Friday, May 31, 2013

Fujikura and Micro-Imaging in license agreement for CMOS-based imaging technology

MD&M East 2013, JAPAN & USA: Fujikura Ltd and Micro-Imaging Solutions (MIS) have entered into a license agreement to jointly co-market nano-sized, complementary metal-oxide semiconductor, or CMOS, based endoscopes.

The collaboration leverages the large, commercial scale production capabilities of Fujikura and the proprietary imaging technology of MIS.

MIS owns over 30 issued world-wide patents relating to micro-format CMOS sensor technology and advanced technologies to revolutionize the traditional endoscopic market by providing low-cost, disposable and high-resolution endoscopes. MIS’ proprietary imaging technology enables high-resolution disposable endoscopic devices for the medical marketplace.

The global market for endoscopy was worth $6.2 billion in 2011, is growing at a CAGR of approximately 9.77 percent and is expected to reach approximately $10.9 billion by 2017.

An endoscope is a medical device consisting of a long, thin, flexible tube which has a light and a video camera. Images of the inside of the patient’s body can be seen by the physician on a screen. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure used to examine the interior surfaces of an organ or tissue.

Si2 and TechAmerica announce transfer of Compact Model Council to Si2

DAC 2013. USA: The Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) and TechAmerica have announced the transfer of the Compact Model Council (CMC) to Si2.

All future development, research, administrative, marketing, and accounting activities of the CMC will be carried out under the bylaws and operating procedures of Si2. The CMC will be renamed the Compact Model Coalition to blend with Si2’s organizational structure.

“TechAmerica is proud to have supported the excellent work of the Compact Modeling Council, which over the years has expanded both in terms of deliverables and value to industry,” says Shawn Osborne, president and CEO, TechAmerica. “Si2 is an ideal new home for CMC members to grow their important standardization work for the semiconductor industry as TechAmerica continues to focus on our core products of policy advocacy and creating the best networking events and intelligence for our members.”

“We are pleased with the level of collaboration enjoyed with TechAmerica, where we achieved a successful outcome that benefits all parties”, says Steve Schulz, president and CEO, Si2. “We anticipate strong engineering leverage between CMC and Si2’s other semiconductor industry standards. This will further enhance the value proposition for the CMC and for all Si2 members.”

Toshiba launches demodulator IC for China digital terrestrial and digital cable broadcasts

JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. announced that it has launched a demodulator IC for digital terrestrial broadcasts (GB20600-2006: DTMB) and digital cable broadcasts (GY/T 170-2001: DVB-C) in the Chinese market.

The new demodulator IC, TC90518FTG, uses Toshiba's original multipath cancelling technology and achieves industry-leading-class reception performance under long-delay multipath conditions of +/-300usec.

This makes it possible to realize stable reception in environments that may cause a long-delay multipath, such as in single frequency networks (SFN)3. The new product also achieves industry-leading2 low power consumption, 98mW (typ.), which can contribute to lower power consumption by the broadcasting equipment.

Samples are available now with mass production scheduled to start this summer.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES intros certified design flows for multi-die integration using 2.5D IC technology

DAC 2013, USA: GLOBALFOUNDRIES will unveil a comprehensive set of certified design flows to support 2.5D IC product development with its most advanced manufacturing processes.

The sign-off ready flows, jointly developed with the leading EDA providers, offer robust support for implementing designs using sophisticated multi-die packaging techniques, leveraging through-silicon vias (TSVs) in 2.5D silicon interposers and new bonding approaches.

Multi-vendor support is available, with full implementation flows from Synopsys and Cadence Design Systems. Physical verification with Mentor Graphics’ suite of tools is included in the flow.

The GLOBALFOUNDRIES 2.5D technology addresses the challenges of multi-die integration with solutions for front-end steps such as via-middle TSV creation, and flexibility for the backend steps, like bonding/debonding, grinding, assembly, and metrology.

The flows allow designer to quickly and reliably address the additional requirements of 2.5D design, including top-level interposer design creation and floor planning, as well as the increased complexity of using TSVs, front-side and back-side bumps, and redistribution layer (RDL) routing. The flows support the need for additional verification steps brought on by 2.5D design rules.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES accelerates adoption of 20nm-LPM and 14nm-XM FinFET processes

DAC 2013, USA: GLOBALFOUNDRIES will unveil a comprehensive set of certified design flows to support its most advanced manufacturing processes.

The flows, jointly developed with the leading EDA providers, offer robust support for implementing designs in the company’s 20nm low power process and its leading-edge 14nm-XM FinFET process.

Working closely with Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys, GLOBALFOUNDRIES has developed the flows to address the most pressing design challenges, including support for analog/mixed signal (AMS) design, and advanced digital designs, both with demonstration of the impact of double patterning on the flow.

The GLOBALFOUNDRIES design flows work with its process design kits (PDKs) to provide real examples that demonstrate the entire flow. The user can download the design database, the PDK, detailed documentation and multi-vendor scripts to learn how to set up and use the GLOBALFOUNDRIES design flow. The flows use open source examples and provide the customer with working, executable and customizable flows.

NXP, Infineon, Oberthur, and Morpho major winners in 2012 smart card and IC market shares analysis

ENGLAND: In 2012, 7.95 billion smart cards and 7.99 billion ICs shipped—a rise of 9.4 percent and 12 percent, respectively YoY. IC revenues hit a new high, with NFC RF and secure elements providing a more established proportion of IC revenues which totaled $2.69 billion in 2012.

In terms of overall IC market shares, NXP moved to the number one position for revenues with just shy of 30 percent share. Its success in NFC RF and secure element shipments, in excess of 200 million units combined, strengthened its IC revenue position. Samsung maintained the number one position for units shipped with over 2.9 billion SIM cards alone.

Infineon has maintained its number one position for the smart card market (excluding NFC and embedded security): it had just over 25 percent share in revenues, driven by continued strong shipments into SIM, payment, and government ID markets.

The top four smart card vendors remain unchanged with Gemalto, Oberthur, G&D, and Morpho maintaining the top four market share positions, based on units. Out of these vendors, Oberthur was the only one to maintain its overall market share percentage; the rest dropping slightly. The highest level of vendor movement was within the government ID vertical.

Morpho was the highest climber within the government ID market, gaining an extra 3 percent in share compared to 2011. Oberthur dipped slightly, subsequently dropping one position and Gemalto, albeit, losing very slight share, still maintained its number one position. G&D also posted slightly lower shipments than 2011.

“NFC is going to become an increasingly important entity within the overall smart card and IC business,” comments research analyst, Phil Sealy. “It will become its own standalone core market within the next two years. Success or failure by smart card and IC vendors alike in the NFC space will ultimately affect future market share rankings.”

Etron unveils latest USB 3.0 flash drive controller IC

TAIWAN: Etron Technology Inc. unveils its latest USB 3.0 flash drive controller IC, EV26699, at Computex Taipei 2013. With EV26699, Etron’s USB3.0 flash drive customers can deliver the world’s fastest read and write speeds of 320 and 280 megabytes per second.

