm High-Voltage CMOS, SiGe-BiCMOS and Embedded Flash processes. All 0.35µm MPW runs will be manufactured at austriamicrosystems’ state-of-the-art 8 inch wafer fab in Austria.

All process technologies are supported by the well-known HIT-Kit, the austriamicrosystems industry benchmark process design kit based on Cadence, Mentor Graphics or Agilent ADS design environments. The HIT-Kit comes complete with fully silicon-qualified standard cells, periphery cells and general purpose analog cells such as comparators, operational amplifiers, low power A/D and D/A converters.

Custom analog and RF devices, physical verification rule sets for Assura and Calibre as well as excellently characterized circuit simulation models enable rapid design starts of complex high performance mixed-signal ICs. In addition to standard prototype services, austriamicrosystems also offers analog IP blocks, a memory (RAM/ROM) generation service and packaging services in ceramic or plastic.

Tokyo Electron and ASML to accelerate joint development activities on EUV and advanced lithography technologies

TOKYO, JAPAN & VELDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS: Tokyo Electron Ltd (TEL) and ASML Holding NV (ASML) have announced an agreement to accelerate joint development activities of EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) and ArF Immersion using state-of-the-art lithography clusters.

This agreement on joint development acceleration was made in order to meet increasing customers’ demand for leading edge systems capable of next generation chip production, namely EUV technology, which is the key lithography solution for 22nm and beyond, and extended ArF immersion, which remains a mainstream technology for critical layers of advanced chip production. Through this dual technology leadership strategy, TEL and ASML are aiming to strengthen our offerings to best support our customers for sub 20nm nodes development.

As part of this agreement, TEL and ASML will provide equipment at their respective facilities in Kumamoto, Japan and Veldhoven, the Netherlands to accelerate development, investigation and customer demonstration activities of the most advanced lithography technologies.

TEL to deliver newest EUV coater/developer to ASML in Veldhoven
Extensively researched all over the world, EUV is the key lithography solution for 22nm and beyond nodes. Over the past years, TEL and ASML have jointly researched EUV fundamentals and facilitated early EUV customer demonstrations. In addition to these existing efforts, TEL will introduce the company’s most advanced EUV coater/developer at ASML’s R&D base in Veldhoven, and both companies will continue to work together to establish EUV process development for sub 22nm nodes by the end of 2012.

Process development on both ASML’s leading edge volume production system TWINSCAN NXE:3300 and TEL’s newest coater/developer will be focused on key factors for EUV process development, such as reducing LWR (line width roughness), mitigating pattern collapse, controlling defects and improving CD uniformity, aiming to support smooth transition to volume production with EUV technology.

ASML to install ArF Immersion exposure tool at TEL’s Kumamoto Koshi facility
Currently, ArF immersion is the most common lithography technique for high volume advanced patterning. To meet industry needs to further optimize immersion lithography technology beyond existing capabilities, TEL and ASML will soon begin developing and validating advanced processes on ASML’s 1.35 NA immersion scanners and TEL’s coater/developers at TEL’s Kumamoto Koshi facilities in addition to their current joint immersion process development work at ASML in Veldhoven.

A key focus of this joint development work is to further increase productivity beyond 4,000 wafers per day, which was recently demonstrated at a customer’s manufacturing facility. With the installation of the immersion ArF scanner completed at TEL’s site, both companies intend to accelerate their joint development activity.

SimPower Systems supports model sharing via Simscape

BANGALORE, INDIA: MathWorks announced a new version of SimPowerSystems that offers a stronger connection to Simscape and other physical modeling products in the Simulink family. With new capabilities such as support for the Simscape Editing Mode, SimPowerSystems 5.5 now offers engineers the ability to share models of electrical power systems with all other Simscape users.

SimPowerSystems lets engineers model and simulate electrical power systems in Simulink for automotive, aerospace, defense, and industrial applications. SimPowerSystems models can connect to models built using Simscape and other domain-specific add-on products, such as SimMechanics and SimHydraulics. This helps engineers to detect integration issues between electrical, mechanical, and control systems early in the development process before any physical hardware is built.

Key new capabilities include:
* Interface Elements to connect SimPowerSystems and Simscape circuits, enabling engineers to more easily extend SimPowerSystems models to other physical domains and create custom physical modeling components using the Simscape language.

* Support for Simscape Editing Mode, allowing all other Simscape users to work with SimPowerSystems models, including viewing, simulating, changing numerical parameters, and generate C code from the model.

Wind River and Clarion ally on next gen Android-based in-vehicle infotainment systems

BANGALORE, INDIA: Wind River announced that Clarion, a leading manufacturer of high-performance in-car entertainment systems, is collaborating with Wind River to develop Android-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems.

Wind River is creating a custom Android software platform for an automotive environment and providing software integration services to ensure Clarion delivers a reliable and high quality device.

Leveraging Android’s flexibility for innovation, Clarion Malaysia’s new IVI device is designed to deliver a compelling user experience, especially in areas of multimedia, entertainment and connectivity. The Clarion Malaysia IVI device is based on the Freescale i.MX applications processor family. Clarion designs and manufactures leading automotive audio and video products and related accessories for the aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers.

“With two decades of automotive experience, as well as extensive Android project knowledge, Wind River provides an ideal mix of expertise to address the latest IVI trends,” said Georg Doll, GM of automotive solutions at Wind River. “Wind River delivers commercial-quality Android software and takes care of the complex matters of custom software development, integration and testing to allow customers to concentrate on developing innovative features that will distinguish their devices.”

“Clarion continues to be at the forefront of the newest automotive technologies. With Wind River’s expert help, we are taking breakthrough Android technologies that have resonated with consumers and leveraging it for the automotive market,” said T.K. Tan, MD of Clarion Malaysia. “Ensuring that new technologies work for the automotive industry is a complicated task. In order to get to market quickly and deliver the highest quality device, it was critical to collaborate with an expert like Wind River who possesses deep automotive and Android experience.”

GLOBALFOUNDRIES strengthens leadership team, while affirming ongoing ramp in New York, Germany and Singapore

MILPITAS, USA: GLOBALFOUNDRIES has appointed a new CFO, while assigning two other senior executives to key positions, as it ramps capacity at its facilities in New York, Germany and Singapore to serve demand for volume and technology from customers.

The company appointed Daniel Durn as CFO; Gregg Bartlett as CTO; and KC Ang as head of Customer Engineering and Quality while retaining his responsibility for Fab 8 in New York. All are part of an effort to align operations and technology to better meet customer needs and market opportunity. All appointments are effective immediately.

The appointments come less than a month after the GLOBALFOUNDRIES Board of Directors confirmed Ajit Manocha as the company’s CEO. Durn, Bartlett and Ang will report directly to Manocha. Durn replaces Robert Krakauer, who is leaving GLOBALFOUNDRIES to pursue other interests.

Most recently, Durn served as executive director of the Investment and Strategy Unit of the Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC), the shareholder of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Bartlett will step into the newly-created CTO position, with Suresh Venkatesan succeeding Bartlett as lead of the company’s Technology Development (TD) organization on an interim basis.

