Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cadence and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to improve DFM signoff for 20- and 14-nanometer nodes

USA: Cadence Design Systems Inc. has announced that GLOBALFOUNDRIES has collaborated with Cadence to provide pattern classification data for manufacturing processes of 20 and 14 nanometers.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES is using the Cadence Pattern Classification and Pattern Matching Solutions because they enable up to four times faster design for manufacturing (DFM), which is key to improving customers’ silicon yield and predictability.

“We have integrated Cadence pattern classification technologies to classify yield detractors into pattern families based on pattern similarity, including inexact patterns, to maximize the efficiency of the pattern matching-based lithography signoff flow called DRC+,” said Luigi Capodieci, fellow and senior director of DFM at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “The innovative DRC+ signoff flow has been successfully used on several 32- and 28-nanometer production IC designs, and we are now using it in today’s most advanced process geometries.”

Cadence pattern classification technology allows GLOBALFOUNDRIES to classify hundreds of thousands of yield detractor, process hotspots, and silicon failures into easily usable pattern libraries. Cadence Pattern Search and Matching Analysis are embedded in Cadence Litho Physical Analyzer, Physical Verification System and the unified Virtuoso custom/analog and Encounter Digital Implementation System solutions.

This offers GLOBALFOUNDRIES customers the flexibility to leverage the in-design signoff pattern matching and automatic fixing available in Encounter and Virtuoso, which correlates 100 percent with the full-chip signoff flow and has successfully been used on advanced node production chips.

For GLOBALFOUNDRIES customers using Cadence design tools, the silicon-proven DFM flow is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with Cadence custom, digital, and full-chip signoff flows. The integration of pattern matching-based DRC+ into the Virtuoso Layout Suite enables a powerful, correct-by-construction methodology and enables sophisticated avoidance and auto-fixing of bad patterns.

Encounter Digital Implementation System has been able to accurately and quickly find and fix 100% of the DRC+ violations without introducing additional DRC or DRC+ violations, and has been successfully used on several 28-nanometer designs.

“DFM serves as an increasingly important link between chip development and manufacturing, and can play a huge role in silicon yield and predictability,” said Chi-Ping Hsu, senior VP, Silicon Realization Group at Cadence.

“Cadence pattern classification technology helps GLOBALFOUNDRIES customers set and meet high expectations for yield, ensuring they get the highest possible return out of their complex designs. We appreciate GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ commitment to use our technology at 20 and 14 nanometers and the nodes to follow.”

Parade announces DisplayPort-to-VGA converter chips with ultra-low power

USA: —Parade Technologies Ltd, a leading video display and interface IC supplier, announced two DisplayPort-to-VGA converter chips for the personal computer market. These devices feature lower power consumption and smaller package sizes than similar devices on the market.

DisplayPort is the latest video interface for the personal computer industry, and DisplayPort is now supported by virtually all computer chip sets. Many computer chip sets no longer support the older VGA video interface, partly because VGA requires a higher output voltage swing that is difficult to support with the sub-micron chip technologies that are now common.

For many personal computer users, however, a VGA system output is still required to support legacy VGA displays, including projectors. By adding Parade’s new PS8613 DisplayPort-to-VGA converter to a personal computer motherboard, manufacturers can offer a VGA system output even if the host processor and video processor have migrated to the now ubiquitous DisplayPort chip interface.

The PS8613 consumes just 0.2 milliwatts in standby mode, helping to extend battery life in portable systems when the VGA output is not in use. The PS8613 requires no firmware, programming, nor any other configuration or interaction from the system host.

For new personal computer systems that provide only a DisplayPort output, with no VGA port, the computer industry offers low-cost after-market video format converters, or dongles, that incorporate DisplayPort-to-VGA converters. Parade’'s new PS8617 DisplayPort-to-VGA converter is designed to be used in such converter devices. The PS8617 includes a ROM memory interface for device firmware, allowing the PS8617 to be optimized for specific video adapter and system peripheral applications.

“DisplayPort-to-VGA adaptors are becoming a way of life for the PC system vendor,” says Jimmy Chiu, executive VP of Marketing at Parade Technologies. “Because of the large installed base of business projectors, the need for VGA will continue to exist for many users.

With VGA support disappearing on chip sets, there are several DisplayPort-to-VGA adaptor chips to choose from in the market, but none offer the low power and small packages that the PS8613 and PS8617 offer. With the move towards more portable systems and the emphasis on light weight and battery life, Parade has received many requests for products like these.”

The PS8613 and PS8617 support VGA output resolutions up to 1920x1200 (WUXGA) at 60Hz refresh, and are compatible with both DisplayPort 1.1 and 1.2 source devices. The devices accept one or two Main Link lanes with link rates of 1.62 or 2.7 Gigabits-per-second at the DisplayPort input. Optional device control is provided through a dedicated I2C interface.

According to independent market research estimates, more than 400 million DisplayPort-enabled systems will ship annually by 2014. As an acknowledged industry leader in DisplayPort-enabling technology, Parade is a leading supplier of DisplayPort conversion devices. The company’s product portfolio includes a range of devices for converting DisplayPort to LVDS, DVI, HDMI, and VGA.

The PS8613 and PS8617 devices are sampling now, with production quantities expected in Q4, 2013. The PS8613 is packaged in a 5x5mm 40-pin TQFN, and will be priced at $1.55 / ea. in high volume. The PS8617 is packaged in a 4.5x6.5mm 46-pin QFN, and will be priced at $1.75 / ea. in high volume.

Sonics and ARM enter patent license agreement

USA: Sonics Inc., the leader of system IP for cloud-scale systems-on-chip (SoC), announced that ARM has licensed Sonics patent portfolio currently consisting of 138 properties for use in ARM products and specifications.

Sonics patent portfolio, several of which are fundamental to the development and implementation of on-chip interconnect products used in SoCs, is powering many of today’s cutting edge connected devices. This agreement also signals the closer cooperation between Sonics and ARM on Sonics’ next generation advanced power management and on-chip interconnect technologies for leading edge SoCs.

Sonics and ARM also announced cooperation to support Sonics’ next generation advanced power management technologies, which are intended to deliver disruptive levels of power savings through dark silicon techniques. Close interaction between system processors, on-chip networks and the attached IP subsystems and cores are important to minimizing overall system power.

The ability to keep cores switched off for much longer periods of time, along with the ability to turn devices on and off much more rapidly, will enable significant power savings over current solutions. Through close coordination with ARM, Sonics will provide SoC developers with the ability to continue to scale the performance and functionality of their devices while increasing battery life.

TI extends remote control portfolio with Bluetooth low energy solution with broad industry support

USA: Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) announced the extension of its remote control solutions offering with a new Bluetooth low energy advanced remote control kit.

As a technology, Bluetooth low energy allows for remotes with mouse-like pointing and keyboard functionality as well as gesture-, touch- and motion-based input controls so users can take their viewing and gaming experience to the next level. In addition to control of traditional home consumer electronics, the Bluetooth low energy remote control solution enables direct control of Bluetooth Smart Ready devices like PCs, laptops and tablets devices.

It also enables Bluetooth Smart devices like a mobile phone to configure the advanced remote control solution over-the-air, for example, to upload new firmware. TI's Bluetooth low energy advanced remote control solution has received broad industry support from manufacturers and software providers.

The Bluetooth low energy solution builds upon an already successful remote control family based on TI's ZigBee RF4CE technology. Now, manufacturers have the ability to complement their ZigBee RF4CE remote designs with Bluetooth low energy technology with ease, due to pin-to-pin and SoC digital domain compatibility between TI's CC253x ZigBee technology and the CC254x Bluetooth low energy SoC.

For example, valuable research and development time used to port IR database, sensor fusion algorithms, drivers and other IP can be reused between the two technologies. Additionally, the BLE-Stack 1.3.1 release contains the advanced remote sample application software in addition to general enhancements to the stack software.

Plasma-Therm receives repeat orders for VERSALINE

USA: A leading US wireless compound semiconductor device manufacturer has placed capacity driven, follow-on orders with Plasma-Therm LLC for VERSALINE wafer processing, etch modules.

The process modules will support RF power amplifier and switch chip production with advanced backside GaAs via formation. These chipsets are used primarily in handsets and other RF applications

The process modules include Plasma-Therm’s EndPointWorks technology and unique active feedback chamber temperature management to ensure maximum etch yield, reproducibility and uptime productivity. These orders compliment an installed base of Plasma-Therm VERSALINE and Versalock systems at this site for multiple plasma-processing steps that includes both deposition and etch.

Dr. David Lishan, director-Technical Marketing explains: “Based on a history of repeat orders, Plasma-Therm has been a key supplier to wireless compound semiconductor manufactures for many years.
Follow-on orders are especially encouraging as they confirm we are continuously providing solutions that meet the expectations of our customers. On time solutions, whether for capacity or technology
needs, are a result of close collaboration with our customers.”

RDA Microelectronics announces sampling of EDGE smartphone baseband

CHINA: RDA Microelectronics Inc., a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops and markets wireless systems-on-chip and radio-frequency semiconductors for cellular, connectivity and broadcast applications, announced the sampling of its RDA8810 EDGE baseband smartphone solution.

The RDA8810 integrates the RF transceiver, EDGE modem, 1 GHz A5 applications processor, power management unit, analog baseband, and even the 32kHz oscillator, all onto one 40 nanometer SoC. Competitive offerings require up to three dies and two to three chips for the RF functions, application processor and baseband, greatly reducing functionality while increasing the bill of materials.

Additionally, the 8810 supports 400MHz 32-bit LPDDR2, which supplies 3.2GB/s of memory bandwidth. With a dedicated hardware video processor, the 8810 also supports 1080p H.264 video playback at 30fps as well as high-end graphic performance for graphical user interface (GUI) and online games.

It also supports WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS connections through peripheral interfaces. Since the EDGE modem sub-system has its own CPU, accelerator and memory, it does not diminish the performance of the application processor. The RDA8810 supports Android 4.0 OS and above.

