Tuesday, March 20, 2012

X-FAB extends high-temperature capability to 0.18 micrometer platform

ERFURT, GERMANY: Responding to its customers’ needs for applications with high-temperature requirements, X-FAB Silicon Foundries announced XH018 HT – a new module that adds high-temperature capability to its XH018 technology family. It offers the industry’s first and only 0.18 micrometer platform with high temperature (HT), high voltage (HV) and non-volatile memory (NVM) capability.

X-FAB also added 13 new primitive devices with this extension, including multiple HV transistors with enhanced Ron performance, symmetrical HV transistors and new electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection structures.

The high-temperature extension and its new devices are ideal for use in automotive applications such as control devices inside combustion engine compartments or electric engine housings. They are well suited for automotive applications with operating voltages up to 45V. The flexible combination with other existing process features also provides a unique offering for motor control and power management or power-conversion applications for a wide range of voltages in industrial, medical and consumer systems.

The XH018 high-temperature process module extends the operation temperature range of the integrated circuits (ICs) to +175°C and requires no additional mask layers, making it very cost-efficient. The added primitive devices include 10V and 20V transistors and symmetrical high-voltage transistors that enable designers to facilitate their designs and product development. An 18V Schottky diode that can be used for charge pumps and as an ESD protection device to prevent electrostatic discharge complements the new HV transistors.

X-FAB’s CTO, Jens Kosch, explained the importance of today’s announcement for the industry, saying: “High-temperature operating conditions can wreak havoc on the ability of devices to function reliably. However, with the XH018 HT extension we enable our customers to develop new products in new application areas even under those extreme conditions. The robust architecture of the process and the extensive characterization and modeling we applied to provide such new devices ensure they will function properly, with an extended lifetime and less degradation. In addition, because more and more applications also require reliable integration of non-volatile memory function, we developed a solution for how our NVM IP blocks can be used in these extended operating conditions. Our resulting embedded Flash, NVRAM and TrimOTP blocks for high-temperature use will add even more flexibility and reliability for our customers’ products.”

Extensive design support
X-FAB offers substantial design support for the new XH018 HT module. An updated process design kit (PDK) is available for download from X-FAB's online technical database, X-TIC. Full model documentation is available and adheres to the GSA modeling description standard. Full PDK support includes primitive device libraries for Cadence 6.1 and accurate device models for major SPICE simulation tools.

In addition to ESD protection, latch-up guidelines are available to help prevent short circuits that can occur in marginally designed circuits. X-FAB also provides process reliability specifications through X-TIC, including Safe Operating Area (SOA) specifications and information about device degradation.

The XH018 HT extension is available now for tape-ins; customers can start their designs and submit their prototypes for production. The unique combination of embedded Flash IP blocks, TrimOTP, and NVRAM compiler and high-temperature capability up to 175 degrees will become available next quarter. Customers have the choice of using X-FAB’s ready-to-use blocks or their own memory design. X-FAB’s lifetime calculator tool also will be available for the new extension next quarter.

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