At this year’s SuperSpeed USB Community at Computex Taipei, Etron Technology will be demonstrating the comprehensive range of its USB3.0 controller series, from USB 3.0 hosts to USB3.0 flash drivers. To view Etron’s new USB 3.0 controller series and to meet with representatives at Computex Taipei 2013, please visit Etron’s Booth on the 4th floor of the Nangang Exhibition Hall (#N0608) or at Building 1 of the Taipei World Trade Center (#C0217) from Jun 4 to Jun 8.

EV26699 employs a dual-channel design and advanced 72-bit Error Check and Correction (ECC) functionality for all NAND flash memories made of 2x nm or 1x nm advanced CMOS technologies from various flash memory manufacturers.

The sustained performances of EV26699 for read and write operations with SLC flash are 320MB/s and 280MB/s, respectively. With MLC flash, the read and write speeds are up to 300MB/s and 280MB/s. EV26699 supports 16CE(Channel Enable) or 8CE modes and is available in QFN 88-pin or QFN 64-pin packages.

Etron offers a comprehensive line of dual-channel USB3.0 flash disk controller series, including: the Optimal Cost-Performance EV266 series, the Super-Speed EV2669 Accelerator series, and the Ultra-Super-Speed EV26699 series.

EV266 has been enthusiastically received by customers and EV2669 has been adopted by world-leading USB flash drive suppliers. Etron anticipates that EV26699, with its world-record performance, will be an exciting new product line of great interest to its customers.

Power Integrations inrtos highly integrated PFC IC for compact consumer products and PCs

USA: Power Integrations introduced HiperPFS-2, a new family of high-efficiency, active-PFC ICs for offline applications from 100W to 380W.

HiperPFS-2 ICs combine a boost PFC controller, driver, PFC power MOSFET, PFC diode and protection circuits in one package, enabling exceptionally compact designs ideal for small-form-factor power supplies as used in mini-tower PCs, all-in-one PCs, game console adapters and TVs.

The HiperPFS-2 controller uses a variable-frequency CCM algorithm providing up to 97 percent efficiency across the load spectrum from 20 percent to 100 percent and power factor greater than 0.9 at 20 percent load with 265 VAC input for designs over 200W.

Including line-connected sense elements, the new device contributes just 60mW to a typical high-power adapter’s 300mW no-load budget. Conducted and radiated EMI are minimized due to the integrated soft-recovery diode and short parasitic inductance loop which results from the highly integrated, compact design.

UMC receives Six Sigma quality award from iML

TAIWAN: United Microelectronics Corp. and Integrated Memory Logic (iML) jointly announced that UMC has received the Six Sigma Quality Award from iML in recognition of twelve continuous months of six sigma process control for iML products.

The award was presented to UMC by iML's CEO, Shuen Chang , to JH Shyu, UMC's senior vice president in charge of the foundry's 12, 8, and 6-inch fab operations, at a ceremony in Taiwan today.

Shyu said: "We are honored to receive this award from iML. We place enormous value on our relationship with iML and appreciate the acknowledgment of UMC's dedication and hard work. UMC's team is committed to pursuing excellence in order to provide customers and partners with top-quality products and unrivaled service and support each day. We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with iML."

IML currently manufactures many of its parts at UMC, including integrated circuits containing its leading edge Gamma (P-gamma) and Vcom  technology. The company closely monitors the Statistical Process Control (SPC) data for the 13 key process steps involved in the manufacture of IML products, analyzes the data and calculates the Process Capability Index (Cpk), which measures how close a process is running to its specification limits, relative to the natural variability of the process.

IML found that in the 12-month period from Mar 2012-Mar 2013, the Process Capability Index (Cpk) at Wafer Fabrication Plant 8AB used to manufacture iML products achieved a minimal rating of 2.0 (which is equivalent to a Six Sigma standard of quality) consistently across all production during the period, and in many batches achieving even higher standards.

Samplify's APAX technology cuts memory power consumption by 59 percent during video playback on mobile devices

USA: Samplify, the leading intellectual property company for accelerating memory, storage, and I/O bottlenecks in mobile devices, consumer electronics, and computing, has completed testing of its APAX technology with an H.264 decoder to reduce the power consumption of the memory subsystem of mobile devices during video playback.

Testing results prove a 59 percent reduction in power consumption for memory during video playback on mobile devices and an extension of mobile battery life by 15-25 percent for all multimedia data types. The company will showcase these dramatic results next week at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin, Texas, June 2-6.

This milestone marks the completion of all multimedia use cases within mobile processors including:
* Image sensor acquisition in Bayer Matrix format.
* Image processing and color space conversion (RGB 4:4:4, YUV 4:4:4).
* Motion estimation (ME) during video encoding (YUV 4:2:2/4:2:0).
* Motion compensation (MC) during video decoding (YUV 4:2:2/4:2:0).
* On-screen display and 3D graphics (RGB 4:4:4, RGBA 4:4:4:4, triangle vertices, meshes).
* Transparent software processing of APAX-encoded image data, flexibly accessed either as macroblocks or as rasters.

Slow global GDP growth weighs on IC market

USA: Many of the preliminary 1Q13 GDP figures by country or region have now been reported. Based on the first quarter data, IC Insights has slightly lowered its worldwide GDP forecast from the 3.1 percent shown in the March Update to 3 percent.

The reduction in the worldwide GDP growth forecast for this year was driven by a lower GDP growth forecast for the US, which now stands at 2.2 percent (the same as in 2012).  The primary reason for the lowering of the forecast for US. GDP growth this year was the beginning of sequestration (i.e., large and widespread cuts to government spending) on March 1, 2013.
In contrast to the lower US GDP forecast for this year, IC Insights raised its expectations for 2013 GDP growth in Japan to 1.7 percent, up from 1.2 percent. In addition to fiscal stimulus measures, the Japanese government has undertaken a program to significantly devalue its currency (i.e., yen).

These stimulus measures, in concert with the currency devaluation program, helped boost Japanese company exports in early 2013. As a result, the Japanese economy registered a 3.5 percent annualized increase in GDP growth in 1Q13. Although this high level of growth is not expected to continue throughout this year, the expectations for Japan’s economy this year are definitely on the rise.

China’s GDP growth rate was announced to be 7.7 percent in 1Q13. With China’s economy expected to pick up momentum in the second half of this year, IC Insights has left its 8.1 percent full-year forecast for China’s GDP growth unchanged.

Unfortunately, with little good news coming out of Europe in early 2013 and the full impact of the US sequester cuts still looming, IC Insights still believes that there continues to be more downside risk to its worldwide GDP growth forecast for this year than upside potential.

IC Insights believes that the correlation between worldwide GDP growth and IC market growth has been excellent over the past few years and will again be good in 2013. Using IC Insights’ most current worldwide GDP forecast of 3 percent, the most likely range for IC market growth in 2013 is still 3-7 percent.

As a result of weaker GDP growth in the US and negative growth among the Eurozone countries, which, together account for about 43 percent of global GDP, IC Insights has lowered its 2013 IC market growth forecast one percentage point to 5 percent.
IC Insights’ 5 percent full-year IC market growth scenario for 2013 incorporates a 2H/1H 2013 IC market increase of 8.8 percent (0.4 points less than the 22-year average of 9.2 percent).