Avago acquires Javelin Semiconductor to develop technology for next gen hybrid GaAs/CMOS RF front-end modules

USA & SINGAPORE: Avago Technologies Ltd, a leading supplier of analog interface components for communications, industrial and consumer applications, announced that it has acquired Javelin
Semiconductor Inc., an innovator of high performance radio frequency (RF) and mixed signal CMOS integrated circuits for wireless communications.

Based in Austin, Texas, Javelin is a leading developer of high performance 3G CMOS power amplifiers (PAs). The acquisition of Javelin will form the foundation of Avago's RF CMOS design and development for its wireless semiconductor division.

"With Javelin, we will start to develop technology for next generation hybrid GaAs/CMOS front-end modules," said Bryan Ingram, SVP and COO of Avago. "We believe these hybrid modules, leveraging our proprietary FBAR filters, will give Avago a unique opportunity to maintain its leadership position in high performance RF components for the smartphone market."

The acquisition of Javelin is not expected to have a material effect on Avago's financial condition or results of operations in the near term.

Microchip expands LIN 2.1/ SAE J2602-2 portfolio

USA: Microchip Technology Inc. announced the expansion of its LIN portfolio with the LIN 2.1 and SAE J2602-2 compliant and low-power MCP2003A transceiver, MCP2021A, MCP2022A, MCP2025 and MCP2050 LIN System Basis Chips (SBCs), and PIC16F1829LIN System in Package (SiP).

These devices include high integration options, such as a voltage regulator, windowed watchdog timer, battery monitor output and an MCU. Additionally, they feature high robustness, including high Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) levels of more than 15 kV on the LIN bus and battery-voltage pins, meeting or exceeding automotive manufacturer requirements such as Version 1.3 of the “OEM Hardware Requirements for LIN, CAN and FlexRay Interfaces in Automotive Applications.

The voltage regulator that is integrated on some of the devices has also been specifically designed to operate in the automotive environment, and can withstand reverse battery conditions, +43V load dump transients and double-battery jump starts. This robustness enables reliable communication in harsh environments, and the high level of integration lowers cost and complexity while saving space.

The new PIC16F1829LIN SiP incorporates an 8-bit Flash MCU, a voltage regulator and a LIN transceiver, along with peripherals such as a 10-bit ADC, comparators and timers—all in a 20-pin SSOP package. This adds to Microchip’s wide range of eXtreme Low Power (XLP) 8- and 16-bit PIC microcontrollers with integrated Enhanced USART peripherals.

The enhanced USART peripheral enables easy connectivity to LIN physical layer transceivers and SBCs. Whether SiP or standalone solutions, Microchip’s XLP MCU sleep currents, which are as low as 9 nA, make them well suited for direct-battery applications and enable less drain on vehicle batteries.

Samsung producing four Gigabit LPDDR3 mobile DRAM, using 20nm-class process technology

SOUTH KOREA: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd has announced the industry’s first production of ultra-high-speed four gigabit (Gb) low power double data rate 3 (LPDDR3) mobile DRAM, which is being produced at a 20 nanometer (nm) class* process node.

The new 4Gb LPDDR3 mobile DRAM enables performance levels comparable to the standard DRAM utilized in personal computers, making it an attractive solution for demanding multimedia-intensive features on next-generation mobile devices such as high-performance smartphones and tablets.

“By providing the most efficient next-generation mobile memory with a very large data capacity, we are now enabling OEMs to introduce even more innovative designs in the marketplace,” said Young-Hyun Jun, executive VP, memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics. “Our 20nm-class four gigabit mobile DRAM provides another example of our ability to deliver well-differentiated, high-performance, high-density memory to customers in a timely manner.”

The 4Gb LPDDR3 can transmit data at up to 2,133 megabits per second (Mbps) per pin, which is more than double the performance of the preceding memory standard mobile DRAM (LPDDR2) with a data transmission speed of 800Mbps. This makes it possible to transmit three full HD videos, collectively 17 Gigabytes (GBs) in length, in one second over the new Samsung chip embedded in a mobile device.

Samsung's 20nm-class LPDDR3 mobile DRAM enables seamless display of full HD video on smartphones with five inch-or-larger screens. In comparison to a 30nm-class LPDDR3 DRAM, the new device generates more than a 30 percent improvement in performance and 20 percent savings in power consumption.

While mobile gadgets continue to scale down in height, battery packs have been increasing in size. By adopting Samsung's 4Gb LPDDR3 mobile DRAM, OEMs can have a 2GB package that includes four of Samsung’s new chips in a single package that meets the memory package height of 0.8 millimeters (mm).

Representing a major growth factor in the DRAM market, Samsung plans to increase production of its advanced 20nm-class mobile DRAM later this year, solidifying its competitiveness as a memory industry leader.

According to market research firm, Gartner, the DRAM market is forecast to grow by 13 percent year-over-year to reach $29.6 billion in 2013, with mobile DRAM to exceed $10 billion in sales, for 35 percent of the total DRAM market.

Infineon and GLOBALFOUNDRIES announce joint development and production collaboration for 40nm embedded flash process

GERMANY & SINGAPORE: Infineon Technologies and Globalfoundries Inc. announced a joint technology development and production agreement for 40 nanometer (nm) embedded flash (eFlash) process technology.

The co-operation will focus on technology development based on Infineon’s eFlash cell design and manufacturing of automotive and security microcontrollers (MCUs) with 40nm process structures. Production of the next generation 40nm eFlash MCUs will take place at different Globalfoundries sites, initially in Singapore with subsequent transfer to its site in Dresden, Germany.

“Next generation embedded Flash microcontrollers with 40nm process structures will further enhance our competitive strength in the automotive, industrial as well as chip card and security markets,” says Arunjai Mittal, member of the Management Board of Infineon Technologies. “We trust in Globalfoundries with their excellent manufacturing background and sites on different continents to fulfill Infineon’s stringent quality, infrastructure security and business continuity requirements.”

“Infineon’s decision to choose Globalfoundries as the foundry partner for the 40nm embedded Flash technology node recognizes our unique ability to offer one-foundry-solutions supported by multiple fabs in different geographies,” says Ajit Manocha, CEO, Globalfoundries. “We are committed to providing leading-edge technology and manufacturing capabilities required to support Infineon’s business. We are looking forward to a long-term collaboration with Infineon and to contribute to their success in a very dynamic industry.”

This agreement with Globalfoundries is consistent with Infineon’s strategy to engage in technology co-development for CMOS-based technologies in 65nm and below. Process and product qualification for security microcontrollers is planned for the second half of 2015. Automotive microcontroller production start is scheduled for the first half of 2017.

Infineon and Globalfoundries have a longstanding relationship in development and manufacturing, including joint development and manufacturing of CMOS-based low-power mobile phone products.

MEMS industry pioneer and technology visionary joins IMT board of directors

USA: IMT, the largest pure-play Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) foundry in the US, announced the appointment of MEMS industry pioneer and technology visionary Dr. Kurt Petersen to the IMT board of directors.

Dr. Petersen is recognized as an expert and a voice of the MEMS industry having created fundamental MEMS technology from inception.  He has co-founded six successful MEMS companies and acted as a consultant to more than 50 MEMS enterprises.

“MEMS are transitioning from primarily highly specialized applications to the mainstream, increasing production from millions of devices to billions of devices, a shift that is as significant as the development of wireless was to phones,” said Dr. Petersen. “The industry needs strong wafer foundries to support this immense growth, and IMT has a solid track record of tackling the most challenging MEMS development projects with technical excellence and innovation, while also delivering devices in volume.”

Dr. Petersen has significantly influenced the flourishing MEMS industry. With more than 30 years of expertise, Petersen co-founded Verreon, acquired by Qualcomm; SiTime, a successful MEMS producer; Cepheid, now public with a market cap over $2.5 billion; and NovaSensor, now owned by General Electric.

Serving in a variety of roles at those companies from CTO to president and CEO, Petersen’s work has influenced the development of millions of MEMS parts that are still in production today.

Spansion to acquire MCU and analog business from Fujitsu

USA & JAPAN: Spansion Inc., a leading innovator of Flash memory solutions, and Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd, announced they have executed a definitive agreement for Spansion to acquire the Microcontroller and Analog Business of Fujitsu Semiconductor for approximately $110 million, plus approximately $65 million*1 for inventory. The net impact is expected to be accretive for Spansion in 2013.

"This acquisition provides incremental revenue and aligns with our strategy to expand into system-on-chip solutions that require leadership in embedded Flash technology," said John Kispert, president and CEO of Spansion.

"We will gain valuable people and intellectual property as well as microcontroller and analog products that will enable us to expand our customer base, addressing complete embedded systems requirements in automotive, industrial and consumer markets. We have been strategic partners with Fujitsu Semiconductor for decades and share many of the same customers. We expect a seamless transition for all of the employees and customers."

"In our pursuit of maximized corporate value, together with Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited, we have executed a management decision based on the restructuring initiatives we are taking in our semiconductor business," said Masami Yamamoto, president of Fujitsu. "We are confident that our customers will benefit from the enormous synergies anticipated. Our employees will also benefit by being a part of Spansion, which has a complementary and differentiated product portfolio based on its world-leading nonvolatile memory technologies."

Embedded nonvolatile memory has become one of the most important differentiators within the microcontroller market and addresses customers' needs for faster and more intelligent devices for a range of embedded applications.

Spansion's Flash technology along with the acquired microcontroller and analog products and talent accelerates a portfolio of high-performance system-on-chip solutions for use in the development of faster, more intelligent and energy-efficient products as well as next generation of the "Internet of everything" in automotive, industrial and consumer applications.

The acquisition is subject to various customary closing conditions and is expected to be complete between July and September of 2013.

Monday, April 29, 2013

MCU market on migration path to 32-bit and ARM-based devices

USA: MCUs are being designed into an ever-expanding range of end-use applications in automotive, consumer, computer, communication, industrial, and medical systems. Consequently, market growth in microcontrollers has been relatively stable since the 1980s when compared to many other IC product categories.