The appointments are part of an ongoing effort by Manocha to align GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ structure to better meet the needs of its customers. Separating technology strategy and its roadmap from technology development – and better coordinating TD with manufacturing operations – will enhance time to market and operational excellence, according to the company.

“Our customers want us to be the preferred choice for them, so we are taking a hard look at our structure to ensure we are organized to meet their needs,” said Manocha. “As we continue to put in place world-class talent to drive our performance, we want to make sure our technology strategy and market opportunity are working in parallel with our execution.”

Durn has a distinguished career in the financial world. Prior to joining ATIC, Durn was an investment banker and a member of the Merger Leadership Group at Goldman Sachs. In addition to helping create GLOBALFOUNDRIES through the acquisition of AMD’s manufacturing assets and ATIC’s acquisition of Chartered Semiconductor, Durn has been an active participant in GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Board of Director and Finance Committee activities.

Earlier in his career, Durn played a key role in semiconductor transactions including the sales of Artisan Components to ARM Holdings and Avago to Silver Lake/KKR consortium; Agilent's IPO divestiture of Verigy; the acquisition of PortalPlayer by Nvidia; and the sales of Agere to LSI Logic, Genesis Micro to ST Micro, and AMI Semiconductor to ON Semiconductor.

“GLOBALFOUNDRIES will continue to seek out world-class talent to help drive the company to the next level,” said Manocha. “As we build on momentum to reshape the foundry landscape, we will accelerate our operational excellence and boost our strategic value to customers.”

Manocha affirmed the company’s intent to significantly ramp capacity in Germany, New York and Singapore, with additional investments in all three facilities in 2012 to serve customers in both mainstream and leading-edge capabilities. Fab 8 in Malta, New York, continues to install new tools and begins operations in December 2012. Currently employing about 1,000 people at the site, Fab 8 will have some 1,500 employees with an annual payroll of approximately $190 million by the end of 2012.

Can MEMS market sustain its growth rate?

PHOENIX, USA: The MEMS market has shown a high growth rate which runs counter to the overall semiconductor market. In 2011 MEMS sales are expected to grow 20 percent reaching $9.2 billion. MEMS devices are migrating quickly into consumer electronics thanks to their use in smartphones.

In just a few years MEMS have migrated from a niche product for the automotive industry into the mainstream of the semiconductor market. In order for MEMS to continue on this high growth path there are several issues that need to be addressed.

In its latest report on the MEMS market, "Sustaining Growth in the MEMS Market", Semico Research examines the various factors necessary for maintaining the high growth rate for MEMS. A cohesive and healthy ecosystem needs to be developed. This offers opportunities for many companies throughout the supply chain.

How do the foundries fit in this ecosystem? How can costs be reduced and time to market sped up? What are the applications for MEMS and their TAM? How should MEMS vendors approach embedded processing? Semico includes data on sales and shipments of MEMS by applications which indicate key industry trends.

Semico's report "Sustaining Growth in the MEMS Market" is a concise and insightful look into the issues that impact the MEMS market dynamics. These issues become more imperative as MEMS enter the fast lane of commodity markets such as consumer electronics.

Mentor Graphics to host User2User 2011 India conference in Bangalore

BANGALORE, INDIA: Mentor Graphics Corp. will be hosting its 7th Annual User2User India conference on December 2, 2011 at Vivanta by Taj (the former Taj Residency), MG Road, Trinity Circle, Bangalore.

This year’s conference will feature keynote presentations from Walden C. Rhines, CEO and chairman of the Mentor Graphics Corp., and Vivek Sharma, Regional VP GC & SA -India Operations Director, India Design Centers.

The Mentor Graphics User2User 2010 India conference is part of the annual Mentor Graphics International User Conference series. This highly interactive, in-depth technical conference focuses on the needs of the entire Mentor Graphics user community and draws attendees from around the world. This conference is designed to provide users of the Mentor Graphics tools and solutions with an opportunity to network and interact with other engineers utilizing the same or similar products.

“Mentor Graphics User2User conference provides an excellent opportunity to hear from our users as well as demonstrate the strategic value of our solutions to overcome industry challenges,” said Hanns Windele, VP – Europe and India, Mentor Graphics. “We’ve built a user group into a world-class conference forum where our users can share and realize the value our solutions bring in helping companies overcome their design challenges.”

Fujitsu Semiconductor standardizes on Mentor Graphics HyperLynx signal integrity technology as LSI-PKG-PCB co-design tool

WILSONVILLE, USA: Mentor Graphics Corp. announced that Fujitsu Semiconductor has standardized on the Mentor Graphics HyperLynx Signal Integrity technology as the company’s LSI-IC Packaging (PKG)-Printed Circuit Board (PCB) co-design tool for fast and accurate high-speed simulation and analysis.

For today's highly functional end-products, bus speeds are increasingly getting faster and the demand for noise timing-aware LSI-PKG-PCB co-design is increasing. Fujitsu Semiconductor adopted the HyperLynx product suite to address problems caused by high-speed signals throughout the design cycle, from early architectural stages through post-layout verification.

As a world-class semiconductor company, Fujitsu Semiconductor needed to address timing issues at three levels: LSI, PKG, and PCB, especially with the rapidly emerging DDR2/3/4 and SERDES interconnect standards. They selected the Mentor Graphics HyperLynx technology, widely adopted at many PCB design sites, as their robust signal and power integrity solution. They needed to standardize their LSI-PKG-PCB co-design environment with easy-to-use, yet highly accurate, simulation for global adoption.

Fujitsu Semiconductor deployed HyperLynx for a special project in 2010, basing their standardization on the Mentor HyperLynx product providing the leading signal and power integrity technology in the industry and Mentor’s ability to provide superior global customer support.

“Fujitsu Semiconductor is working with its customers and partners to provide solutions for the ever-evolving complexity of signal and power integrity issues in more advanced processes. We have positioned HyperLynx as our company and our customers' analysis tool that has been widely popular in our customers’ PCB design workflow, and in collaboration with Mentor Graphics, we developed a design kit that accurately and quickly analyzes the signal integrity and timing of PCBs by addressing the noise and timing influences of LSI and PKG on HyperLynx,” said Naoshi Higaki, deputy GM of SoC Design Engineering Division, Fujitsu Semiconductor.

“By using this design kit as our company and customers’ common environment, it enhances our customers' final products with higher reliability, design productivity, and cost-effective development.”

As memory bus speeds get faster, timing margins become more severe, impacting simultaneous switching noise and timing design. For good quality control and optimized performance, this affects the ICs, the packaging, and the printed boards. This includes traditional challenges such as signal crosstalk, over-shooting and under-shooting. Since the HyperLynx product is easy-to-use and provides an intuitive user interface, all members of the product development team (hardware engineers, PCB designers and signal integrity specialists) can use it, from pre-layout analysis and simulation to post-layout verification.

“We are honored to have our industry-leading HyperLynx technology selected as the standard signal integrity tool for Fujitsu based on their experiences in using our product the past year with excellent results,” said Henry Potts, VP and GM of Mentor Graphics Systems Design Division. “Our unmatched levels of R&D investment in these leading design and analysis technologies enable us to meet our customers’ most advanced demands and, according to the EDA Consortium, have positioned us in the industry with over a 50% PCB systems design market share worldwide.”