Thus, it is assumed that there will be a slightly below normal seasonal increase in IC demand in the second half of 2013 as compared to the historical average but a much stronger increase than in 2H12/1H12 (3.6 percent).

Aehr Test Systems announces first production orders for next-gen FOX semiconductor test systems

USA: Aehr Test Systems announced that it has received an order totaling nearly $2 million, with a 30 percent down payment, for multiple production systems of its next-generation FOX Semiconductor Test System from a leading manufacturer of flash memory devices. The systems are expected to ship in the first half of calendar 2014.

The next generation FOX-1P extends the capabilities of the Aehr Test FOX-1 by adding high density, low cost I/O and DPS modules with the capability to provide over 16,000 I/O or DPS channels in a single test head for massive parallelism on a single wafer. It has resources to test over 10,000 die on a single wafer with individual DPS channels. Each channel has current monitoring and provides protection of the device and the probe cards that connect the test system to the devices under test.

Aehr Test's FOX family of products is focused on full wafer high reliability test and sort test needs for products such as automotive ICs, memories and devices with embedded memories, including microcontrollers and smart cards,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Atrenta and Mentor collaborate on SoC power signoff

DAC 2013, USA: Atrenta Inc. announced that it is collaborating with Mentor Graphics Corp. to enable accurate, signoff quality power estimation at the register transfer level (RTL) for the entire system on chip (SoC) device.

The project aims to radically improve SoC design efficiency by facilitating RTL power estimation for designs in excess of 50 million gates, running actual software scenarios over hundreds of millions cycles, resulting in large simulation data sets in excess of 10Gbytes.

The collaboration between the two companies has resulted in an interface between the Mentor Veloce2 emulator and Atrenta’s SpyGlass Power RTL power estimation tool to allow estimation of SoC power and validation of power budgets at the full-chip level.

The interface files from the emulator significantly differ from files generated by standard RTL simulation tools since they are optimized for large data sets over millions of cycles. The collaboration enables SpyGlass Power to consume specific data generated by Veloce2 in switching activity interface format (SAIF) and files system database (FSDB) industry formats.

Traditionally, RTL power estimation is performed at the block level due to the lack of full-chip SoC simulation data for accurate dynamic power estimation in the different functional modes of the chip. SoC power is then calculated by adding the power numbers of the sub-blocks.

The sum of the power of the blocks does not always correlate to the total power consumed by the chip due to the activity caused by complex interfaces between the sub-blocks. This often results in surprises during the final tapeout as the power budgets for the SoC can be way off.

CaetanoBus streamlines electrical design processes using Capital software from Mentor Graphics

USA: Mentor Graphics Corp. and CaetanoBus announced successful application of the company’s Capital software suite to the development of CaetanoBus’ flagship C5 coach.

The C5 coach offers a wide range of configuration options and includes innovative electrical/electronic systems that significantly boost efficiency, safety, and reliability. The sophisticated nature of these systems drives challenges for the coach’s electrical design, particularly with respect to systems integration, design validation and configuration management. To solve these challenges, the Portugal-based company used the Capital tools.

The Capital suite spans an extended electrical systems, “Define – Design – Build – Service” flow, and is particularly targeted at transportation applications. Combining powerful design automation and modern enterprise integration capabilities, the software creates digital continuity within the electrical domain to compress development cycle time and deliver significant cost reductions.

Electrical engineering is becoming more complicated because of the rapid increase in customer options, which is driving an explosion in the number of configurations that need to be designed and manufactured.

“Engineers can use the Capital suite to design multiple configurations with the same ease as creating a single configuration because the system can capture and automatically apply the engineering constraints needed. They can work faster and more accurately than with traditional systems,” said Emilio Villa, managing director of Har-Tech S.r.l., Mentor Graphics’ distributor in Portugal.

New chairman of Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan appointed

JAPAN: Leading semiconductor test equipment supplier Advantest Corp. announced that its chairman and representative director, Toshio Maruyama, has been appointed chairman of the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ), effective May 29th.

He previously was a member of the board of directors (from 2011) and has served as vice-chairman since 2012.

Founded in 1985, SEAJ is an organization of Japanese semiconductor production equipment (SPE) suppliers, flat panel display (FPD) and solar-photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing equipment manufacturers, and related equipment manufacturers. Its mission is to promote the development of these industries through research, promotion, analysis, and educational activities, among others.

As a long-standing member of SEAJ, Advantest welcomes Maruyama’s appointment to the association’s top post. The company looks forward to continuing its fruitful partnership with SEAJ.

IR intros IRS44273L compact low-side gate drive IC in SOT-23-5L package

USA: International Rectifier (IR) has introduced the IRS44273L low-side gate drive IC offering high drive capability in a highly compact SOT-23-5L package.

The IRS44273L is easy to use and provides a simple solution for IGBT and MOSFET gate drive, offering 1.5A (typical) sink and source capability, fast switching performance and integrated under-voltage lockout protection with minimal board space requirements. This new device offers functionality previously only available in larger packages such as an SO-8, enabling more compact and economical system design.

“The new IRS44273L offers the highest available drive current for a low-side driver in an SOT-23-5L package enabling designers to use it in place of larger SO-8 devices to significantly reduce solution size,” said Tom Ribarich, director of Lighting Systems and Applications, Energy Savings Products Business Unit.

The IRS44273L has two output pins on either side of the package to simplify system design by offering layout flexibility. The device has non-inverted inputs and is compatible with CMOS and LSTTL controllers.

Zilog releases ZMOTION detection module II featuring advanced sensing technology

USA & SWITZERLAND: Zilog, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IXYS Corp. and a pioneer supplier of microcontrollers (MCUs) providing solutions for the industrial, telecommunication, automotive and consumer markets, introduced its latest detection and control technology ideally suited for motion detection applications including customer sensing, lighting control and other energy management purposes.

The ZMOTION Detection Module II (ZDM II) provides an integrated and flexible solution for Passive Infrared (PIR)-based motion detection applications. It is an excellent solution for detecting people as they approach entrances, kiosks, product displays, vending machines, appliances and advertising displays. It includes the Z8FS040 MCU and supports a selection of lenses to fit a range of occupancy detection applications.

The Z8FS040 MCU ships preprogrammed with motion detection software algorithms that comprise the ZMOTION Engine. These algorithms run in the background while control and status of the Engine is accessed through the software Application Programmer Interface (API). Optimized API settings are provided that match Engine operation to each of the lens and pyroelectric sensor combinations provided.

With this announcement, ZDM II is also available in a reference design which demonstrates how to use the Module and how to implement additional hardware and software functions.

NXP leads automotive ASSP semiconductor market for second year in a row in 2012

USA: Benefiting from its leadership position in AM/FM tuner and audio processing chips, NXP Semiconductors NV in 2012 retained its rank as the world’s top supplier of application-specific standard product (ASSP) semiconductors for the automotive infotainment market.