It typically takes a global economic recession to upset the diverse MCU marketplace, and that’s exactly what occurred in 2009, when the microcontroller business suffered its worst-ever annual sales decline of 22 percent to $11.1 billion. Coming out of the 2009 downturn, MCU sales roared back with a record-high 36 percent increase in the 2010, but thereafter, the microcontroller market has lost momentum as the world’s economy wobbled forward.

In 2012, MCUs turned into a convoluted marketplace with unit shipments surging 16 percent, but total revenues declining 3 percent and average selling prices (ASPs) plunging 17 percent. While uncertainty about the global economy played a factor in lowering MCU revenues, the market was significantly undermined by price erosion in 2012 as competition intensified in 32-bit microcontrollers.

The 17 percent drop in ASPs was the worst one-year decline for MCUs since the 1980s.  Meanwhile, MCU shipments climbed to a new record high of 17.3 billion in 2012, but the strong increase was not enough to keep dollar-volume sales from falling 3 percent to $15.2 billion.
IC Insights believes the microcontroller market will return to “normalcy” in the next few years. Microcontroller sales are forecast to rise 2 percent in 2013 and reach $15.5 billion with unit shipments growing 10 percent to nearly 19.1 billion (a new record high). Price erosion in MCUs is expected to ease in 2013 with ASPs dropping 8 percent.

MCU sales and unit shipments are forecast to steadily gain strength each year between 2014 and 2016 before growth rates substantially slow in 2017. Between 2012 and 2017, MCU revenues are projected to increase by a CAGR of 4.8 percent, while unit shipments are expected to rise by a CAGR of 10.1 percent over the five-year period.

Globally, some softness continues to persist in computer markets, consumer goods, and industrial segments, but the bright spots for 2013 MCU growth can be found in communication applications, automotive electronics, smartcards, medical equipment, home automation, power management and smart metering, solid-state lighting built with light emitting diodes (LEDs), and renewable-energy generation, such as solar systems and wind turbines.

Historically, the 8-bit segment has dominated MCU sales, but as shown in Fig. 2, the 32-bit segment became the leading segment of the MCU market in 2010.  The difference between 4-/8- and 32-bit MCU sales was just $235 million in 2010, but the size gap has grown much wider since then. The 32-bit microcontroller segment is forecast to reach nearly $6.9 billion in 2013, 57 percent larger than the size of the 4 /8-bit MCU market.
In terms of unit shipments, 16-bit microcontrollers became the largest volume MCU category in 2011, overtaking 8-bit devices for the first time that year. Shipments of 16-bit MCUs grew 11 percent in 2012 after a 23 percent increase in 2011, partly on the strength of automotive applications.

In 2013, 16-bit MCU shipments are expected to rise 9 percent to 7.9 billion units. Shipments of 4-/8-bit MCUs are expected to grow 6 percent to 6.7 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, 32-bit MCU shipments are forecast to climb by 20 percent in 2013 to 4.5 billion units.

IC Insights believes the makeup of the MCU market will undergo substantial changes in the next five years with 32-bit devices steadily grabbing a greater share of sales and unit volumes. By 2017, 32-bit MCUs are expected to account for 55 percent of microcontroller sales, while 16-bit devices will represent 22 percent of market revenues and 4-/8-bit will be about 23 percent, based on IC Insights’ forecast.

In terms of unit volumes, 32-bit MCUs are expected account for 38 percent of microcontroller shipments in 2017, while 16-bit devices will represent 34 percent of the total, and 4-/8-bit designs are forecast to be 28 percent of units sold that year.

The 32-bit MCU market is expected to grow rapidly due to increasing demand for higher levels of precision in embedded-processing systems and the growth in connectivity using the Internet.  In the important automotive market, the need for 32-bit processing in MCUs is being driven by the advent of “intelligent” car systems and increases in sophisticated, real-time sensor functions for government-mandated electronic stability control (ESC) and crash-avoidance systems.

Semi-autonomous driving features in cars—such as self-parking, advanced cruise controls, and collision-avoidance systems—are increasing the role of controllers and sensors in new vehicles. A growing number of automakers are hoping to expand on driver-assist features appearing in cars today to develop “smart” fully autonomous (driverless) vehicles over the next 10 years.  In the next few years, complex 32-bit MCUs are expected to account for over 25 percent of the processing power in vehicles.

A growing number of MCU suppliers are offering new product families based on 32-bit RISC-processor cores licensed from ARM Ltd., which began pursuing the microcontroller segment about eight years ago.  UK-based ARM has quickly established a major position in the MCU market by offering intellectual property (IP) and design technologies that are similar to RISC-core technologies used in most application processors for cellphones and tablet computers.

ARM’s rapid penetration into the MCU arena has caused a number of microcontroller market leaders to respond.  In Japan, Renesas Electronics has been attempting to unify its three 32-bit microcontroller families into a single processor architecture to compete with the onslaught of ARM-core designs, but in 4Q12, Renesas revealed that it would join others offering MCUs with ARM cores.

Renesas joins Freescale, TI, NXP, ST, and many other companies who, after competing with ARM-based microcontrollers for several years, changed course and introduced their own families of ARM-based controllers.

Focus of SEMI Europe networking day: Embedded packaging technologies enabling product differentiation

FRANCE: SEMI Europe announced a new Networking Day focusing on Embedded Packaging on June 27, 2013 in Portugal. Hosted by NANIUM, the largest pure play packaging foundry of Europe, in Vila do Conde (Porto, Portugal), the event will feature speakers from companies involved in Fan Out Wafer Level Packaging (FO-WLP) and in Embedded Die in laminate substrate.

Driven by consumer markets and mainly by smartphone products, embedded packaging solutions provide the best power, performance, and area system tradeoff by integrating more functionalities into a smaller and thinner package. With annual growth  forecast at more than 25 percent by market analyst firms such as Yole Développement, these technologies are already implemented in high-volume cellular phones and are critical for enabling future innovative solutions, including 3D packaging solutions.

The Networking Day will combine presentations from companies that influence the industry and offer unique add-ons such the visit of NANIUM’s clean room, the largest FO-WLP 300mm facility worldwide, and several networking opportunities including the Speed Networking Session and social evening events.

Speakers from ASE Group (Taiwan) and STMicroelectronics (Switzerland) will keynote and share the latest results of their work in embedded packaging and their respective strategy. ASE Group was a very early adopter of the 1st generation of FO-WLP (licensed eWLB technology developed by Infineon), starting with 200mm capabilities and now very active in embedded die in substrate.
STMicroelectronics, one of the founding members with Infineon and STATS Chip Pac, of an R&D alliance in Singapore to advance eWLB platform back in late 2009, developed a wide range of technology options around FO-WLP to serve its various product groups addressing multiple market segments.

Presentations from TechSearch (USA) and Yole Développment (France), two of the most respected global forecast and technology analyst packaging companies, will describe the technology landscape, market and main players. Additional speakers from Intel Mobile Communications, AT&S, and NXP are confirmed.

“We are pleased that we developed such a strong lineup of speakers from the main players designing, manufacturing and selling embedded packages all over the world. We are still at an early stage, many additional business opportunities in embedded packaging are still upfront for equipment and materials companies. Embedded packages have the potential to become the new packaging platform beyond the BGA solution,” said Heinz Kundert, SEMI Europe president.

“The contribution of NANIUM and its partners to FO-WLP high-volume manufacturing is a cornerstone of the embedded packaging industry. Hosting this event in our facility is proof of our commitment to extend the technology further into the market,” said Armando Tavares, president and CEO of NANIUM.

Synopsys announces Virtualizer development kit (VDK) for Freescale's Qorivva MCU family

USA: Synopsys Inc. announced the availability of Synopsys' Virtualizer Development Kit (VDK) for Freescale Semiconductor's Qorivva microcontroller (MCU) family to accelerate the development of automotive control applications in powertrain/hybrid, chassis/safety and body electronic control units (ECUs).

The VDK for Freescale's Qorivva MCU family is a software development kit that includes: virtual prototypes of the Qorivva MCU family; software development tools; built-in support for integration with Mathworks' Simulink, Synopsys' Saber and Vector's CANoe simulation tools; and sample code and scripts supporting a broad range of automotive software development use cases.

By using the new VDK for Qorivva MCUs, automotive engineers can start software development, integration and test tasks prior to ECU availability, shaving months off development schedules and increasing the system reliability. Increased fault and coverage testing in support of the ISO 26262 safety standard is also achieved through earlier testing with VDKs. The VDK for Freescale's Qorivva MCU family seamlessly integrates with third- party debuggers and automotive development tools, allowing software developers to use their familiar development environment.

VDKs enable automotive developers to start software development before the physical ECU is available, accelerating the system integration and fault and coverage testing necessary to address the challenges created by the increasing software content, system complexity and safety certification requirements in automotive ECUs.
Synopsys' VDK for Freescale's Qorivva MCU family gives designers full system visibility and control to accelerate the debug, analysis and testing of software running on Qorivva MCUs, resulting in higher product quality and containment of rising development costs.

"Our automotive customers are more focused than ever on quality, development schedules and costs. Virtual prototypes enable them to start their development earlier as well as improve quality through more and better testing," said Ray Cornyn, VP of automotive microcontroller products at Freescale. "By working closely with Synopsys, we are making it easier for our Qorivva MCU users to realize the benefits of VDKs for accelerating their systems development."

The Synopsys VDK for Freescale's Qorivva MCU family includes a reference virtual prototype for the Qorivva MCU family. This reference virtual prototype represents a complete microcontroller that includes multiple CPU cores, timers, memories, communication blocks such as LIN or CAN, and analog and error control modules to enable immediate deployment.