CVD offers three dimensional Graphene products

RONKONKOMA, USA: CVD Equipment Corp. (CVD), launched a new line of chemical vapor deposited three dimensional graphene products that will be marketed under the trade name CVD3DGraphene™ and is expected to enable new high performance products.

Karlheinz Strobl, VP of Business Development, states: "The CVD3DGraphene cellular material platform is based on a three dimensional graphene-foam like material having several two dimensional (a few atomic layers thick) graphene sheets that are mechanically and electrically fully interconnected in three dimensions. This novel, highly customizable material platform enables the preservation of many of the high performance material properties of the traditional one atom thick two dimensional graphene sheets.

"Such three dimensional graphene materials can be further functionalized by chemical vapor deposition, electro deposition and/or chemical grafting to develop even more advanced materials for high performance product developments. This new nano-material platform interconnects the two dimensional nano world with the three dimensional macroscopic world of products in a more manufacturable manner. The novel material platform is already being explored by innovators for a growing range of product applications. It is anticipated that as additional variations of the material are developed, more growth market opportunities will become available."

"CVD Materials Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of CVD Equipment Corporation that focuses on providing a range of nano-enabled materials and products," said Leonard Rosenbaum, president. "By leveraging our custom equipment design and manufacturing capabilities with the process development and manufacturing capabilities of our Application Laboratory, CVD Materials Corp. can optimally focus on shortening the time to market for novel 'nano-enhanced' material products.

"With the commercialization of CVD3DGraphene cellular materials using a range of Nickel foam templates and by tuning the thickness of the carbon film layers we can provide an expanded range of CVDGraphene research materials that enables our customers to develop new products, including: higher performance batteries; ultracapacitors; and gas, liquid and bio sensors.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

AltaSens adopts Berkeley Design Automation Analog FastSPICE platform for HD CMOS image sensors

SANTA CLARA, USA: Berkeley Design Automation Inc., provider of the world’s fastest nanometer circuit verification, announced that AltaSens, Inc., a premier supplier of high-performance CMOS image sensors, has selected the company’s AFS Platform for full-circuit post-layout verification, block-level characterization, and device noise analysis of their high-definition (HD) and wide-dynamic-range CMOS image sensors.

“At AltaSens we have significant circuit verification challenges to deliver CMOS image sensors with the highest image quality along with lower noise and lower power in a cost-effective solution,” said Manjunath Bhat, VP of Engineering at AltaSens. “With the AFS Platform we can run post-layout verification of our high-performance wide-dynamic-range HD CMOS image sensors with nanometer SPICE accuracy. When running AFS single core we get performance on par with our existing parallel simulator running on 8 cores.”

The Analog FastSPICE Platform is the world’s fastest nanometer circuit verification platform for analog, RF, mixed-signal, and custom digital circuits. The AFS Platform delivers foundry-certified nanometer SPICE accuracy 5x-10x faster than any other simulator on a single core and an additional 2x-4x performance with multithreading.

For circuit characterization, the AFS Platform includes the industry’s only comprehensive silicon-accurate device noise analysis and delivers near-linear performance scaling with the number of cores. For large circuits, it delivers >10M-element capacity, the industry’s fastest near-SPICE-accurate simulation, and mixed- analog-digital co-simulation with leading Verilog simulators. Available licenses include AFS circuit simulation, AFS Transient Noise Analysis, AFS RF Analysis, AFS Co-Simulation, and AFS Nano SPICE.

“We are delighted that AltaSens, a premier supplier of high-definition and wide-dynamic-range CMOS image sensors, has adopted the AFS Platform,” said Ravi Subramanian, president and CEO of Berkeley Design Automation. “AltaSens’ selection further validates that Berkeley Design Automation is an essential partner to leading edge companies designing high-performance CMOS image sensors across a wide variety of applications.”

Analog Bits announces 28nm IP availability

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: Analog Bits, the Integrated Clocking and Interface IP leader, announced availability of its major product lines on 28nm process technologies.

The company revealed for the first time that it has long had working silicon at the 32nm process nodes, and has delivered numerous 28nm IP based on a high performance (HP) and low power (LP) processes. It is now actively porting production-proven IP to multiple 28nm nodes, including the new 28nm HPM process.

The Analog Bits 28nm product lines include PLL, DLL, SERDES, DDR3 I/Os, TCAM high performance memories, and on-die thermometer IP. Design Kits are available immediately for inclusion in leading edge designs.

"Hitting the precise power, performance and area sweet spot is going to challenge designers at the 28nm node. Analog Bits is working hard to get in front of the many IP technical issues at 28-nanometers and is bringing key clocking and interface IP to meet the needs of early adopters," explains Mahesh Tirupattur, executive VP, Analog Bits.

Analog Bits' 28nm standard PLLs cover a range of frequency requirements up to 5GHz. They feature an exceedingly small footprint thanks to the pioneering "zero core area" technique, and like other Analog Bits PLLs, feature class-leading low jitter and low power with less than 1mA/GHz power consumption. Ultra Low Jitter (<100fs RMS) and Very High Speed (up to 20GHz) PLLs are also available.

The 28nm SERDES line supports the industry's lowest power consumption at 4.3mw/Gbps, and the industry's lowest latency. It has multi-rate and multi-protocol capabilities and adaptive equalization to support PCI Express Gen 3 and backplane KR applications, as well as supporting over 70 standard protocols. This is ideal for high SERDES count chips due to its low area and power and excels as a chip-to-chip interconnect solution.

The new 28nm DDR3/LPDDR2 I/Os support designs with speeds up to 2.133 Gbps and is programmable to support DDR3/3L/3U standards. The LPDDR2 products are targeted for hand held and consumer devices where lower power memory interfaces are essential. The high performance TCAM memories feature capabilities beyond the 1 GHz range. The 28nm temperature sensor is a highly integrated, low power, small form factor macro for monitoring temperature variation on-chip, allowing very high precision even in untrimmed usage.

TI's ultra-low-power automotive MCUs improve fuel efficiency and battery life

DALLAS, USA: Fulfilling the need for ultra-low-power microcontrollers (MCUs) in the automotive market, Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) announced the qualification of MSP430 16-bit microcontrollers for automotive applications.

The AEC-Q100 certification allows developers to integrate higher performance, power efficiency and scalability into their designs without sacrificing on price. Automotive systems designers now have access to more than 50 MSP430 Value Line microcontrollers for use in applications including interior cabin motors, capacitive touch, infotainment systems and remote keyless entry.

MSP430 automotive qualified microcontrollers include the same support and software that developers have come to expect from all MSP430 devices. The inclusion of easy-to-use, scalable and code-compatible software, including the Grace software plug-in for Code Composer Studio IDE, helps developers speed designs and migrate to a roadmap of devices that offer more performance, memory options, greater connectivity and a higher temperature range.