Netherlands-based NXP last year posted automotive infotainment ASSP revenue of $459 million, giving it a market share of 15 percent, according to insights from a forthcoming report from the IHS Automotive and Telematics Service. The company’s market share remained unchanged compared to 2011.

“NXP is extremely well-positioned with its ASSP portfolio for the AM/FM tuner and audio processing segment, accounting nearly for half of all sales of these products in 2012,” said Luca DeAmbroggi, senior analyst for automotive infotainment at IHS.

“While NXP’s market share held steady, the firm actually expanded is infotainment ASSP revenue by 2 percent, cementing its top-ranked status for the second year in a row. Like the other top infotainment ASSP suppliers, NXP achieved its leadership position by maintaining dominance in specific business lines.

French-Italian manufacturer STMicroelectronics was in second place with $389 million for a 13 percent share, separated by just $1 million from third-ranked Renesas Electronics of Japan with $388 million, also with a 13 percent portion of the market.

The rest of the Top 10 each had revenue ranging from $91 million to $280 million. Overall, the semiconductor market for automotive infotainment last year was worth $3.02 billion, up 2 percent from $2.96 billion in 2011.

STMicroelectronics dominated in the audio amplifier and digital/satellite radio tuner and decoder trades, with market share of 47 percent and 71 percent, respectively. However, STMicroelectronics suffered a 12 percent contraction in sales during the year, due to inventory reduction among its key customers as well as delays in the introduction of new devices and technologies.

With STM’s loss, Renesas has managed to narrow the gap between itself at No. 3 and the runner-up position after a 6 percent gain in revenue. Renesas is now a threat to STM after recovering from the 2011 Japan tsunami disaster.

Renesas is followed in fourth place by another Japanese supplier, Panasonic, with $280 million in revenue and a 9 percent share; and by British chipset maker CSR in fifth spot with $212 million or 7 percent share.

The rest of the Top 10 were, in descending order, Toshiba of Japan; Dallas-based Texas Instruments; Freescale Semiconductor, also from Texas; and Fujitsu Semiconductor and Rohm Semiconductor, both from Japan.

Other notable players in the space but outside of the Top 10 were Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm, all from California; as well as Arizona-based Microchip Technology. In particular, Nvidia successfully imported its experience in multimedia and graphics processing from the consumer segment into automotive, mainly concentrating its initial efforts on infotainment premium brands. Less successful than Nvidia but likewise flexing its muscle was Intel, which is moving into the multimedia sector of car infotainment via the chipmaker’s Atom processor platform.

All the vendors reporting results for the year were tracked strictly by ASSP sales confined to the vehicle infotainment sector. Unlike general-purpose microcontrollers, memories or optical semiconductors, the ASSP silicon chips involved in this case are deployed to enable features such as AM/FM radio, digital terrestrial and satellite radio, audio amplifiers, GPS and navigation, multimedia logic and connectivity solutions like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and vehicle networking, to name a few.

TI delivers industry's most highly integrated piezo haptic driver for realistic HD touchscreen experience

USA: Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) introduced the industry's most highly integrated piezo haptic driver for high-definition (HD) consumer, automotive and industrial touchscreen applications.

The DRV2667 features a digital interface, integrated 15-V to 105-V boost converter, power diode, and 40-V to 200-V peak-to-peak (Vpp) fully-differential amplifier, resulting in a complete single-chip solution size that is less than half the size of competitive solutions. The DRV2667 also features an I2C controlled digital playback engine that relieves the host processor from haptic effects generation.

The DRV2667 enables the highest fidelity HD haptic experience for a wide range of products, such as smartphones, tablets, white goods and automotive central information displays.

Key features and benefits of the DRV2667
Highest integration level: The integration of digital waveform generation, high-voltage drive, and 2kB of RAM eliminates the need for external components, and allows the DRV2667 to store and instantly recall haptic waveforms. The driver delivers real-time playback of haptic effects, such as those from Immersion's TouchSense® 5000 haptic effects library.

More realistic experience: Digital interface and a 2-ms startup enable a faster haptic effect response time, and a more realistic HD tactile experience that closely resembles the feel of specific events, surfaces or effects. Users can experience the pluck of a guitar string, the feel of turning a page, the press of a keyboard or mechanical button, and a myriad of gaming effects.

More vibration force: High-voltage differential amplifier generates up to 200-Vpp output drive, resulting in six times more vibration force than competing solutions. This capability enables support for a wide range of piezo actuators.

Smallest solution size: Combining the DRV2667 with an external inductor provides the industry's smallest solution size of 10 mm by 11 mm, which is half the size of competitive solutions that must be paired with an external transformer and other discrete components.

Viking collaborates with Supermicro to design NVDIMM into x86 servers

USA: Viking Technology, a division of Sanmina Corp. and leading global manufacturer of innovative DRAM and solid state drive (SSD) solutions, announced that its ArxCis-NV, a DDR3 Non-Volatile DIMM is available for integration in off-the-shelf (OTS) x86 servers.

This collaboration between Supermicro and Viking Technology enables enterprise OEMs and hyperscale computing organizations to build significantly more powerful and secure appliances for today's data centers.

As the leading vendor of DDR3 Non-Volatile DIMMs, Viking Technology has been instrumental in driving the eco-system to support NVDIMMs. This technology, requiring both server hardware and BIOS modifications, would historically have been used by only the top few server OEMs.

Today, this technology collaboration promises to provide architectural and performance improvements to many of the applications shaping today's IT infrastructure, including: storage, server virtualization, business analytics and social media.

Non-Volatile DIMMs, often termed NVDIMMs or persistent memory, are designed to deliver high performance, endurance and reliability to industry standard x86 servers. Traditionally, enterprise applications could not trust main memory (DRAM) because it is volatile (loss of data upon power failure). Therefore, batteries, Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS's) and techniques such as check-pointing were used to ensure data security, but at the cost of performance. NVDIMMs now enable server and storage arrays to utilize persistent memory that delivers both the highest performance and 100 percent data security.

Dongbu HiTek sharpens foundry focus on Chinese fabless market

SOUTH KOREA: Dongbu HiTek announced the opening of sales/marketing offices in Shanghai and Beijing with plans to open another soon in Shenzhen.

The company’s bold move signals how important the rapidly growing Chinese fabless market is to its foundry business. The new offices in China strategically expand Dongbu HiTek’s global network of previously established offices in the US, Taiwan, Japan, United Kingdom and Italy.

“Our sales momentum in China has been building steadily over the past few years fueled largely by demand from fabless Chinese companies in need of our specialized foundry services,” said Jae Song, Dongbu HiTek EVP of marketing. “We aim to increase our annual foundry sales to China from 8 percent of total sales in 2012 to 13 percent in 2013 by manufacturing cutting edge chips for smart phones, tablet PCs, laptops and TVs.”

Among the wide range of advanced chips that Dongbu HiTek has already manufactured for Chinese customers are touch-screen controllers, sensors and power management chips.

By establishing offices in mainland China’s most vibrant business centers, Dongbu HiTek expects to strengthen its relationships with current Chinese customers by providing a more responsive on-site customer service. The Korean company also expects to more swiftly capture a greater share of the mushrooming sales of foundry services to Chinese fabless companies, particularly those developing ICs for smart phones and other consumer products.