The collaboration between Synopsys and Freescale gives automotive designers a "one-stop shop" for virtual prototypes that represent their actual systems. In addition, designers can easily customize Synopsys' VDKs for device-specific requirements and to create additional VDKs for other MCUs in the Qorivva MCU family with the Virtualizer tool set.

"Synopsys' automotive VDKs empower OEMs and tier-one suppliers to enhance their embedded software development processes by starting earlier, improving productivity and enabling more and better testing in support of safety standards such as ISO 26262," said John Koeter, VP of marketing for IP and systems at Synopsys.

"The Synopsys VDK for Freescale's Qorivva MCU family was designed to address the unique needs of automotive software engineers, easily integrating with their existing development environments and providing all the necessary models and tools to accelerate the development and debug of embedded software targeted for automotive ECUs."

The VDK for Freescale Qorivva MCUs is available immediately from Synopsys.

Global semiconductor industry likely to witness CAGR of 4.3 percent over next five years and reach $394 billion In 2017

IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Semiconductor Industry 2012-2017: Trend, Profit, and Forecast Analysis" report to its offering.

Global macroeconomic developments and technological advances, personal computers, and memory markets are expected to drive demand over the forecast period.

The global semiconductor industry is a fragmented market. The Asia Pacific (APAC) region dominates this market and represents approximately three-fourths of the global market. Some of the major players include Intel, Samsung Electronics, Taiwan Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. The combination of factors such as continuing transfer of worldwide electronic equipment production to China and the above-average semiconductor content of that equipment influences market dynamics tremendously.

As indicated in the study, there is increasing demand for semiconductors from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) economies due to increasing end-use electronic product demand. The demand for laptops, notebooks, and tablet computers has overtaken the demand for desktop computers due to their advantages such as low cost, portability, and variety.

Some of the industry challenges include the economic cycle, which may have the strongest negative influence on semiconductor industry growth. The Rest of the World is the emerging market for the industry due to the increase in the growth of automotive and consumer electronics and huge opportunities in developing countries.

Morgan Advanced Materials joins SEMATECH to develop new process solutions to advance semiconductor manufacturing

USA: Morgan Advanced Materials has joined SEMATECH’s International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI), a program designed to improve semiconductor equipment manufacturing productivity, yield, and cost.

Morgan Advanced Materials will help develop process variation solutions to improve availability and process control across 200 mm and 300 mm semiconductor manufacturing facilities, while allowing for forward-compatibility with 450 mm.

As a member of SEMATECH’s Manufacturing Technology Program, Morgan will collaborate with ISMI engineers to develop and introduce new material solutions that will help to significantly extend the life of chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) pads, CMP conditioners, as well as electrostatic chucks.

The partnership will further the development of processing solutions for effective CMP processing, including pad conditioning, to eliminate legacy high-volume manufacturing issues, shorten pad break-in time, and extend pad life of soft-pad textures.

“We are excited to collaborate with ISMI on innovative technology development to help address current and future technology challenges for both CMP and electrostatic chuck design,” said Daniel Manoukian, GM of Morgan’s Allentown, PA site. “These projects will enable high-volume manufacturing of 10 nm devices and improve manufacturing for current technologies. As the complexity of the technology increases, innovations in pad conditioner materials to control pad textures are essential for successful manufacturing.”

Morgan Advanced Materials’ Phoenix edge CMP conditioner uses a unique design consisting of an engineered substrate with CVD diamond coating, which produces a uniform fine-textured pad surface that is essential for advance nodes. This unique conditioner design increases pad life by five times compared to standard gritted conditioners. Morgan expects the partnership with ISMI will help solve critical technology challenges, ultimately resulting in manufacturing advancements for the semiconductor industry.

MCU market likely to reach $28.49 billion globally in 2018

USA: According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Microcontrollers (MCU) Market by Product (8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth and Forecast, 2012 - 2018", the demand for microcontrollers was 10.64 billion units in 2011, and is expected to reach over 29 billion units in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 16 percent from 2012 to 2018.

In terms of revenue, the market was valued at $15.7 billion in 2011, and is expected to reach $28.49 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 9 percent from 2012 to 2018.

High growth of the automotive industry is expected to positively impact microcontroller demand, as a result of the large number of MCUs used in vehicles. Microcontrollers are used in automotives for purposes ranging from safety to infotainment, which include airbag control and on-board communication among others.

In addition, increasing penetration of healthcare equipment such as blood pressure monitors, and portable glucometers which employ microcontrollers is also expected to aid in market growth. However, the sheer number of participants in the industry vying for market share is expected to hinder the market over the forecast period.

The automotive industry dominated the global market, accounting for over 32 percent of the overall MCU demand in 2011. MCU demand for industrial applications is expected to reach 8.6 billion units by 2018.
The demand for 32-bit MCUs is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.2 percent from 2012 to 2018. 8-bit MCUs dominated market demand, with over 40% penetration in the global market in 2011.

Asia Pacific was the market leader, and accounted for over 35 percent of global revenue share in 2011. It is expected to be the largest and fastest growing market, and its revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.2 percent from 2012 to 2018.

Atmel intros industry's first ultra-low power single-chip touch controller for touchscreens up to 15.6"

USA: Atmel Corp. announced the maXTouch T Series, its next-generation family supporting touchscreens up to 23 inches for applications such as handsets, tablets, Ultrabooks, notebooks and all-in-one computers.

The first device in the family, the mXT2952T, is the world's first ultra-low power single-chip device that supports Windows 8-certified touchscreens up to 15.6 inches and optimized to support touchscreen cover glass as thin as 0.4mm.

The new T Series delivers a revolutionary adaptive-sensing architecture featuring both mutual and self capacitance to optimize performance. The maXTouch T Series automatically selects the best sensing architecture, seamlessly switching to enable higher performance and lower power consumption.

Mutual capacitance enables true multitouch tracking while self capacitance offers benefits including idle power consumption, moisture immunity, glove tracking, and hover capability which detects a finger or an object not in contact with the screen.

The new maXTouch T Series enhances noise immunity with an industry-first capacitive touch dual analog and digital filtering architecture to deliver the best signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio and power consumption. The new features in the maXTouch T Series deliver improved responsiveness and a more intuitive user interface with additions such as hover that allow users to pre-select icons, letters, links and other images without physically touching the screen.

With the increasing popularity of active stylus on touchscreens, the maXTouch T Series natively supports Atmel's maXStylus, a solution that requires no additional sensor layer to enable thinner stack-ups and lower overall bill of materials (BOM). The award-winning maXStylus offers a Window 8-compatible solution with better touch performance, lower power consumption and lower overall system cost than other capacitive active stylus solutions on the market today.

A*STAR and Veredus create first lab-on-chip for detection of multiple tropical infectious diseases

SINGAPORE: The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Veredus Laboratories, a leading supplier of innovative molecular diagnostic tools, announced the launch of VereTrop, the first biochip in the molecular diagnostics market that can identify 13 different major tropical diseases from a single blood sample.

With its high level of automation, this lab-on-chip diagnostic kit is poised to transform the quality and efficiency of testing tropical infectious diseases, including dengue fever, malaria, chikungunya, and hand, foot and mouth disease, in the field.

The lead virologist in this project, associate prof. Lisa F.P. Ng from A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) said: “Tropical diseases often reflect common symptoms like fever, and may not be accurately diagnosed early by doctors. This portable test kit is a rapid and reliable method to accurately test for multiple pathogenic targets from just one blood sample in a matter of hours.”

Together with Prof. Laurent Renia, an expert in Malaria Immunobiology at SIgN, the team from SIgN has successfully validated the kit on patient samples in the external fields of Northern Thailand, at the Thai-Myanmar border.

Prof. François H Nosten, the clinical collaborator at the Oxford Clinical Unit in Mae Sot and director of the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit said: “This technology opens new possibilities for the accurate and rapid diagnostic of important infectious diseases that remain the main causes of illness in the tropics. Its versatility and ease of use will change the approach to diagnostics at the periphery of health care system.”

Cadence reports Q1-13 financial results; completes Tensilica acquisition

USA: Cadence reported first quarter 2013 revenue of $354 million, compared to revenue of $316 million reported for the same period in 2012.

On a GAAP basis, Cadence recognized net income of $79 million, or $0.27 per share on a diluted basis, in the first quarter of 2013, compared to net income of $31 million, or $0.11 per share on a diluted basis, in the same period in 2012. GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2013 included a $34 million income tax benefit due to a reversal of an uncertain tax position.

Using Cadence’s non-GAAP measure, net income in the first quarter of 2013 was $61 million, or $0.21 per share on a diluted basis, as compared to net income of $47 million, or $0.17 per share on a diluted basis, in the same period in 2012.

“In Q1 we accelerated our IP strategy through key acquisitions that will expand the scope of our IP business and demonstrate our capabilities and readiness for FinFET-based high performance design, and we also saw significant strength in repeat orders for Palladium XP,” said Lip-Bu Tan, president and chief executive officer. “Looking ahead, I expect to see our focus and discipline in scaling our IP business start to show meaningful growth.”

“Strong execution by the Cadence team continued in Q1 as results for all key operating metrics exceeded expectations,” added Geoff Ribar, senior vice president and chief financial officer. “The Tensilica acquisition not only significantly expands the scope of our IP business, but also brings a growing royalty component to our revenue mix.”

IP acquisitions
Cadence also completed its previously announced acquisition of Tensilica Inc., a leader in dataplane processing IP. The cash outlay at closing, after taking into account adjustments for certain costs and an estimated $25 million of cash held by Tensilica at closing, was approximately $326 million. In addition, Cadence assumed certain unvested Tensilica options.

Tensilica's configurable dataplane processing units complement industry-standard processor architectures and are optimized for embedded data and signal processing. Tensilica's target markets include mobile wireless, network infrastructure, auto infotainment and home applications. The Tensilica team, led by Jack Guedj, will report to Martin Lund, Cadence's senior vice president of research and development, SOC Realization Group.