Features and benefits
* 16-bit microcontrollers priced as low as $0.30 reduce system costs and extend a vehicle's battery life and fuel efficiency.
* LIN software drivers allow developers to easily design LIN-based applications and products.
* Devices are qualified for environments up to 105 degrees Celsius ambient temperature (Grade 2 & Grade 3) allowing developers to design systems that perform in extreme conditions.
* MSP430G2xx and MSP430F2xx microcontroller series offer up to 16 MHz, 32 KB flash and 1024 Bytes SRAM, allowing developers to choose the best performance and memory options for their solution.
* Optimized efficiency with ultra-low standby power of 0.4 uA and <1 uS wake-up time as well as integrated intelligent peripherals, such as 10-bit ADCs, UART, comparator and serial communication.

Altera continues rollout of tailored 28-nm product oortfolio with shipment of Arria V FPGAs

SAN JOSE, USA: Altera Corp. announced it has started shipping its 28-nm Arria V FPGAs. The Arria V devices are the lowest power midrange FPGAs available on the market today with 10.3125-Gbps transceiver technology.

The family's innovative features allow designers to tailor their low power, high bandwidth and low cost requirements for next-generation systems in the wireless, broadcast and military markets. The Arria V devices are the second family to ship from the company's 28-nm product portfolio following the shipment of its Stratix® V family in early 2011, underscoring Altera's commitment to deliver devices optimized to meet the diverse design needs of customers.

The Arria V family is developed on TSMC's 28-nm Low Power (28LP) process and offers the lowest total power, lowest static power, and lowest transceiver power of any midrange FPGA family, consuming up to 40 percent less power compared to previous generation devices. The family also delivers 50 percent lower static power and 50% lower transceiver power than any FPGA in its class. By leveraging Altera's proven transceiver leadership with its sixth-generation transceiver IP, the family is optimized to consume 100 mW of power at 10.3125-Gbps data rates.

Companies like CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks, leverage Altera's devices to achieve the right balance of high performance and low power necessary for their next-generation 4G wireless networks.

"After thorough evaluation of multiple alternatives, we chose Altera's Arria V FPGAs for our upcoming remote radio heads and active antenna systems because they provided the high performance and lowest power we needed while providing the best value in a very price-sensitive market," said Carmine Pagano, engineering fellow at CommScope.

"The Arria V devices we received will help us deliver 4G wireless infrastructure products with higher bandwidth, greater power efficiency and more cost effectiveness, enabling our customers to deliver optimal wireless coverage and quality of service while reducing their overall capital and operating expenses."

"The Arria V architecture, IP and development tools combined with TSMC's 28LP process enable our customers to achieve an optimized balance of cost, power and performance," said Patrick Dorsey, senior director of product marketing at Altera. "Our investment in tailoring the family to meet the unique requirements of wireless, broadband and military applications will ensure customers achieve the best performance per watt for their applications."

Microchip unveils lowest-cost development tool for 16- and 32-bit PIC MCUs, 16-bit dsPIC DSCs

CHANDLER, USA: Microchip Technology Inc. announced the lowest-cost development tool supporting 3.3V 16-bit and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers (MCUs), as well as 16-bit dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs) in 28-pin SPDIP packages.

The flexible Microstick II tool features everything designers need to get started designing with these MCUs and DSCs, including an integrated debugger and programmer, user LED, reset button, and DUT socket for easy device swapping. The USB-powered tool can be used standalone or plugged into a prototyping board for extremely flexible development, and is supported by the MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This tool makes it easy to evaluate and develop with Microchip’s broad range of 16- and 32-bit products, enabling developers to find the best MCU or DSC for their applications.

“With this tool, we’ve made it even easier and lower cost to start developing with 16- and 32-bit PIC MCUs, and 16-bit DSCs,” said Sumit Mitra, vice president of Microchip’s High-Performance Microcontroller Division. “Additionally, customers can easily plug the Microstick II tool into a standard prototyping board for expansion and further development.”

Skorpios receives $2 million follow-on investment

ALBUQUERQUE, USA: Skorpios Technologies Inc., an innovator in composite silicon photonic technology, announced a follow-on investment to its Series B round of $19 million. The additional $2 million provided by T-Venture, Deutsche Telekom's venture capital company, brings total investment in the round to $21 million.

"We are delighted to welcome Deutsche Telekom to the investment syndicate," said Stephen Krasulick, president and CEO of Skorpios Technologies. "The support of global carriers, such as Deutsche Telekom, in addition to major equipment companies and systems integrators, validates the market need for Skorpios' differentiating component technology. Our platform is a key enabler to reducing costs and improving performance in next-generation optical communications equipment."

"The integration of today's separated building blocks into a single chip provides various important effects for our network, such as capex and opex savings at the aggregation layer and core, but also the economic enabling of new technologies that are essential to our strategy," said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, director of Technology, Telekom Deutschland GmbH. "We are happy to support Skorpios in the realization of this disruptive approach with the investment from T-Venture."

The $21 million in Series B funding will be used to expand Skorpios Technologies' infrastructure and complete the commercialization of its core technology, an advanced composite semiconductor on insulator technology that will enable the next generation of optical networking equipment.

Other investors in this round include leaders in the communications networking ecosystem, along with return venture capital investors Cottonwood Technology Fund and Sun Mountain Capital.

Applied Materials announces atomic-level film treatment to reduce chip power consumption

SANTA CLARA, USA: Applied Materials Inc. has announced a breakthrough technology for reducing power consumption in semiconductor chips with its new Applied Producer Onyx film treatment system. By optimizing the molecular structure of the low k films that insulate the miles of wiring, or interconnects, on each chip, the Producer Onyx system enables customers to continue their relentless drive to fabricate faster, more power-efficient logic devices as they scale to 22nm and below.

"The interconnect represents approximately one-third of the total power consumed by a chip and reducing this power is essential to achieving higher performance and longer battery life in advanced logic devices," said Bill McClintock, VP and GM of Applied's Dielectric Systems and Modules business unit.

"With the Onyx system, we're offering a unique treatment capability that delivers the most power-efficient interconnects in the industry, while increasing mechanical strength, making the chip robust to better withstand the challenge of emerging 3-D packaging applications. Multiple Producer Onyx systems are already in pilot production for advanced logic device manufacturing."

With each successive technology node, interconnect wires get closer to one another, increasing the potential for parasitic capacitance, or crosstalk, between adjacent lines - which wastes power and restricts switching speed. Reducing capacitance, by lowering the k-value of the insulating material that separates and supports these structures, is a key component in ensuring continued improvement in performance and battery life.

Applied's proprietary Onyx technology drives carbon and silicon into the porous dielectric film to reinforce the insulating material at the atomic level. The treatment decreases the k-value by up to 20%, delivering a significant reduction in chip power consumption. In addition, the process increases the stiffness of the dielectric, enabling it to withstand the stress of hundreds of subsequent processes and packaging steps.

MaxLinear supplies MxL601 “super radio” tuner ICs to Sharp for TV modules

CARLSBAD, USA: MaxLinear Inc., a leading provider of integrated radio frequency (RF) and mixed-signal integrated circuits for broadband communication applications, announced that its MxL601 tuner IC has been selected by the tuner module division of Sharp Corp. for its next generation of global hybrid TV tuner modules.

Sharp is one of the world’s leading TV tuner module companies supplying the modules that power leading TV manufacturers’ lines of flat panel televisions. Sharp recently made headlines by introducing the industry’s smallest TV tuner module.