According to iSuppli, sales revenue generated by Chinese fabless companies is forecast to grow from approximately $8.2 billion in 2013 to about $12.4 billion in 2016. By another estimate from Gartner Inc., the worldwide shipment of smart phones is forecast to more than double over the next four years (2012-to-2016). Over this same period, Chinese smart phone shipments are expected to rise from 25 percent to 33 percent of the total.

IEEE Standards Association Symposium on EDA interoperability launched

USA: IEEE announced the launch of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Symposium on Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Interoperability.

The event—scheduled to take place 24 October 2013 in Silicon Valley—is intended to help members of the electronics/semiconductor design and verification community better understand the landscape of EDA and semiconductor intellectual property (IP) standards, as well as the role of these standards to address industry interoperability challenges.

“The EDA industry relies on globally relevant standards to foster quality and tool interoperability, and the symposium is a valuable way for the IEEE-SA to facilitate industry adoption and refinement of such standards,” said Yatin Trivedi, a member of the executive committee for the IEEE-SA symposium and director of standards and interoperability programs, with Synopsys Inc.

“This is a new event for the IEEE-SA that is necessary because EDA tools and chip-design methodology have grown substantially more complex. Our industry has reached an inflection point in which standards-centric interoperability is required across more dimensions than ever before. Practitioner experience and input are critically needed to shape the ongoing evolution of the standards.”

Freescale S12 MagniV mixed-signal MCUs help solve automotive challenges in China

CHINA: Automobile sales in China are booming, with a 13 percent year-over-year gain for April 2013, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. At the same time, the amount of electronic content per vehicle continues to increase as automakers add features to differentiate themselves in this highly competitive market.

To help address the need for cost-effective vehicle electronic systems, the Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) S12 MagniV mixed-signal microcontroller (MCU) portfolio offers Chinese automakers highly integrated, single-chip solutions that are extremely reliable and easy to develop with, while helping reduce the bill of materials and overall manufacturing costs.

“The S12 MagniV single-die solution helps us achieve functionality that previously required multiple devices,” said Jin Zhefeng, senior manager of the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) Technology Center. “It also helps us achieve higher reliability while saving board space, reducing the bill of materials and greatly improving compatibility across devices.”

Traditionally, automotive electronic system designs have required multiple components – some created with a high-voltage process to connect to the battery and power actuator outputs, as well as MCUs created with a low-voltage digital logic process. This poses a challenge when the end application has space limitations. S12 MagniV MCUs address this challenge by integrating an analog front end and MCU, providing a comprehensive single-chip solution for applications such as anti-pinch window lifts, instrument clusters and brushless DC motors.

By combining the latest CAN- and LIN-based S12 MagniV devices with the latest Qorivva MCU body control module in a networked system, car OEMs are able to eliminate up to 20 pounds of copper wiring and board components, reducing vehicle weight and further improving fuel economy.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Broadcom announces Bluetooth Smart chip

USA: Broadcom Corp. introduced a new Bluetooth Smart system-on-a-chip (SoC) to propel a broader range of low-cost, low-power peripherals to work with Android-based smartphones and tablets.

The company also announced the contribution of its Bluetooth software stack, including classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart (formerly Bluetooth Low Energy) technology, to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The new Broadcom chip and contribution of its software will help drive proliferation of Bluetooth technology in the "Internet of Things" ecosystem. For more news, visit Broadcom's Newsroom.

Broadcom's new BCM20732 Bluetooth Smart SoC allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to seamlessly connect peripheral devices like heart rate monitors, pedometers, door locks, lighting, proximity alarms and more.

Designed for simple integration into coin cell batteries, the ARM Cortex M3-based BCM20732 will inspire a new range of connectivity for previously unconnected devices. With Broadcom's new SoC, it is now possible to operate Bluetooth Smart-enabled products for more than one year without recharging the small batteries that power them. The BCM20732 will be showcased at COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2013.

The introduction of Broadcom's Bluetooth Smart software expands opportunities for OEMs in the explosive "Internet of Things" market, particularly with in health, fitness, personal security and home automation markets.

Broadcom's stack includes built-in application programming interface calls (APIs) to enable instant control of peripheral devices directly from Android-based smartphones and tablets, as well as application development kit (ADK) peripheral support to help OEMs quickly and easily develop products with the latest profiles and customized applications for enhanced consumer experiences.

Analog Devices unveils industry-leading broadband RF gain blocks

IMS2013, USA: Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) has introduced four new RF amplifier gain blocks which ease the design of high dynamic range communications, defense and instrumentation systems.

Operating over a frequency range of 30 MHz to 6 GHz, the ADL5544, ADL5545, ADL5610 and ADL5611 RF amplifiers offer the industry’s best combination of linearity, gain and noise figure performance, enabling high performance with low power consumption.

These devices complement Analog Devices’ existing family of high performance RF/IF amplifiers by providing additional power vs. performance options and will be showcased at ADI’s booth at the upcoming International Microwave Symposium.

The ADL5544, ADL5545, ADL5610 and ADL5611 single-ended RF amplifiers feature excellent OIP3 and P1dB noise figure specifications over a wide frequency range and are internally matched to 50 Ω at the input and output.

In addition, they offer bill of materials savings as the only external components required are coupling/decoupling capacitors and a dc bias inductor. The new gain blocks are available in a SOT-89 package, making it easy to drop into any existing design for evaluation, feature an integrated on-chip bias circuit and are Class 1C (±1.5 kV ESD) rated.

Mentor Graphics brings seamless software trace, debug, and performance analysis to embedded systems development

USA: Mentor Graphics Corp. announced its newest version of the Mentor Embedded Sourcery CodeBench embedded software development tool, integrated with the award-winning Sourcery Analyzer tool and Ashling Vitra-XD trace probe.

Embedded developers now have the ability to more fully understand and optimize software functionality and performance by continuously observing their entire embedded system including hardware, firmware, operating system, and application layers.

“Our latest version of Sourcery CodeBench gives developers powerful insight into their embedded software,” said Mark Mitchell, GM of open source tools, Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. “Along with the Ashling Vitra-XD trace probe, developers now have the necessary software analysis and high-speed, extended software trace and debugging capabilities to design systems that meet the performance and functional needs of today’s multi-core embedded systems.”

TriQuint’s RF chipsets offer complete solutions for wireless backhaul microwave radios

IMS2013, USA: TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. has introduced 12 new products and highlighted two complete RF chipset families for 15 and 23 GHz point-to-point (PtP) radios serving 3G/4G cellular backhaul and related applications.

TriQuint’s new products include high-performance packaged amplifiers, up-converters / down-converters and voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs) as well as additional devices to support PtP RF requirements from 10-27 GHz. They are released in conjunction with the IEEE IMS / MTT-S convention and exhibition, June 4-6 in Seattle, Washington; see TriQuint in Booth 530.