During the first quarter 2013, Cadence also announced its intent to acquire Cosmic Circuits Private Limited, a developer of low-power connectivity and analog/mixed-signal IP. This transaction is expected to close soon. These acquisitions accelerate Cadence's strategy of growing its IP business by providing high quality differentiated IP for leading protocols at advanced process nodes.

Cadence is pursuing this strategy through both targeted acquisitions and increased investment in internal IP development. In addition to expanding Cadence's IP portfolio focused on growing markets, these acquisitions, as they are integrated into Cadence, will enable optimization with Cadence's design tools and accelerate IP subsystem development and integration.

It is estimated that 2013 revenue on a standalone basis for Tensilica would be about $57 million prior to merger accounting, of which $13 million would be royalties, representing growth of about 30 percent over Tensilica's revenue in 2012. Cadence is assuming that Tensilica will contribute approximately $27 million of revenue in the remainder of 2013, after a deferred revenue adjustment of approximately $16 million due to merger accounting. The transaction is expected to be approximately eight cents dilutive to GAAP EPS and one cent dilutive to non-GAAP EPS for 2013.

Business outlook
For the second quarter of 2013, the company expects total revenue in the range of $355 million to $365 million. Second quarter GAAP net income per diluted share is expected to be in the range of $0.10 to $0.12. Net income per diluted share using the non-GAAP measure defined below is expected to be in the range of $0.19 to $0.21.

For 2013, the company expects total revenue in the range of $1.440 billion to $1.470 billion. On a GAAP basis, net income per diluted share for 2013 is expected to be in the range of $0.59 to $0.69. Using the non-GAAP measure defined below, net income per diluted share for 2013 is expected to be in the range of $0.81 to $0.91.

Mentor Graphics accelerates SoC and embedded system delivery

USA: Mentor Graphics Corp. announced release of the Mentor Embedded Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition product, a native software environment for developing embedded systems pre- and post-silicon.

Now, ever-expanding teams of software developers can remain in their core development environment and develop, debug, and optimize their complete software stack on virtual prototypes and emulation platforms, before and after first silicon.

“Software development and hardware development are deeply intertwined, yet intensely unique disciplines. Asking a software designer to use a hardware design tool is like asking a plumber to install your sink with an electrician’s wire cutters,” said Glenn Perry, GM of Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. “It’s critical to respect the uniqueness of each discipline and we believe our Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition delivers a true native software environment that deeply leverages our hardware design tool technology.”

The Sourcery CodeBench technology is the leading development toolchain and integrated development environment (IDE) for embedded Linux development, which is now the de facto standard reference operating system (OS) on all SoCs. The Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition product embeds the most advanced pre-silicon technology available from the hardware design tool flow, deeply into the native software environment. This yields a significant time-to-market advantage for software development teams by eliminating the valuable time and effort spent learning unfamiliar traditional hardware design tools.

The Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition tool goes beyond enabling software development ahead of silicon to offer unprecedented visibility into hardware/software interactions, otherwise unavailable through the limited debug interfaces in actual hardware.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Global next generation memory market

IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Next Generation Memory Market (2012 -2017), By Technology (DRAM, SRAM, Flash Memory, Memristor, Magneto Resistive RAM (MRAM), Phase Change RAM (PCRAM), Ferroelectric RAM), Application & Geography" report to its offering.

Next generation memories are the emerging non-volatile memory technologies, which are expected to replace existing memories. Not all existing memories will be replaced though. Next generation memories majorly targets the non-volatile memories such as NAND and NOR.

High write and read latency, scalability, high endurance etc. makes emerging memories the best replacement for traditional non-volatile memories. Next generation memory technologies covered in this report are MRAM, PCRAM, FeRAM and memristor also called as ReRAM. Out of these memories, only MRAM and FeRAM have reasonable market share and they are quite commercialized in the market. PCRAM has very marginal market and memristor is set to enter the market by the end of 2013.

The major drivers for the next generation memory market are faster switching time, high endurance and power efficient. In addition, the huge application base of traditional memories will also become the driver for this market. Since these memories are not completely established, there are still flaws in processes which cause drawbacks like instability and low write endurance rate in some of the memories.

As mentioned, these memories are the replacement for flash memories in near future. The flash market has already tapped the huge market, hence it makes the way for next generation memories.
The major issue for next generation memories is its design cost. Not all the processes are intact yet, which increases the cost of the process and design.

However, early adoption of these memories will be the game changing strategy for memory market. Most of the next generation memories are also called 'universal memory', which performs both the volatile and non-volatile function. So, the early adoption of such memories will be crucial for the companies.

SMIC appoints Dr. Haijun Zhao as COO

CHINA: Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC),China's largest and most advanced semiconductor foundry, announced that VP of North Operations Dr. Haijun Zhao, has been appointed chief operating officer of the company.

Effective from 25 April 2013, Dr. Zhao will oversee the company's overall manufacturing operations.

SMIC CEO, Dr. Tzu-Yin Chiu, commented: "Dr. Zhao has extensive expertise in manufacturing operations and is well known in the semiconductor industry. His promotion to COO will help us further improve the operational management and the performance of the company."

Dr. Zhao joined SMIC in 2010, and was named VP of North Operations in September 2011. In June 2012, he was promoted to senior VP. He has 21 years of experience in semiconductor operations and technology development.

Top MEMS foundries: TSMC passes specialty MEMS players

FRANCE: In 2012, TSMC’s MEMS foundry business enjoyed ~80 percent growth, achieved ~$42 million in sales and moved up to third place in Yole Développement’s annual MEMS foundry sector rankings. The Taiwanese foundry’s MEMS business is now the largest of any open foundry, putting it shoulder-to-shoulder with pure-play specialty MEMS foundries like TELEDYNEDALSA (~$39 million), according to Yole figures.
TSMC’s strong growth is mainly the result of a production ramp-up to support InvenSense’s ~$40 million in additional inertial sensor sales. Also, TSMC manufactures consumer MEMS devices for Analog Devices, and inkjet heads for Memjet. Please note that Yole Développement’s figures only count the MEMS manufacturing value, not the value of the ASIC, even if bonded to the MEMS device.

Thanks to its contract production for Hewlett Packard, STMicroelectronics continues to dominate the MEMS foundry business. Though ST’s foundry income declined about 20 percent last year when demand for HP’s inkjet heads dropped off, its $200 million in revenue still accounted for almost one-third of the ~$600 million MEMS foundry business.

Meanwhile, Sony’s foundry revenues benefited from strong MEMS microphone demand for mobile phones and tablets. Thanks to this, along with Sony’s contract production for Knowles Electronics, the company achieved ~30 percent growth.

Beneath these two large-contract/single-customer producers exists a tight cluster of leading open foundries with sales between $30- $40 million, including TSMC, Teledyne DALSA, Silex Microsystems, and the combined sales of Asia Pacific Microsystems and its parent, UMC.

Foundries in the $10-$20 million range continue to fight for a piece of the high-value, low-volume specialty MEMS manufacturing market. Overall, however, the foundry business is not seeing the same fast growth as the MEMS industry, since IDMs have captured most of the increase in the high-volume consumer mobile business.

One newcomer to our rankings is GLOBALFOUNDRIES, a MEMS company that experienced ~50 million growth thanks to production ramp-up for its customers, including InvenSense.

More than ever, Yole Développement’s MEMS law rings true: each company has the process knowledge to create its own devices, thus rendering moot the idea of industry standardization and the emergence of large foundries.

Fujitsu expands FM3 family of 32-bit MCUs

USA: Fujitsu Semiconductor America (FSA) introduced new 32-bit RISC microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex-M3 processor.

The 38 new MCUs include the MB9BF529TPMC, which is equipped with high-capacity memory, and the MB9BF121JPMC, which features low-pin-count packaging.

The new devices, which are optimal for system control in household appliances, office automation systems and industrial equipment, bring the growing family of Fujitsu FM3 MCUs to a total of 570 products. Sample quantities of the latest devices will be available starting May 10, 2013.

The MCUs announced are part of the Basic Group of the FM3 Family, which balances performance and cost. Highlights among the 38 new devices are the high-capacity MB9B520T/420T/320T/120T Series (which features up to 1.5MB of flash memory), the low-pin MB9B120J Series (which is available in 32-pin packaging), and the low-power MB9A420L/120L Series (which supports CAN communications).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dongbu HiTek starts volume production of ambient light proximity sensor (ALPS) chips for Clairpixel

SOUTH KOREA: Dongbu HiTek has begun volume production of Ambient Light Proximity Sensor (ALPS) chips for Clairpixel Co. Ltd,  a Korean company specializing in single-chip image and motion sensor solutions for mobile, automotive, medical and security applications.

Leveraging Dongbu HiTek’s specialized mixed-signal process, Clairpixel’s advanced ALPS chip is expected to target the growing Chinese smart phone market.

“Clairpixel’s ALPS chip highlights the system-on-chip attributes of our specialized 0.18um mixed-signal process,” said Jae Song, Dongbu HiTek EVP of marketing. “We look forward to expanding our collaboration before year end to add a color sensor function to this highly integrated chip design.”

He credited the rapidly rising adoption rate of ALPS chips to their ability to extend battery life by optimizing screen brightness against ambient light. “With the addition of a color sensor, ALPS will also be able to automatically optimize color on large mobile screens while conserving battery power.”

According to recent market research from Gartner, Inc., worldwide smart phone shipments are expected to more than double from about 718 million units last year to more than1.6 billion units in 2016. Over this same period, Chinese smart phone shipments are forecast to rise from 25 percent to 33 percent of the total.

Smart phone manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE are expected to lead the expanding share of Chinese shipments. During the fourth quarter of 2012, some estimates report that Huawei shipped nearly 5 percent worldwide total, giving them the third largest market share.

GreenPeak announces the year of ZigBee

USA:  GreenPeak Technologies, a leading low power RF-communication semiconductor company, announced the year of ZigBee.

Worldwide, GreenPeak and other ZigBee semiconductor suppliers are now shipping millions of ZigBee chips every week, making ZigBee the only credible open worldwide standard for the smart home supported by cable and satellite operators and other companies playing in the smart home space.