“We’ve dubbed the MxL601 the ‘super radio’ because of the outstanding performance the part has delivered in early implementations. To get this performance out of an IC based on a low-power 65-nm CMOS process really sets this device apart from the competition,” said Yves Rasse, senior director of MaxLinear’s Consumer Product Line. “Sharp’s choice of the MxL601 is an extension of our long partnership with the company; a partnership that continues to grow as we bring new innovations like the MxL601 to market.”

Consistent with Sharp’s ultra-compact, high performance TV tuner module designs, the company has chosen the MxL601 to help meet its needs and accelerate the transition from traditional MOPLL tuner implementations to more cost-effective silicon tuner solutions across its entire product line of tuner modules.

The MxL601 65-nm CMOS hybrid TV tuner delivers superior analog and digital TV reception quality, enabling cost-effective silicon tuner solutions that can be applied to all screen sizes. The device is based on MaxLinear’s 65-nm CMOS advanced radio technology that has been shipping in volume since early 2011.

An unmatched level of integration in the MxL601 results in an eBOM that is reduced to only a few low-cost discrete components, and ultra-low power consumption of 300mW in typical applications. This combination of integration and ultra-low power creates a footprint that allows manufacturers to differentiate with smaller and more efficient multi-standard front-end solutions.

MxL601’s supported standards include: PAL, SECAM, NTSC, DVB-T/T2, ISDB-T, ISDB-Tmm, ATSC, ATSC M/H, DTMB, ITU-T J.83 Annex A (DVB-C) / B (US cable) / C (Japan), DOCSIS and EURODOCSIS, with the broadcast standard configured through software.

The MxL601 has been designed to seamlessly interface with all major backend TV SoCs, which makes it possible for TV and module makers to leverage the growing trend of integrating analog TV demodulators into backend SoCs.

MaxLinear's MxL601 65-nm hybrid tuner IC is sampling now. Mass production is scheduled to start in December 2011.

Altair Semiconductor teams with AsiaTelco to power world's first TD-LTE mobile hotspot

HOD HASHARON, ISRAEL: Altair Semiconductor, a leading developer of ultra-low power, small footprint and high performance 4G LTE chipsets, and AsiaTelco Technologies Co., a leading supplier of wireless terminal products, announced that Altair's chipset has been integrated in AsiaTelco's TD-LTE Mobile Hotspot product, the ALM-F190. The ALM-F190 made its debut at the ITU's Telecom World Geneva 2011 Conference, where it was demonstrated by China Mobile.

"AsiaTelco is committed to the commercialization of TD-LTE, as demonstrated by this world-first TD-LTE product announcement," said Jason Ding, CEO of AsiaTelco. "The selection of Altair's LTE chipset for this product has enabled us to develop a compact and low power device, while benefitting from the high level of maturity and field testing encompassed in its software."

ALM-F190 is the first Mobile Hotspot product designed for both TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, capable of delivering 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink. The product enables users to experience applications such as high-definition video streaming, online gaming and high speed Internet browsing using multiple connected WiFi devices over a single 4G LTE connection. The product features long usage and standby times.

"We are very proud to have our chipset power the world's first TD-LTE Mobile Hotspot product," said Eran Eshed, co-founder and VP of Marketing and Business Development at Altair Semiconductor. "AsiaTelco's choice of Altair chipsets for this innovative product attests to the low power and high performance merits of the chipset, as well as the maturity of our software. We look forward to partnering with AsiaTelco to introduce new and exciting products in the future."

AsiaTelco is a leading supplier of 4G products, including LTE USB dongles, wireless data modules and indoor and outdoor CPEs, covering several frequency bands. The China-based manufacturer has shipped products to more than 30 countries around the world.

Altair's FourGee-3100/6200 is a 3GPP LTE chipset that supports LTE throughputs in excess of 100Mbps/50Mbps DL/UL respectively. The chipset implements a high performance MIMO receiver and is based on a proprietary O²P SDR processor, offering performance which significantly exceeds traditional communications DSP cores, yet consumes a fraction of the power. The FourGee-3100/6200 supports both FDD and TDD variants using single software, and covers any LTE frequency band in the range between 700-2700MHz. The combined chipset offers terminal manufacturers a true global solution.

Supreme Court rejects petition for Certiorari, affirming Tessera win

SAN JOSE, USA: Tessera Technologies Inc. announced that on Nov. 28, 2011, the United States Supreme Court rejected petitions for certiorari seeking review of the judgment of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Investigation No. 337-TA-605 (Wireless ITC action) in favor of Tessera Inc., leaving intact a finding that the patents asserted by Tessera Inc. were valid and infringed by certain wireless semiconductor manufacturers.

“We are heartened to see that despite Respondents’ efforts to delay, the highest court in the United States has now upheld our patent rights,” said Robert A. Young, CEO and president, Tessera. “The Supreme Court's ruling removes the last procedural hurdle to getting the stayed cases in the federal district courts moving forward. Tessera, Inc. prefers to settle disputes like these through broad portfolio license agreements that reflect the value of its patents, but intends, in the absence of a licensing agreement, to pursue damages for each Respondent's infringements in these district court cases.”

The Wireless ITC action was brought against Respondents Qualcomm, Freescale, ST Microelectronics, ATI, Spansion and Motorola. Tessera, Inc. asserted infringement of two patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,433,419 and 5,852,326. Motorola settled with Tessera, Inc. before the decision of the ITC became final. The ITC found the Tessera, Inc. patents valid and infringed, and issued a Limited Exclusion Order and Cease and Desist Orders against the remaining Respondents. On Sept. 24, 2010, the patents at issue in the case expired. On Dec. 21, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the rulings of the ITC.

Related district court actions against the Respondents are pending but currently stayed in the Eastern District of Texas and the Northern District of California. A Case Management Conference is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2012 in the Northern District of California regarding certain of these stayed cases.

Tessera also announced an update to its disclosure practices. In addition to complying with SEC and NASDAQ mandated requirements, the Company has historically issued press releases similar to this release with respect to litigation matters as a matter of course. The company is changing this practice and, in addition to all required disclosure, intends to comment publicly on litigation matters on a more selective basis, taking into account the adequacy of SEC and NASDAQ disclosure requirements to serve the needs of its stockholders. As always, the Company assumes no obligation to update the information it publicly provides.

IDT RapidIO Gen2 switches selected by Prodrive to enhance performance of next gen AdvancedTCA platforms

SAN JOSE, USA: Integrated Device Technology Inc. (IDT) announced that the IDT CPS-1848 and CPS-1616 Gen 2 RapidIO switches have been selected by Prodrive, a leading provider of hardware platforms and manufacturing for embedded systems markets, for its next generation AdvancedTCA (ATCA) carrier and switch cards. Prodrive selected IDT’s RapidIO switch over 10 GbE for key benefits in throughput, latency, jitter performance, quality of service and overall system power utilization.

Prodrive chose Serial RapidIO (S-RIO) for the fact that the S-RIO protocol is optimized for embedded systems while the Ethernet protocol is optimized for LAN and WAN networking applications. With a 256 byte maximum payload size and low overhead that results in 95% protocol efficiency, RapidIO can deliver more than twice the performance of 10 GbE solutions. Since 10 GbE options require large embedded memories to buffer and route jumbo packets, RapidIO solutions can also deliver this performance at lower power and lower cost.