Mobile network traffic generated by smartphones, tablets and other devices is increasing exponentially, making high-speed solutions that “backhaul” data across wireless networks essential to seamless connectivity. Cisco’s Virtual Networking Index notes that in 2012 global mobile data traffic grew by more than 70 percent compared to 2011 and predicts that it will grow at an annual rate of 66 percent through 2017.

TSMC certifies Synopsys' digital and custom solutions for 16-nm FinFET process

USA: Synopsys Inc. announced that TSMC has certified a comprehensive list of custom and digital design tools from Synopsys for 16-nm FinFET process Design Rule Manual (DRM) and SPICE V0.1.

TSMC's certification is built on early collaboration for extraction and modeling of 3-D parasitics in FinFET devices and extends to full-line design implementation solutions. Certification includes all the relevant 16-nm technology routing rules, verification runsets, extraction rundecks and Interoperable Process Design Kits (iPDK).  Results from the collaboration are enabling early adopters of the TSMC 16-nm process to realize the potential of FinFET technology to develop faster and more power-efficient designs.

The certified Synopsys Galaxy Implementation Platform features comprehensive support for TSMC 16-nm V0.1 design rules. TSMC has certified a full suite of Synopsys implementation tools that are FinFET-ready. This includes:

* IC Compiler: Innovative double patterning technology (DPT)-aware placement and routing provides optimal area and performance results that can be reliably decomposed during manufacturing.

* IC Validator: DRC and DPT rule compliance check verifying FinFET parameters including fin boundary rules and expanding dummy cells.

* PrimeTime: Accurate delay calculation and timing analysis to include impact of double patterning.

* StarRC: Extraction of parasitics impacted by the 3-D structure of FinFET devices and relevant extensions to Interconnect Technology Format (ITF).

* FineSim and CustomSIM: Correct and accurate functionality with the FinFET BSIM-CMG models.

* Custom Designer and Laker Layout: Improved productivity through connectivity-assisted editing with support for 16-nm constraints to help manage design-rule complexity.

"Our collaboration with TSMC highlights our goal to enable transparent adoption of FinFET technology for our mutual customers," said Bijan Kiani, VP of Product Marketing, Design & Manufacturing Products at Synopsys. "To achieve this goal we engaged with TSMC on a comprehensive and deep collaboration spanning digital as well as custom implementation and verification tools."

"Certification of Synopsys tools for our 16-nanometer process is a critical milestone in the rollout of our FinFET technology," said Suk Lee, TSMC senior director, Design Infrastructure Marketing Division. "Our FinFET collaboration started earlier than at previous nodes due to the complexity involved in modeling the 3-D FinFET devices. This certification helps early adopters get trusted access to our advanced process and accelerates deployment of FinFET technology."

Synopsys intros starter kit for DesignWare ARC EM processors

USA: Synopsys Inc. announced the availability of the DesignWare ARC EM Starter Kit for the ARC EM family of embedded processor cores.

The DesignWare ARC EM4 and ARC EM6 processor cores are optimized for use in embedded and deeply embedded applications such as sensors, storage devices, appliances, consumer electronics, and battery-operated devices where high performance, small size and minimal power consumption are essential.

The EM Starter Kit provides a platform for rapid software development and code porting, as well as software debugging and system analysis for the ARC EM processors. It is also used for application and product prototyping and demos. The kit is ready for use "out-of-the-box" and enables designers to immediately begin writing code for their design.

The ARC EM Starter Kit includes a base board and daughter card. The daughter card features a Xilinx Spartan®-6 LX45 FPGA, an on-board 125 MHz clock generator, 128 MB of DDR3 memory and 16 MB of flash memory. The flash memory supports the storage of application software and contains four pre-installed ARC EM processor core bit files that can be selected with a dual in-line package (DIP) switch.

The base board allows multiple connectivity and configurable I/O options, making it easy to add circuitry and build subsystems around the EM processors. This quick and easy system configuration capability enables software development prior to final SoC hardware availability.

Example code, peripheral drivers and an MQX RTOS binary are available for the kit. A Secure Digital (SD) card slot on the base board offers additional application software and data storage. The kit also includes a Digilent Pmod Compatible board featuring an I2C 4-channel 12-bit A/D converter, an AC power adapter and a mini-USB cable.

"The combination of high performance, low power and small footprint of the DesignWare ARC EM4 processor made it ideally suited for our connectivity products," said Michael Mo, senior director of product marketing at Amlogic. "Synopsys' ARC EM Starter Kit offers a low-cost hardware platform that enables designers to quickly explore attributes of the EM cores and get an early start on the development of features that will differentiate their ARC-based designs."

The DesignWare ARC EM4 and EM6 processor cores are based on the ARCv2 instruction set architecture (ISA) and are characterized by their very small size and low power consumption, delivering up to twice the performance per milliwatt and per square millimeter as other processor cores in their class.

Because of their performance efficiency, EM processors are often implemented alongside a high-performance CPU to offload tasks from the host processor and improve the overall efficiency of the chip. The cores are highly configurable so they can be optimized for each instance on a SoC, sharing a common programming model to simplify software development and task partitioning. The ARC EM4 core's small size (less than 10K gates) makes it ideal for applications such as sensors and actuators, deeply embedded processing and battery-operated products where power consumption and size must be kept to a minimum without compromising performance.

The ARC EM6 processor core adds support for up to 32K of instruction and data cache. Both cores feature native ARM AMBA AHB and AHB-Lite interfaces, as well as BVCI interfaces to enable high system throughput. The ARC EM4 and EM6 processors deliver industry-leading performance efficiency of up to 1.71 DMIPS/MHz and can achieve speeds of over 800 MHz in a 28-nm process.

The EM Family of processor cores is supported by a complete suite of development tools, including the ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit that generates highly efficient code ideal for deeply embedded applications, ARC simulators including nSIM and xCAM, and the ARChitect core configuration tool.

"With each new generation of electronic devices, we see demand for processors with greater performance with lower power coupled with narrowing time-to-market windows," said John Koeter, VP of marketing for IP and systems at Synopsys. "The DesignWare ARC EM family offers customers doing embedded designs higher performance efficiency and more compact footprints than ever before. The EM Starter Kit makes it possible for them to start software development earlier so they can meet their design goals and still get their products to market quickly."

The DesignWare ARC EM Starter Kit, ARC EM4 and ARC EM6 processor cores and associated development tools are available now.

Broadcom delivers single-chip Wi-Fi solution for embedded devices

USA: Broadcom Corp. announced a new Wi-Fi system-on-a-chip (SoC) for embedded devices.

The BCM4390 chip is part of Broadcom's Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) portfolio to be showcased at COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2013. Broadcom's single-chip design provides original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with a highly integrated, low-power and cost-effective solution designed to inspire a new range of consumer products in the rapidly expanding "Internet of Things" market.

Consumers are demanding higher levels of connectivity than ever before whether in the home or on the go, with 30 billion connected devices expected to be in the market by 20201. Adding Wi-Fi to previously unconnected devices can be a complicated process that drives up cost and increases power usage. Power is particularly challenging for resource-limited, battery operated products.