“ZigBee has been recognized as the connected and smart home technology of choice, due to its worldwide standardization and acceptance via the cable TV and service provider industries,” says Greg Potter of Multimedia Research Group.

“Once the cable companies have taken the first step of providing ZigBee networks in the majority of new set-top boxes, it helps create a thriving industry of ZigBee add-on devices for the home - making it easy for installers, system integrators, and home do-it-yourselfers to install a wide range of ZigBee devices onto the cable companies’ ZigBee backbone within the home. Revenues from services derived from ZigBee backbones within the home are set to skyrocket from $80 million in 2012 to over $1.7 billion in 2017.

According to IMS Research – now part of IHS (NYSE: IHS) – one of the key trends driving the use of ZigBee in the ‘smart home’ is the adoption of the technology by managed service providers in the U.S. and Europe, offering home monitoring and energy management systems via cloud-based home management platforms. The growing traction of ZigBee RF4CE in home entertainment devices is set to continue.

IHS projects that shipments of ZigBee RF4CE ICs will grow with a CAGR of 29.1 percent in the period 2012 to 2018 as ZigBee RF4CE is increasingly incorporated in a range of devices such as set-top boxes, television sets and the accompanying remote controls as an IR replacement technology, enabling more sophisticated interaction with home entertainment devices.

According to Greg Potter of MRG: “The ZigBee revolution is driven by cable companies and service providers who wish to expand their market by a wide variety of home services, in addition to delivering content. Often called the Fifth Play, cable companies are now adding home services to the previous four plays: TV and movies, broadband Internet, VoIP and wireless phone services.”

“There are approximately 600 million homes connected to the internet – each of these is a potential customer for a ZigBee home network, with over a hundred possible devices in each home talking to the network: from thermostats, lights and switches, security sensors, door locks, appliances, remote controls, etc.” says Cees Links, founder and CEO of GreenPeak.

“GreenPeak’s Open Smart Home Framework provides a context in which all these devices seamlessly connect to each other and to the internet via the low power ZigBee standard, complementary to WiFi for data sharing and content distribution.”

Synopsys unveils embedded vision development system

USA: Synopsys Inc. announced the immediate availability of the Embedded Vision Development System, an integrated solution for the acceleration of the design of processors for embedded vision based on Synopsys' Processor Designer tool set and Synopsys' HAPS FPGA-based prototyping system.

Application-specific instruction-set processors (ASIPs) are essential for meeting the power efficiency requirements of system-on-chips (SoCs) supporting high-performance embedded vision applications, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), augmented reality (AR), robotics, surveillance and gesture control.

The new Synopsys Embedded Vision Development System enables designers to rapidly explore and tune processor architectures for the optimal combination of power and speed, and quickly implement the design on a HAPS FPGA-based prototype.

"Embedded vision enables designers to add visual intelligence to systems, making them safer, smarter and more responsive," said Jeff Bier, founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance. "But embedded vision is processing-intensive and most applications demand extreme cost- and energy-efficiency while also requiring programmability to accommodate new algorithms and new functions over time. Custom processors like those enabled by the Synopsys Embedded Vision Development System often yield the best mix of performance, efficiency and flexibility. I applaud Synopsys for recognizing and supporting the growing importance of embedded vision."

The Embedded Vision Development System includes pre-verified design examples to help designers quickly implement an ASIP optimized to meet their specific SoC objectives for power consumption and performance. It provides a ready-to-use, modifiable base processor including a full C/C++ compiler, which supports all functions provided by the OpenCV library.

The execution of the compiled code with the automatically-generated instruction-set simulator (ISS) is easy to profile, clearly identifying performance-intensive parts of the application, which can be accelerated by changes in the processor architecture, including memory access, register configuration and instruction set.

Unlike configurable processors that rely on a fixed pipeline and register structure, this methodology removes limitations from achieving the most power- and performance-optimized custom architecture for their application. Using the automatically generated software tools, designers easily recompile and simulate the C/C++ program until they achieve their design goals.

Processor Designer generates optimized RTL of the ASIP, which can easily be downloaded into a HAPS FPGA-based prototyping system. Designers save implementation effort with an easy-to-use flow from RTL generation to instantiation in the HAPS system, using the same RTL from design through validation. HAPS prototypes allow the design team adopting the application-specific processor to integrate other digital IP into the SoC design and connect the prototype with real-world I/O such as cameras and memory to validate the hardware-software integration.

Running more than 100x faster than a cycle-accurate ISS-based model, the combination of Processor Designer and HAPS in the new integrated design and prototyping system provides a highly-efficient way to refine and validate ASIP architectures from project to project.

"Many types of electronic devices require designers to develop custom processors to meet unique performance goals most efficiently, such as the processing of large amounts of visual data in embedded vision systems," said John Koeter, VP of marketing for IP and systems at Synopsys.

"The Synopsys Embedded Vision Development System, based on Processor Designer and a linkage to HAPS FPGA-based prototyping, saves months of engineering effort by combining software and hardware tools that enable designers to analytically arrive at the best processor implementation for their specific application, then quickly prototype the entire SoC to complete the hardware/software integration."

Worldwide semiconductor foundry market grew 16.2 percent in 2012

USA: The worldwide semiconductor foundry market totaled $34.6 billion in 2012, a 16.2 percent increase from 2011, according to final results by Gartner Inc.

"2012 was the first year that the semiconductor revenue for mobile devices surpassed that of PCs and notebooks,” said Samuel Wang, research vice president at Gartner. "It also marked the first year that advanced technology for mobile applications drove the foundry revenue. Furthermore, 2012 saw not only major foundries improve the yield of 28 nanometer (nm) technology, but also many foundries fine-tuned the device performance of legacy nodes."

TSMC maintained the No. 1 spot due to its success of advanced technology nodes. Strong performance on 32 nm yields and the availability of sub-45-nm wafer capacity at the Dresden, Germany, fabs allowed Globalfoundries to advance to the No. 2 position, while UMC's market share decreased due to reduced wafer shipments. Driven by the wafers consumed by Apple's A6 and A6X chips, Samsung moved up four spots to the No. 5 position with 175.5 percent growth in 2012.
The increase in the foundry business was attributed to the restocking of inventory by customers, along with the increased demand of smartphones, in which wafers for advanced technology are required. In the second half of 2012, foundries performed better than the seasonal norm due to the need of 40 nm wafers as a result of the unexpected fast rise of low-cost smartphones in China and other emerging countries. Those foundries with sufficient wafer capacity and a good yield of 40 nm and 28 nm technologies have achieved solid revenue growth.

Besides the increased shipment of advanced nodes, there were market share shifts in the more mature nodes, with some foundries reporting near-record-high shipments of wafers of 65 nm to 0.18 micron serving power management integrated circuits (PMICs), high voltage, embedded flash, complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). The market share gain was due to the continuous improvement of device performance and cost savings as a result of process tuning of the legacy process nodes.

In 2012, most foundries reported an increase of revenue from fabless customers, while the percentage of revenue contribution by integrated device manufacturer (IDM) customers was flat or even declined, indicating that the chips for mobile devices have been supplied primarily by the fabless companies.

NXP enables best-in-class UHF performance in RFID supply chain apps

SINGAPORE: NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced the launch of the UCODE 7 UHF IC, which sets a new industry standard for performance, versatility and speed in RFID supply chain applications.

Working with key players in the industry including Avery, Motorola Solutions and Zebra, NXP has produced a best-in-class solution that delivers consistently high performance in all global markets, reinforcing the company’s leadership in UHF chips.

UCODE 7 establishes its best-in-class credentials in three key areas:

Global versatility – UCODE 7 enables the creation of RFID labels and tags that can be used across different regions operating at different frequency ranges. This means that manufacturers and retailers can maintain consistently high performance using the same label or tag across the entire global supply chain, significantly reducing operating costs.

Higher sensitivity – UCODE 7’s higher sensitivity enables both smaller tag designs with equal performance to current tag geometries – which means that retailers and suppliers can tag much smaller items – and for current tag geometries to be read from a much greater distance. It also means that inventory management and stock-taking becomes easier and quicker, even in harsh RFID- environments.

Fastest encoding – UCODE 7 delivers the fastest encoding capability on the market, with 100 items programmed in a matter of milliseconds. This unprecedented level of performance can significantly increase throughput when encoding apparel, shoes, pharmaceuticals and other items in manufacturing and distribution centers or in-store; enabling high-speed brand protection and tracking processes.

“Our new inlay products with the UCODE 7 combine flexibility of size and performance to provide retailers more options for their media developments,” said Rick Bauer, VP, global inventory accuracy and loss prevention from Avery Dennison.

“Our early testing with retailers has been very positive with the NXP UCODE 7. This new chip improves global RFID inlay performance across two major frequency bands with minimal loss of performance. We have found this chip to be very versatile in its performance and application to existing designs and our ability to facilitate new designs. Finally, the higher read/write performance is opening up new smaller design opportunities for a wider array of application categories and use cases. We are very pleased with our new inlay portfolio using the UCODE 7 and our partnership with NXP.”

“In our testing, UCODE 7 demonstrated a significant improvement in all-around performance, including read and write sensitivity as well as very high write speeds," said Mike Poldino, VP, product management, data capture solutions, Motorola Solutions. "The high performance of UCODE 7 is well-suited to today's demanding applications where smaller tag form factors are expected to replace larger tags, but where performance must not be compromised."

"Zebra is proud to fully support NXP's new UCODE 7-based tags in our seamless chip-based serialization capable RFID printer/encoder platform," said Michael Fein, senior product manager RFID, Zebra Technologies. "In addition to fully integrating MCS (Multi-vendor Chip-based Serialization) support for the new chip, Zebra printer/encoders also support NXP's Parallel Encode feature. NXP's new state-of-the-art UCODE 7 silicon, together with Zebra's industry-leading RFID printing/encoding solutions, is taking UHF tag encoding to a whole new level of efficiency, accuracy and throughput."