The IDT S-RIO switch offers 20 Gbps of bandwidth per link, 100 ns cut through latency, 240 Gbps of non-blocking switch performance, and built-in reliable transmission. These performance, reliability, and power advantages are essential in servicing Prodrive’s customer base in industrial, military, imaging, and high performance computing markets.

“After extensive embedded technology analysis, we chose IDT’s RapidIO switches as the interconnect backbone for the multi-endpoint system in our peer-to-peer network. IDT’s solution provided more than double the bandwidth of Ethernet, low and deterministic latency, low power, and excellent software scalability – all of which are critical to our ATCA customer base,” said Pieter Janssen, CEO at Prodrive. “We have already delivered high quality ATCA Systems to the market with RapidIO 1.3 and moving to RapidIO Gen2 is a natural evolution for our customers. RapidIO allows them to deliver solutions to the end markets that surpass anything that is possible with 10 GbE.”

“We’re pleased that Prodrive has selected RapidIO Gen 2 and the IDT CPS-1848 and CPS-1616 switches for its ATCA carrier blades and switch cards,” said Fred Zust, VP of Communications Division at IDT. “Prodrive’s selection of IDT RapidIO products is an endorsement of our product performance, power and price. It’s another example of why RapidIO continues to proliferate beyond wireless base station programs into other performance driven markets where its protocol advantages in peer-to-peer networks are driving its continued growth.”

The IDT CPS-1848 is one of many RapidIO switch and bridge offerings from IDT’s industry-leading portfolio. IDT provides a wide selection of port and lane count devices that allow customers to tailor their switch selection to the application.

NXP veteran Dr. Sankara Narayan new country manager

BANGALORE, INDIA: NXP has announced the appointment of Dr. Sankara Narayan as Vice President and Country Manager for NXP in India. In this role, Dr. Narayan will be responsible for managing and growing NXP’s India operations. Additionally, he will also focus on engaging with local industry and academia to develop customized applications to cater to the Indian market.

Dr. Narayan started his career with Philips Research in The Netherlands and has 26 years of rich industry experience. He joined Philips Semiconductors (which in 2006became NXP Semiconductors) in 1993 to handle global technology development and coordination. In this role, he was also responsible for establishing European governmental and university relations for joint technology development of CMOS/BiCMOS processes. In the last decade, he has been in charge for global quality and sustainability management for NXP.

“We are very pleased to have Dr. Narayan join NXP India team. His wealth of knowledge and his team of R&D professionals will greatly benefit NXP in the region and will help us continue to bring High Performance Mixed Signal (HPMS) technology products to the benefit of emerging markets in the region,” said Rene Penning de Vries, CTO, NXP.

"India as a market presents tremendous opportunities for us across sectors. Moving forward, we envision our R&D centre to take over complete ownership of end-to-end product development,” said Dr. Sankara Narayan, VP and country manager, NXP India. “I'm truly excited to be a part of the NXP India team at this stage and look forward to taking India operations to scale newer heights.”

Outgoing India head of NXP, Neeraj Paliwal’s is moving to NXP Hamburg to take on new responsibility as the VP Engineering, Business Unit Identification at NXP Semiconductors. In his new role, Neeraj will manage BU Identification global R&D teams located in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Netherlands, and India.

Mindspeed ships five millionth multi-core packet processor for CPE

NEWPORT BEACH, USA: Mindspeed Technologies Inc., a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for network infrastructure applications, has shipped five million Comcerto multi-core system-on-chip (SoC) embedded packet processors for customer premises equipment (CPE), including residential gateways and broadband home routers (BHRs).

“Our Comcerto 1000 processor has particularly strong penetration in the BHR market, where we are playing an important role in this segment’s rapid expansion and evolution,” said Naser Adas, VP and GM, CPE and wireless, at Mindspeed.

“We continue to deliver a growing range of capabilities on the multi-core SoC foundation of our Comcerto processor, which combines performance with extremely low power consumption and carrier-class voice, quality of service (QoS) and reliability. This architecture has proven ideal for value-added services deployment by enabling remotely-managed applications from carriers, or third-party providers, to be run on one core, while the other remains dedicated to primary gateway functionality including voice processing and IPTV routing.”

Mindspeed recently extended its Comcerto 1000 family to enable a new category of CPE service offload platform (SOP) hardware that can be used with existing BHRs in the connected home. SOP Boxes will make it easier and more cost-effective for service providers to partner with best-of-breed home automation, utility monitoring, security, healthcare and networked appliance vendors to deliver cloud-based applications that can be provisioned and securely managed using their current hardware and software infrastructure.

“The broadband home networking market is on the rise, as new devices and technologies allow consumers to turn their homes into digital hubs for media sharing, social networking, and a wide variety of emerging value-added, carrier-managed broadband health, energy and security services,” said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access at Infonetics Research. “Next generation residential broadband home routers have become the fastest growing segment of the broadband customer premises equipment devices market."

Magma’s Tekton achieves adoption milestone

SAN JOSE, USA: Magma Design Automation Inc. announced that since its release 18 months ago, Tekton has grown its customer base to more than 25 companies, achieving the fastest adoption rate of any tool in the company’s history.

Tekton, the most advanced sign-off-quality static timing analysis (STA) tool on the market, was introduced to the industry in the spring of 2010. This unprecedented growth was accomplished despite the chip industry’s shrinking electronic design automation (EDA) budgets and designers’ historical unwillingness to change sign-off tools.

“Tekton has garnered strong customer interest for multiple reasons,” said Jacob Avidan, general manager of Magma’s Digital Sign-Off Business Unit. “First and foremost, the need for faster runtimes and true multi-mode, multi-corner (MMMC) sign-off is not being met by legacy tools today. Second, Tekton’s superior architecture, which was designed specifically for multi-core processing and concurrent MMMC analysis, has been proven on production designs. And third, customer confidence is high in Magma’s ability to sustain its performance and technology leadership in timing sign-off solutions.”

Customers are using Tekton to accelerate post place-and-route engineering change order (ECO) loops as well as for final sign-off runs. With the slow runtimes of legacy tools and the increasing number of scenarios that need to be analyzed, today’s timing closure phase can take two to three months to complete.

Tekton’s concurrent MMMC analysis and multi-threaded architecture can save tens – if not hundreds – of hours over the span of numerous ECO loops. Tekton also provides a huge savings in hardware costs for MMMC analysis. Recent customer results show savings between 75 and 95 percent of machine-count usage for running large numbers of scenarios. With fast and sign-off-accurate results in the ECO flow, customers can have confidence in using Tekton for final timing sign-off analysis and eliminate the need for additional STA point tools.

Tekton’s customers range from the largest networking and mobile broadband design houses to some of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers. More than half of the top 20 IDMs and fabless semiconductor companies are committed to using Tekton.

“The diversity of customers using Tekton has driven our R&D and support resources to produce a robust tool that works across a broad range of design styles and technology nodes including advanced nodes such as 28 and 20 nanometer. This diversity has also driven continued development to maintain Tekton’s competitive edge over other STA tools,” Avidan added. “In the last 9 months alone, Tekton’s runtime has been improved by over 2X while maintaining the same sign-off accuracy.”