Broadcom's new WICED BCM4390 SoC is designed for 8 and 16 bit microcontroller systems and delivers Wi-Fi connectivity to low-power and battery-powered devices. Initial applications that the BCM4390 will support include sports and fitness, health and wellness and security and automation. However, innovations based on the WICED platform can also help OEMs connect even the simplest appliances, including slow cookers, lights and more, with a single-chip.

Test Vision 2020 to address emerging test strategies, technologies, and application challenges

USA: Critical trends and developments in the technologies, methodologies, applications challenges in semiconductor test will be presented at the 6th annual IEEE Test Vision 2020 Workshop held in conjunction with SEMICON West 2013, on July 10-11 at the San Francisco Marriot Marquis Hotel.

The one and one-half day workshop will feature speakers from Flextronics, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, AMD, ON Semiconductor, Mentor Graphics, Micron, along with those from key semiconductor test industry suppliers.

Organized by SEMI and sponsored by the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society, Test Vision 2020 is a two-time winner of the ATE Test Technology Technical Council’s “Most Successful Event” Award.  Registration for Test Vision 2020 is now open at , and includes free admission to SEMICON West.

Test Vision 2020 has become the leading venue to learn, forecast and debate the future of semiconductor test and serves as a valuable platform where leading foundries, IDMs and fabless companies discuss their critical test requirements with leading test equipment and solution providers.

MaxLinear MxL683 selected by ST for low-cost ISDB-T STB reference design for Latin America

USA: MaxLinear Inc. announced that its MxL683 has been selected by STMicroelectronics for the STiH207 reference design, a small form factor, cost-optimized set-top box (STB) design for Latin America.

The design collaboration between MaxLinear and STMicroelectronics is aimed at facilitating the successful switch off of analog television services in the region, thereby allowing regional governments to auction the RF spectrum for 4G-LTE mobile high-speed broadband services.

The STiH207 reference design is an integrated set-top box hardware and software solution in a very small form factor. The platform enables manufacturers to bring low-cost digital set-top boxes to market very quickly, and also provides a scalable platform to add advanced features. The high-performance chipset architecture and powerful CPU can enable hybrid broadcast plus broadband (over-the-top) video services or advanced middleware applications (such as Ginga® for the Latin American market) with the same, common platform.

In Brazil, the national telecommunications agency (ANATEL) recently passed legislation to accelerate the adoption of digital television and release the 700MHz RF spectrum for mobile broadband services. The availability of low-cost converter boxes is essential to meet this objective and enable the government to subsidize a large number of boxes for low-income families that cannot afford them. The digital converter boxes are necessary to ensure that homes will continue to receive free television services after the planned analog blackout, which begins in 2015.

President Obama visits Applied Materials in Austin

USA: President Obama visited Applied Materials facilities in Austin, Texas on Thursday, May 9. Obama visited the facility as part of his focus on manufacturing jobs, high-tech skills and technology that will drive long-term economic growth.

The administration’s announcement cited Applied Materials’ contribution to innovation and job creation.Obama told more than 1,000 employees at Applied Materials that the government can play an important role in expanded high-tech manufacturing in the US.

“We’ve got to do everything we can to help the kind of high-tech manufacturing that you’re doing right here at Applied,” the president said. “And we want to make sure it takes root here in Austin and all across the country. And that means, first of all, creating more centers of high-tech manufacturing.”

The same day, the White House announced it would push to get funding for three new “manufacturing innovation institutes,” opening up a nationwide competition for centers focused on digital manufacturing and design, lightweight and modern metals, and next-generation power electronics.

“We want the next revolution in manufacturing to be ‘Made in America,’” Obama said.Applied Materials is a global semiconductor equipment company and a long-time SEMI member with public policy, communications and technology staff that collaborate closely with other SEMI member companies to promote industry-wide competitiveness issues with legislators and policy makers in the US and around the world.

Applied Material’s 1.9 million square foot Austin facility represents the company’s largest manufacturing facility and second-largest employee site.  It is primarily dedicated to manufacturing advanced chip-making equipment and enabling rapid product commercialization for the world’s chip producers.

Last fall, Applied Materials celebrated its Austin facility’s 20th anniversary and 20,000th system shipment. Between 125-500 chip-equipment systems are manufactured per quarter to serve Applied’s global customer base.

“We are pleased to see the President of the United States visiting a global semiconductor equipment manufacturer to emphasize the role of manufacturing in our economy,” said Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI. “Manufacturing is an important economic multiplier that provides high-paying jobs and secondary jobs throughout the nation.

”Nearly 500 companies in North America are SEMI members, including large multi-billion dollar enterprises such as Applied Materials as well as many small- and medium-sized companies that provide the enabling high-tech components, sub systems and materials to produce sophisticated machinery to manufacture micro- and nano-technology products such as integrated circuits, flat panel displays, LED lighting, photovoltaic systems, micro-electromechanical devices (MEMS) and other electronics.

"According to an analysis of government data by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the US semiconductor industry supports more than one million American jobs including direct jobs and related jobs in other sectors. In his February State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a number of priorities that concern SEMI members, including a focus on manufacturing, research and development, corporate tax reform, high-skilled immigration reform, solar energy and international trade."

Toshiba expands TX03 MCU family with energy-efficient, small-footprint device

JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. expanded the Toshiba TX03 series microcontroller (MCU) family with the launch of its newest TMPM375FSDMG device.

Based on the ARM Cortex-M3 core, the TMPM375FSDMG MCU implements a next-generation vector engine that improves motor control, reduces component count, energy, and power consumption.
The MCU is well suited for Brushless DC (BLDC) motor control applications that require high reliability, operational efficiencies, and precise variable speed control like motor control for home appliances (washing machines, air conditioners and refrigerators), motors, air conditioning equipments, pumps, vending machines and ATMs.

The TMPM375FSDMG lowers system cost for field-oriented control by reducing component count—the analog front end has been removed and 5V operation cancels the need for a 3V regulator. The combination of an industry-standard ARM Cortex-M3 CPU, with the specialized vector engine and high-speed timers, eliminates a costly DSP, further lowering cost-of-entry for field-oriented motor control. Lastly, the microcontroller supports a built-in amplifier for single-shunt current detection that can reduce the number of parts and promote cost reduction.

The TMPM375FSDMG's very small SS0P30 package (7.6 mm x 10 mm, including pins), and the reduced component count, make it well suited for space-critical applications. The device is capable of high-speed operation (25 ns PWM), and its extended temperature range of -40 to +105 degrees Celsius enables the MCU to be used in a wide range of industrial applications.

Samples will be available by the end of June 2013, with mass production scheduled to begin later in 2013.

Epitaxial SiC films grown on 300mm Si wafers

ENGLAND & AUSTRALIA: The Queensland Micro and Nanotechnology Facility (QMF) of Griffith University and industry partner SPTS Technologies, a supplier of advanced wafer processing solutions for the global semiconductor industry and related markets, have announced epitaxial growth of 3C silicon carbide (SiC) films on 300mm silicon wafers.

This breakthrough is the result of over 10 years research at QMF on low temperature SiC deposition on silicon and the joint development by QMF and SPTS of a commercial reactor to extend the epitaxial growth process to commercial scale production of SiC coated silicon wafers.