“Modern supply chains stretch across continents, so it is important that RFID tags can deliver reliable performance in every region and across the different global frequency bands,” said Rutger Vrijen, VP and GM, business line RFID Tagging, NXP Semiconductors. “UCODE 7 makes this possible by being the absolute best-in-class UHF tag IC on the market, with the industry’s highest sensitivity, allowing for high performance across a very broad frequency range. In addition, UCODE 7 has the fastest encoding speed, leading to significant productivity and cost-of-ownership gains for our customers.”

Sample ICs and labels with UCODE 7 are available today, with high volume shipments starting end of May 2013.

Columbia engineers generate world-record mmWave output power from nanoscale CMOS

USA: Harish Krishnaswamy, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has generated a record amount of power output—by a power of five—using silicon-based nanoscale CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) technology for millimeter-wave power amplifiers.

Power amplifiers are used in communications and sensor systems to boost power levels for reliable transmission of signals over long distances as required by the given application. Krishnaswamy’s research will be reported at the June 2013 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium.

Used in virtually all forms of electronics around us, from phones to PCs, laptops, and tablets to satellite communications, nanoscale CMOS technologies have enabled the digital and communication revolution over the past 20 to 30 years. While nanoscale CMOS can do many things, Krishnaswamy explains the one thing that it cannot do very well is generate large amounts of power at high frequencies.
This is because as transistors become smaller, they tend to break very easily with even a small amount of voltage or current—“they’re great for speed, but not power,” he notes. But generating large amounts of power at high frequencies is critical for communication over large distances with high bandwidth.

“We have devised a way to use multiple nanoscale CMOS transistors in carefully-aligned synchrony to ‘share the load’ and generate nearly a watt of power at millimeter-wave frequencies—nearly five times greater than what was currently possible,” says Krishnaswamy. “This could enable extremely high-bandwidth communication over extremely long distances for the first time.”

For instance, he points out, think of a citywide millimeter-wave wireless network that could support 10s of gigabit per second data rates—nearly two to three orders of magnitude higher than WiFi. Such a network could serve as the backbone infrastructure that enables extremely high-data-rate wireless links to mobile devices.

Krishnaswamy and his CoSMIC lab team accomplished this world record power output level for CMOS-based power amplifiers by developing a chip design methodology that stacks several nanoscale CMOS devices on top of each other so that they can handle larger voltages without compromising their speed. By stacking four 45-nanometer CMOS transistors within a power amplifier and then combining eight such amplifiers on a single chip, they achieved output power levels of nearly 0.5 W at 45 gigahertz.

“High-frequency nanoscale electronics is exciting to me because it is the confluence of many different aspects of science and engineering,” Krishnaswamy observes. “It’s an area where theory meets experimentation, where electro-magnetics meets chip and circuit design, and where the abstract meets real-life applications. I find it fascinating.”

The research was funded by DARPA MTO (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Microsystems Technology Office) through its ELASTx (Efficient Linearized All-Silicon Transmitter ICs) program.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Market for GaN and SiC power semiconductors set to rise by factor of 18 from 2012 to 2022

USA: The emerging market for Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) power semiconductors is forecast to grow a remarkable factor of 18 during the next 10 years, energized by demand from power supplies, photovoltaic (PV) inverters and industrial motor drives.

Worldwide revenue from sales of SiC and GaN power semiconductors is projected to rise to $2.8 billion in 2012, up from just $143 million in 2012, according to a new report entitled “The World Market for SiC & GaN Power Semiconductors - 2013 Edition” from IMS Research, now part of IHS. Market revenue is expected to rise by the double digits annually for the next decade, as presented in the figure below.

SiC Schottky diodes have been around for more than 10 years, with SiC metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET), junction-gate field-effect transistors (JFET) and bipolar junction transistors (BJT) appearing in recent years. In contrast, GaN power semiconductors are only just appearing in the market.
GaN is a wide bandgap material that offers similar performance benefits to SiC but has greater cost-reduction potential. This price/performance advantage is possible because GaN power devices can be grown on silicon substrates that are larger and lower in cost compared to SiC.

“The key factor determining market growth will be how quickly GaN-on-silicon (Si) devices can achieve price parity and equivalent performance as silicon MOSFETs, insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) or rectifiers,” said Richard Eden, senior market analyst for power semiconductor discretes and modules at IHS. “IHS expects this will be achieved in 2019, driving the GaN power market to pass the $1 billion mark in 2022.”

SiC Schottky diode revenue exceeded $100 million in 2012, making it the best-selling SiC or GaN device currently. But even though SiC Schottky diode revenue is forecast to grow until 2015, it will decline when lower-priced 600-V GaN diodes become available. Still revenue will recover to approach $200 million by 2022, with sales concentrated at voltage ratings of 1200V and above.

By then, SiC MOSFETs are forecast to generate revenue approaching $400 million, overtaking Schottky diodes to become the best-selling SiC discrete power device type. Meanwhile, SiC JFETs and SiC BJTs are each forecast to generate less than half of SiC MOSFET revenues at that time, despite their likelihood of achieving good reliability, price and performance.

End users now strongly prefer SiC MOSFETs, so vendors of SiC JFETs and BJTs have a major task ahead in educating their potential customers on the benefits of these technologies.
While IHS predicts strong growth for the SiC and GaN power semiconductor market in the years ahead, the forecast has been significantly reduced compared to the outlook from one year ago.

The main reason for the change is the reduced forecasts for shipments of equipment that use power components, resulting from today’s gloomier view of the global economy. SiC adoption forecasts also have been slashed because device prices are not falling as fast as originally assumed a year ago.

In contrast, industry confidence in GaN technology has increased, with more semiconductor companies announcing GaN development projects. For instance, Transphorm has become the first company to achieve JEDEC qualification for its GaN-on-Si devices.

Fully qualified production silicon for Cypress’s first two PSoC 4 product families now available

USA: Cypress Semiconductor Corp. introduced the first two product families from its PSoC 4 programmable system-on-chip architecture: the PSoC 4100 and PSoC 4200 families.

The PSoC 4100 family, the lowest-cost ARM-based PSoC, brings PSoC flexibility and integration to cost-sensitive, high-volume applications. The PSoC 4200 family features faster processor and ADC sampling speeds and PLD-based enhanced universal digital blocks (UDBs).

Additionally, Cypress released its new $25 PSoC 4 Pioneer Development Kit, which extends PSoC programmability to the established Arduino marketplace at a price point geared to drive broad accessibility. Cypress also delivered Service Pack 1 for its PSoC Creator 2.2 Integrated Design Environment (IDE), which provides full design support for the 4100 and 4200 families. These products can be ordered/downloaded at www.cypress.com/go/PSoC4.

The PSoC 4 programmable system-on-chip architecture combines Cypress’s best-in-class PSoC analog and digital fabric and industry-leading CapSense capacitive touch technology with ARM’s power-efficient Cortex-M0 core.

This truly scalable, cost-efficient architecture provides access to dozens of free PSoC Components—“virtual chips” represented by icons in PSoC Creator—all for prices as low as $1. The new PSoC 4 device class will challenge proprietary 8-bit and 16-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), along with other 32-bit devices.

Renesas Electronics first to achieve UL certification of hardware safety features for UL 60730-1 compliance

USA: Renesas Electronics America announced that its RL78 MCU Family has received certification for the UL60730 standard for its hardware safety features.

The RL78 family of MCUs is designed to deliver performance and power-efficiency while incorporating advanced on-chip peripherals, enabling customers to build compact and energy-efficient systems at lower cost. This value paired with the extensive support for safety standards makes the products ideal for appliance applications such as white goods.

“As embedded systems become more interconnected and interdependent, requirements for safety compliance are increasing for many markets, such as appliances, industrial automation, automotive and medical,” said Ritesh Tyagi, senior director, Marketing, Renesas Electronics America Inc. “Safety is becoming an essential characteristic of all smart systems. With pre-certified MCUs, designers can focus on system-level certification, facilitating the creation of products that help enable the Smart Society.”

“UL is committed to meeting the business needs of all component manufacturers in the safety supply chain for safety critical systems and sub-systems. This certification gives OEMs the confidence that an RL78 MCU has built-in hardware features to help them meet the functional safety requirements corresponding to Class B control functions,” said Doug Lockard, Global Director - Appliances for UL LLC.

“More simply put, when designing a safety related control in an application that requires UL60730-1 compliance, the fact that UL has already determined that these hardware features comply with Class B requirements will greatly reduce design time and effort in every downstream link in the supply chain.”

The UL60730 safety standard certifies several RL78 hardware features, including: the Window Watchdog Timer (WDT) circuit, the RAM Parity Error Check detection circuit, the CRC circuit, the RAM/SFR Guard Circuit, and the A/D Self-test circuit. These safety features help engineers reduce design complexity by minimizing software overhead that is typically required by self-test routines.

This translates to less code and lower memory requirements for self-testing, and more deterministic product performance. Integrated safety hardware also reduces overall system costs because no external components such as watchdog timer (WDT), or references for analog circuit testing are required.

Toshiba launches sub-power management IC for mobile products

JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. has launched a sub-power management IC embedded with a DCDC step-down convertor and LDO (Low Drop Out) for use in mobile products such as cellular phones and smartphones that realizes high efficiency at a light load.

The new product "TC7732FTG", increases the coil drive frequency from the widely used 2MHz to 4MHz, making it possible to use a smaller packaged 1.0μH coil that takes up less space.

Output voltage can also be set by the I2C bus, securing a reduction of circuits using resistor ICs. External IC parts can be reduced by integrating other peripheral MOSFET and capacitors into the new product.

These modifications cut the mounting area on the circuit board by 35 percent against single-function devices (potential reduction associated with general application products; Toshiba data.), making it possible to realize more compact products while maintaining the standard functions of mobile applications.