Tekton was developed as part of a fully integrated system that includes extraction sign-off and place-and-route capabilities that use the same data base and are MMMC aware. This allows the platform engines to work simultaneously and to achieve higher quality of results and throughput compared to competitive point-tool solutions.

Global Unichip's USB 3.0 device controller IP passes USB-IF test procedure for SuperSpeed products

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: Global Unichip Corp. (GUC), the Flexible ASIC Leader, announced that its USB 3.0 Device Controller IP has passed the USB-IF Test Procedure for SuperSpeed products and is now listed in the Integrator List.

The USB 3.0 Device Controller IP supports SuperSpeed USB peripheral functionality that provides a 10x data transfer rate over Hi-Speed USB. It is backward compatible with USB 2.0 to ensure interoperability with billions of USB products already on the market.

GUC's USB 3.0 Device Controller IP is highly configurable and employs an aggressive power saving methodology. It is compatible with USB 3.0 PHYs, including GUC's own USB 3.0 PHY IP, through a standard PIPE interface. GUC's USB 3.0 PHY IP is currently under silicon characterization and expects to pass the complete USB-IF test by the first quarter of 2012.

The new USB 3.0 Device Controller IP is the latest addition to GUC's library of high quality digital, analog and mixed-signal IP. With GUC's silicon-proven USB 3.0 IP, designers can achieve reduced design time and guaranteed quality when developing products for advanced computing, entertainment, and networking applications.

"Our goal is to provide today's designers with the a broad custom and third party IP portfolio that includes the specific macros they need to bring their next innovative idea to reality," said Dr. Jen-Tai Hsu, senior director of Engineering, GUC."

SpringSoft targets chip finishing apps with new Laker Blitz

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: SpringSoft Inc., a global supplier of specialized IC design software, announced the immediate availability of the Laker Blitz chip-level layout editor, a new software product targeting chip finishing applications and the latest addition to its popular family of Laker custom IC design and layout automation solutions.

The Laker Blitz product enables high-speed viewing and editing of chip-level layouts to streamline tapeout-to-manufacturing operations. It is ideally suited for designs with massive data sets, such as advanced-node system-on-chip (SoC) implementations and large memory chips that are widely used in consumer electronics.

Chip finishing is one of the last physical design steps before manufacturing and generally requires engineers to merge large design files, run design rule checks (DRC), and make final corrections, all while under enormous schedule pressures. Currently, they most likely use layout tools or viewers that have been optimized for other tasks and have limited performance or minimal editing capabilities.

By contrast, SpringSoft’s Blitz software is specifically optimized for speed and user productivity during the chip finishing part of the design cycle, in keeping with the company’s focus on providing specialized solutions that address key pain points in the chip development process. It loads and exports GDSII data files 5 to 20 times faster than conventional layout tools, offers more robust layout editing capabilities than most high-capacity layout viewers, and provides an extensive library of Tool Command Language (Tcl) extensions for automating data manipulation.

Semiconductor manufacturers, foundries and fabless design companies are using SpringSoft’s new Laker offering for a variety of chip finishing applications, including IP merging, SoC assembly, and chip-level DRC reviews.

“There is a tools gap today when it comes to finishing a chip. Conventional layout editors are too slow, mask viewers are cumbersome with little or no editing capabilities, and DRC tools are limited in scope,” said Dave Reed, senior director of marketing for custom IC design solutions at SpringSoft. “Laker Blitz brings together performance, capacity, and proven layout technologies to significantly reduce the time and effort required to achieve final tapeout of high quality, high-density chip designs.”

Magma’s Titan delivers higher quality and faster design convergence for analog IP

SAN JOSE, USA: Magma Design Automation announced the availability of a new release of the Titan Analog/Mixed-Signal (Titan AMS) Design Platform. With patent-pending analog design technology, Titan provides an innovative FlexCell-to-GDSII analog/mixed-signal (AMS) flow that organically integrates both electrical design and physical design into one unified design methodology.

This paradigm-shifting, electrical-physical co-design flow ranges from front-end design such as schematics to circuit optimization in Titan Analog Design Accelerator (Titan ADX) to back-end design such as placement and routing in Titan Analog Virtual Prototyper (Titan AVP) and Titan Shape-Based Router (Titan SBR). Leveraging tight integration through a unified database and enhanced algorithms Titan further accelerates AMS design and reuse, setting a new standard in design automation for productivity, portability and quality.

This new Titan release supports Magma’s Silicon One initiative by providing faster design convergence, larger capacity and highly automated design flows that address the increasing size, complexity, and shortened development cycles, of today’s AMS designs.

Key enhancements include updates to foundry partner AMS reference flows, more efficient legacy data format support through native OpenAccess (OA) support, embedding Magma’s super-fast FineSim SPICE circuit simulation for faster and more efficient process modeling, the addition of several new advanced FlexCells that serve as process-independent analog building blocks, support of higher frequency transistor characteristics for RF design, increased capacity to simultaneously handle hundreds of multi-corner scenarios, parallel optimization through distributed implementation for faster runtime and better quality of results (QoR), and tight integration with Magma’s digital implementation tool Talus for more efficient top-level routing and chip finishing. Titan’s enhanced co-design flow has proven its value for early adopters who have experienced 2X improvement in design productivity while achieving better results.

“As evidenced by initial successes by and Panasonic, iWatt and Exar as well as recent achievements by Fujitsu and other users, Titan is experiencing very rapid adoption for a wide variety of analog designs being manufactured in process nodes ranging from 180 to 28 nanometer and below,” said Anirudh Devgan, GM of Magma’s Custom Design Business Unit. “More than half of the top 20 semiconductor companies in the world are Titan customers and several more are actively evaluating this technology. This growth is a direct result of Titan’s advanced analog circuit design capabilities, such as non-linear constraint-based circuit optimization and high capacity and high quality analog routing that allow Titan to offer significant quality and turnaround-time advantages over traditional analog design and implementation tools. Backed by Magma’s talented engineering, R&D and worldwide FAE teams, new customers can be confident in adopting this innovative solution.”

Mitsubishi Electric develops C-band GaN high-electron mobility transistors for satellite earth stations

TOKYO, JAPAN: Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has developed two Gallium Nitride (GaN) High-Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT) C-band (4–8GHz) amplifiers for satellite earth stations. The MGFC50G5867 and MGFC47G5867, featuring power outputs of an industry-leading 100W and 50W, respectively, will ship on a sample basis beginning January 10, 2012.

Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) amplifiers have been commonly employed in microwave power transmitters. In recent years, however, Gallium Nitride (GaN) amplifiers have become increasingly popular due to their high breakdown-voltage and power density, high saturated electron speed and ability to contribute to power saving and the downsizing of power transmitter equipment.

Mitsubishi Electric first began sample shipments of high-output GaN HEMT amplifiers for C-band space application in March 2010.

Anritsu and AWR expand AWR Connected for Anritsu

EL SEGUNDO, USA: AWR Corp., the innovation leader in high-frequency EDA software, and Anritsu Corp., a global provider of test and measurement solutions, announced the expansion of AWR Connected for Anritsu.

The initial AWR Connected for Anritsu offering consisted of AWR’s Microwave Office software and Anritsu’s VectorStar vector signal network analyzers and was announced in January 2009; however today’s news expands this to team Anritsu’s MS269xA/MS2830A Signal Analyzer series and MS269xA-002/MS2830A-02x Vector Signal Generator Option (SA/VSG) hardware with AWR’s Visual System Simulator (VSS) communications system design software.

AWR’s VSS software is a block-diagram based system simulator targeted at radar and communications system design. Combining simulation software and measurements with measurement instrumentation from Anritsu benefits communication systems designers such that complex, digitally modulated test signals (LTE, WiMAX, GSM/Edge) used to drive end hardware tests via Anritsu’s SA/VSG can now be assured that they are the same as those used throughout the design cycle within the VSS software.

Additionally, AWR Connected for Anritsu SA/VSG provides a comprehensive solution of simulation software and measurement instruments that address component design through to end-to-end communication systems and gives designers a competitive edge by reducing cost and time to market.

Impressive growth continues for tablet computers

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Perhaps the most-watched system trend in personal computing today is the meteoric growth of the touch-screen tablet computers, which have become a major force in the large consumer market for portable computers that run multimedia applications and connect wirelessly to the Internet.

In 2011, total personal computer units (including tablets) is forecast to climb to 414 million systems worldwide, which would be a 13 percent increase over 366 million in 2010 (see figure). However, if tablet computers are excluded from the market total, PC unit shipments are expected to grow by only a little more than 1 percent in 2011 to 353 million systems compared to 349 million in 2010.Source: IC Insights, USA.

Sales of touch-screen tablets are accelerating the overall growth in portable computers, but these systems are also cutting into consumer purchases of standard keyboard-operated notebooks—especially netbooks, which briefly fueled portable PC shipments several years ago. Worldwide purchases of touch-screen tablet computers are expected to increase at a CAGR of 81 percent between 2010 and 2015, while standard notebook PCs (including netbooks) are forecast to grow an annual average rate of slightly more than 7 percent in this time period.

The sharp upswing in tablet sales is undercutting growth of standard PCs. The look and feel of tablets, along with slick marketing campaigns by Apple and competitors, has convinced a growing number of consumers to buy touch-screen systems instead of new standard notebooks. In many cases, touch-screen tablets are not completely replacing the home PC, but they are delaying purchases of new notebooks and desktop computers.

Keyboard computers, still, are needed by most PC users because they are better suited for certain tasks--such as typing regular-length documents or e-mails, working on spreadsheets, or creating new multimedia content. IC Insights believes about one quarter of the 2011 tablets were bought by consumers in lieu of notebooks, and that percent is expected to grow to about one third in next few years. It is still believed that most homes will still need at least one standard PC to handle all computing applications in the future.

IAR Systems eases software development for Renesas SH-based embedded systems

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN: IAR Systems announced the availability of version 2.20 of IAR Embedded Workbench for SH. The new product version is an important addition to IAR Systems broad portfolio of C and C++ tools for building and debugging embedded system software for Renesas MCUs.

The new version of IAR Embedded Workbench for SH includes new optimizations and new powerful debugger functionality as well as integration with Subversion, one of the most popular version control systems on the market.

The compiler has been improved to optimize for higher execution speed, compared to the previous version. These improvements include options for more aggressive loop unrolling and function inlining. Developers of C++ applications can now also benefit from Virtual Function Elimination (VFE), where unused virtual functions are removed during the build process, resulting in tighter object code.

The IAR C-SPY Debugger is an important part of the integrated development environment for SH. The simulator version of the debugger includes a new Timeline window allowing graphically correlated visualization of the call stack and the interrupt log, both plotted against time. This view provides a clear view of the system’s basic behavior.

The E10A-USB emulator version of the IAR C-SPY Debugger provides new functionality. Support for software breakpoints is now included and it is also possible to set breakpoints during program execution. The profiling tool can now present statistics based on trace data of the application’s performance.

An increasingly high number of 32-bit designs are RTOS-based and IAR Embedded Workbench for SH now comes with thread-safe libraries, allowing safe execution of multiple threads at the same time.

IAR Embedded Workbench provides full support for SH-2A/ SH-2A FPU devices, a popular choice both in the automotive industry and in industrial automation. Version 2.20 contains support for the latest SH devices from Renesas.

The co-operation between IAR Systems and Renesas Electronics started in the mid-1980ies and IAR Systems today provides the most comprehensive tool support in the industry for Renesas 8-, 16-, and 32-bit devices.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cymer reduces chipmakers' operating costs with next gen iGLX

SAN DIEGO, USA: Cymer Inc., the world's leading supplier of light sources used by chipmakers to pattern advanced semiconductor chips, announced its third-generation Gas Lifetime eXtension (iGLX) control system for Argon Fluoride (ArF) immersion light sources.

An exclusive offering for chipmakers with OnPulse, the value-added feature is an improvement over previous generations of gas management systems, and is designed to double gas lifetime and automate gas optimization to eliminate manual intervention between service events.

At high-utilization sites, iGLX can provide up to an additional nine to 16 hours productivity per light source each year. As an additional benefit, iGLX also reduces the consumption of fluorine gas by up to 20 percent, while maintaining existing light source performance and enhancing environmentally-friendly manufacturing.

"Chipmakers continue to demand increased tool availability and iGLX offers higher uptime and enables increased wafer output," said Ed Brown, president and chief operating officer of Cymer. "iGLX is another example of Cymer's ongoing commitment to continuous improvement and bringing increased value to chipmaker customers through our widely-adopted OnPulse offerings."

iGLX is currently available to OnPulse customers on ArF immersion light sources as a field upgrade.

Analog Devices’ 16-channel audio D/A converter provides high-performance audio at lower power

NORWOOD, USA: Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) introduced a 16-channel audio D/A converter today capable of improving audio system performance and reducing power consumption for professional, “prosumer” and automotive audio equipment applications.

The 24-bit ADAU1966 16-channel audio D/A converter provides 118dB SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) performance at 32 kHz to 192 kHz sampling rates. Its 118 dB SNR performance is achieved with a lowest in class power consumption of less than 300 mW for 16-channel operation by running the digital portion of the ADAU1966 at a lower voltage. The digital supply can be generated on chip via a linear regulator allowing the ADAU1966 to operate off a single analog supply. Alternatively, the regulator can be bypassed and a separate 2.5V to 3.3V supply provided to the chip.

Operating the ADAU1966 with full-scale differential output voltage of 3 Vrms reduces the need for downstream gain and preserves a high SNR against electrically-coupled system noise. By using the ADAU1966 A/D converter’s on-board PLL (phase-locked loop) to derive the internal master clock from an external left/right clock, the ADAU1966 eliminates the need for a separate high frequency master clock and can be used with or without a bit clock.

The ADAU1966 is qualified for AEC-100 automotive applications and operates at a -40° C to +105° C temperature range. It also features an SPI/I2C port which allows an external microcontroller to adjust volume and read the chip temperature to within +/-3°C.