NXP security technology at core of one of world’s biggest eID programs

SINGAPORE: NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced at Cards & Payments Singapore that it is near completion of its part of the 172m pieces supplied into the eKTP project.

Launched in 2011, the eKTP project is one of the largest national eID deployments across the globe. The eKTP cards for 172 million citizens are part of a nationwide, multi-application, complete eID-system that comprises data capturing solutions, servers, data storage, biometric matching and smart cards, plus various infrastructure and networking solutions.

Combining the strong drive of the local companies with the technical expertise of principal suppliers such as NXP, the local production companies in the State Printing Company Consortium (PNRI) were able to swiftly ramp-up  the smart card production and personalization of the eKTP cards and achieve near completion within just 18 months.

In addition, the strong technology efforts brought into the project by international market leaders such as NXP have resulted in strong growth within the local Indonesian smart card and biometrics industry. As such, the eKTP project has also proven to be a valuable investment of governmental funds into the local economy.

The eKTP project will enable the Indonesian political system to strengthen democracy across the country by de-duplicating the various existing population databases, resulting in a more thorough census and identification of all Indonesian citizens.

Once complete, the eKTP system can be the basis for many citizen-government services, proving a citizen’s identity “beyond any doubt”. It can then be used to open bank accounts, obtain governmental documents such as birth certificates, register ownership of vehicles or property and many similar transactions. In addition, the multi-application capability of NXP’s chip technology enables the eKTP smart cards to support a large number of voting applications which reduce the possibility of fraud during elections.
This will assist in the government’s aim of building stronger citizen trust in the country’s democracy. Fully compliant with the structure of ICAO LDS-9303, the eKTP smart card can also be used as an international travel document, should Indonesia reach agreements on this with neighboring countries.

“The Indonesian eKTP project is a very good example of how local and global partners can quickly scale up operations and effectively deploy large volumes of smart card credentials over a short period of time. With the help and support of a carefully selected consortium of industry experts, the PNRI is still on track for hitting its ambitious mid-year 2013 completion target,” said Phil Sealy, industry analyst, ABI Research.

“Utilizing a pure contactless IC, the government had multi-application functionality at the forefront of its strategy. Moving forward, ABI Research expects to see the Indonesian government further extend and enhance its citizen outreach with e-government services building upon its success to date”.

“Indonesia’s eKTP project not only confirms our capabilities as a world-class manufacturer of security microcontrollers, able to deliver high quality devices in high volume, but also consolidates our position as a resourceful trusted partner with a global presence, able and willing to support large-scale projects from early stage through to completion,” said Ulrich Huewels, VP and GM, business line secure card solutions with NXP Semiconductors.

“eID roll-outs of this nature have the potential to really change the society by providing citizens with convenient and secure access to public services – there is no better illustration of this than the eVoting capability that the Indonesian eKTP smartcards will enable.”

Based on its expertise in security and contactless technology, NXP is the leading provider of complete solutions to the global Identification market across banking, eGovernment, transport ticketing, infrastructure, RFID tagging, device authentication and NFC.

Providing the secure microcontrollers and additionally the embedded Secure Application Modules (SAM) as well as reader ICs for the eKTP reader infrastructure – thus ensuring optimum interoperability and security of the end-to-end system – the scope of the eKTP project has further strengthened NXP’s position as the clear global leader in Identification as well as in the eGovernment market. This is confirmed by the latest report from ABI Research, which says that NXP has a global market share of 53 per cent in eGovernment.

Fujitsu expands FM3 family of 32-bit MCUs

SINGAPORE: Fujitsu Semiconductor Asia Pte Ltd (FSAL) announced the launch of an upgraded lineup of its FM3 Family of 32-bit general-purpose RISC microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex-M3 processor core.

In total, Fujitsu Semiconductor is releasing 38 new products, including the MB9BF529TPMC, which is equipped with high-capacity memory, and the MB9BF121JPMC, which features low pin count packaging. Sample quantities of the new products will incrementally be made available starting May 10, 2013. The new lineup is optimised for system control in household appliances, office automation equipment, and industrial equipment.

With the addition of these new products, Fujitsu Semiconductor’s top class FM3 Family lineup of ARM Cortex-M3 processor core-based microcontrollers will total 570 products.

Since first announcing the FM3 family of 32-bit general-purpose RISC microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex-M3 core in 2010, Fujitsu Semiconductor has subsequently developed a rich product lineup supporting a broad range of applications.

The Basic Group, which achieves an ideal balance between performance and cost, will be enhanced with the 38 new products including the high-capacity MB9B520T/420T/320T/120T Series, which features up to 1.5MB of flash memory; the low-pin MB9B120J Series, which is available in 32-pin packaging; and the low-power MB9A420L/120L Series, which supports CAN communications. The new lineup is optimal for system control in household appliances, office automation equipment, and industrial equipment.

Going forward, Fujitsu Semiconductor plans to incrementally augment its microcontroller portfolio, including its FM4 Family of Cortex-M4 core-based processors and the FM0+ Family of Cortex-M0+ core-based processors, all while delivering its enhanced product lineup to the global marketplace.

Maker tested, engineer approved: Introducing $45, 1-GHz BeagleBone Black open-source Linux computer

USA: With BeagleBone Black, the next-generation offering from BeagleBoard.org, everyone from electronic artists to engineers has access to a ready-to-use, 1-GHz computer for only $45.

This credit-card-sized, Linux computer is an open hardware and software development platform that makes it quick and easy to transform great ideas into products. BeagleBone Black allows developers to leverage the ideas and knowledge of the highly active and engaged users of the BeagleBoard.org community who support each other from concept through development. Opportunities for innovation are endless.

For only $45, BeagleBone Black includes all the necessary components in the box to connect a display, keyboard and network, providing a lower total cost of ownership than the nearest competitor and allowing for immediate development.

BeagleBone Black is based on the 1-GHz Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor from Texas Instruments Inc. (TI). TI’s Sitara AM335x processor enhances the user experience by enabling an advanced graphical user interface and more than 2x higher performance than ARM11-based solutions.

BeagleBone Black includes 2GB of on-board storage to run pre-loaded Linux software, as well as a USB cable to power the board. Featuring USB, Ethernet and HDMI interfaces, BeagleBone Black has the interfaces to connect to a wide variety of devices such as a mouse, keyboard or LCD display.

BeagleBone Black offers designers flexibility with expansion headers, including 65 digital I/Os, seven analog inputs and access to a variety of analog and digital peripherals.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Critical updates from industry leaders on EUV, 3D transistors and 450mm manufacturing targeted for SEMICON West 2013

USA: The critical processes and technologies necessary to continue Moore’s Law are currently more uncertain than ever before in the history of advanced semiconductor manufacturing.

To assess these uncertainties and provide the latest information on EUV lithography, 3D transistors, 450mm wafer processing, and other challenges to preserving the pace of Moore’s Law, the leading authorities on these crucial issues will provide their insights, perspectives and predictions at SEMICON West), held from July 9-11 in San Francisco, Calif.

Although progress to take EUV lithography into the realm of high-volume manufacturing continues to be made, the readiness of source technologies, mask infrastructure and resist performance are still not known with a high degree of certainty. Until EUV Lithography is ready for high-volume manufacturing, the industry will continue to rely on double-patterning and even multiple-patterning lithography schemes using 193 immersion technology to take it beyond 22nm.

How the industry will address these barriers, uncertainties and alternatives will be the focus the lithography session at SEMICON West — including the following speakers and topics:

Skip Miller, ASML — NXE Platform Performance and Volume Introduction
Stefan Wurm, Ph.D., SEMATECH — Mask and Resist Infrastructure Gaps
Ben Rathsack, Tokyo Electron — Advances in Directed Self-Assembly Integration and Manufacturability on 300mm Wafers
Mike Rieger, Synopsys — Collaboration to Deliver Lithography Solutions
Nikon Precision — ArF Lithography Extension Through Advanced Overlay and Imaging Solutions.

The mobile market is driving the move to novel transistor architectures that offer greater performance and power benefits than traditional planar architectures. Memory and logic manufacturers are pursuing different strategies including leveraging innovations in design rules, new channel materials and processes (e.g., MOCVD) and inspection and metrology challenges. Speakers and topics on the challenges of nonplanar transistor processing include:

Gary Patton, Ph.D., IBM Semiconductor Research and Development Center — Meeting the Challenges of Next-Generation Scaling
Subramani Kengeri, GLOBALFOUNDRIES — Enabling SoC Level Differentiation Through Advanced Technology R&D
Michel Haond, STMicroelectronics — Main Features and Benefits of 14nm Ultra Thin Body and BOX (UTBB) Fully Depleted SOI (FD-SOI) Technology
Paul Kirsch, Ph.D., SEMATECH — Non-Silicon R&D Challenges and Opportunities
Adam Brand, Applied Materials — Precision Materials to Meet FinFET Scaling Challenges Beyond 14nm
Joe Sawicki, Mentor Graphics — New Approaches to Improving Quality and Accelerating Yield Ramp for FinFET Technology.

While materials, architecture and processing technologies are undergoing revolutionary change, wafer processing platforms are also being radically transformed with a planned transition to 450mm wafers. For chip manufacturers and suppliers, this will involve increased levels of collaboration, further advancements in tool prototypes, and increased visibility into related supply chain implications.

The SEMICON West 450 Transition Forum will provide the latest updates on the status of 450 R&D, as well as a review of key technology considerations and a discussion of implications and opportunities for the supply chain.

Each of these programs will take place in the TechXPOT conference sessions on the exhibit floor.  Other TechXPOT programs include sessions on 2.5D and 3D IC Packaging, Productivity Innovation at Existing 200mm/300mm Fabs, Silicon Photonics, Lab-to-Fab Solutions, MEMS, LED Manufacturing, and Printed and Flexible Electronics.

SEMICON West will feature over 50 hours of free technical, applications and business programs with the critical, need-to-know information presented by industry leaders.