The ultimate target of the joint project is to provide a cost-effective buffer material to enable fabrication of gallium nitride (GaN) devices on silicon substrates. Fabricating GaN light emitting diodes (LEDs) and power devices on large diameter silicon wafers is viewed as a path to improve performance and reduce cost, thereby increasing commercial acceptance of these devices; however, existing buffer layers used to bridge the large thermal and lattice mismatch between silicon and GaN are costly and not completely effective for large scale production.

A 3C-SiC film provides an effective buffer layer lattice-matched for GaN growth on silicon, as well as an impervious barrier to prevent silicon from diffusing into GaN, of particular concern for power devices. Initial estimates are that the new SiC on silicon coating process in volume production would add no more than $25-35 to the cost of a silicon wafer, substantially increasing the appeal of silicon as a substrate for LEDs and GaN power devices.

"We believe we are the first in the world to grow 3C-SiC epitaxially on 300mm  silicon wafers, which means following the same crystal structure as the silicon crystal substrate," said Alan Iacopi , QMF director of Operations. "The reactor development project with SPTS has allowed the QMF R&D process to be extended from small wafers up to 300mm wafers with semiconductor industry specifications; in fact, we have already achieved SiC film thickness uniformities of around 1 percent on 300mm wafers using the new reactor."

"SPTS is excited to be a partner in this project, as we see the QMF SiC technology as a potential breakthrough in reducing the cost of LEDs and improving the performance of GaN power devices," according to William Johnson, president and CEO of SPTS. "Based on our extensive background in vertical furnace technology, the new reactor has been designed for high temperature vacuum processing of batch loads of 150mm to 300mm wafers, with process automation suitable for commercial application. There are a number of buffer and template wafer suppliers offering alternative solutions; however, we see a strong business case for device manufacturers adopting the QMF/SPTS SiC solution to optimize process and control substrate costs."

Iacopi added: "The Griffith University and SPTS partnership has far reaching implications in terms of demonstrating how Australian research entities (like QMF) can collaborate with international industry to advance frontier technologies and bring industrial benefit to Queensland. We have all the ingredients to develop a high tech economy in Queensland, including technically leading Universities, the Australian National Fabrication Facility infrastructure, entrepreneurial spirit, and start-up company investment support."

AMD Opteron X-series family launched!

USA: AMD has unveiled a new family of low power server processors: the AMD Opteron X-Series optimized for scale-out server architectures.

The first AMD Opteron X-Series processors, formerly known as "Kyoto," are the highest density, most power-efficient small core x86 processors ever built.

The new X1150 and X2150 processors beat the top performing Intel Atom processor on key performance benchmarks, including single thread and throughput performance with superior power-efficiency, twice the cores and L2 cache with a more advanced pipeline architecture, higher integration and support for up to 32 gigabytes of DRAM -- 4x more than the Intel Atom processor.

The AMD Opteron X-Series processors come in two variants. The AMD Opteron X2150, which consumes as little as 11 watts, is the first server APU system-on-a-chip integrating CPU and GPU engines with a high-speed bus on a single die.

This enables customers to take advantage of leading-edge AMD Radeon HD 8000 graphics technology for multimedia-oriented server workloads. The AMD Opteron X1150, which consumes as little as 9 watts, is a CPU-only version optimized for general scale-out workloads.

Xilinx and TSMC to enable fastest time-to-market and highest performance FPGAs on TSMC’s 16-nm FinFET

USA & TAIWAN: Xilinx Inc. and TSMC announced that they are teaming together to create the fastest time-to-market and highest performance FPGAs to be built on TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET (16FinFET) process, a program Xilinx calls ‘FinFast.’

The two companies are providing dedicated resources as part of a ‘one-team’ approach, and will work together to co-optimize the FinFET process with Xilinx’s UltraScale architecture. The program will deliver 16FinFET test chips later in 2013 and first product in 2014.

The companies are also engaged in leveraging TSMC’s CoWoS 3D IC manufacturing flow for the highest levels of 3D IC systems integration and system-level performance. Products from this collaboration will be announced at a later date.

“I am extremely confident that our ‘FinFast’ collaboration with TSMC on 16-nanometer will bring the same leadership results that we enjoyed at previous advanced technologies,” said Moshe Gavrielov, president and CEO of Xilinx. “We are committed to TSMC as the clear foundry leader in every dimension, from process technology to design enablement, service, support, quality, and delivery.”

“We are committed to working with Xilinx to bring the industry’s highest performance and highest integration programmable devices quickly to market,” said Morris Chang, TSMC chairman and  CEO.  “Together we will deliver world-class products on TSMC’s 20SoC technology in 2013 and on 16FinFET technology in 2014.”

TSMC recently announced that it is accelerating the production schedule of its 16FinFET process to 2013. The Xilinx/TSMC collaboration will take full advantage of this accelerated schedule and the aggressive performance and power savings of TSMC’s 16FinFET technology.

Xilinx has worked with TSMC to infuse high-end FPGA requirements into the FinFET development process, just as it did in the development of 28HPL and 20SoC processes. To gain optimal results, further co-optimizations will be done across TSMC’s process technology and Xilinx’s UltraScale architecture and next-generation tools. UltraScale is Xilinx’s new ASIC-class architecture, developed to scale from 20-nanometer planar, through 16-nanometer and beyond FinFET technologies, and from monolithic through 3D ICs.

MediaTek intros new quad-core application processor for fast-growing tablet market

TAIWAN: MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, has announced the availability of the new quad-core application processor -- MT8125 designed for the fast growing global tablet markets.

The new tablet platform is an extension of the company's highly successful quad-core portfolio. It integrates a power-efficient quad-core Cortex- A7 CPU subsystem with speed up to 1.5GHz, PowerVR Series5XT Graphics that delivers compelling multimedia features and sophisticated user experiences.

To simplify product design and speed time-to-market, the MT8125 supports 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE and Wi-Fi versions, all of which are pin-to-pin compatible, allowing device manufacturers to easily expand their portfolios with a full range of tablets by leveraging the existing or planned design requiring no additional rework.

Inheriting MediaTek's technology breakthrough of quad-core SoC platform and high-end multimedia capabilities, the MT8125 incorporates premium multimedia features, supporting up to Full HD 1080p video playback and recording, 13MP camera with integrated ISP and Full HD (1920 x 1200) displays. The new tablet SoC also delivers ground breaking visual quality powered by the leading picture quality technology -- MiraVision, derived from MediaTek's extensive experience in the Digital TV market.

The MT8125 includes full support for MediaTek's leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo that converges Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and FM, bringing highly integrated, best-in-class wireless technologies and expanded functionality to high-performance multimedia tablets. The MT8125 also provides support for Wi-Fi certified Miracast, which makes multimedia content sharing between devices easier.

Mentor Graphics and TSMC collaborate to improve and expand 20nm IC physical verification offering

DAC 2013, USA: Mentor Graphics Corp. announced significant achievements in its continued collaboration with TSMC on 20nm physical verification kit optimizations.

This joint effort has reduced Calibre nmDRC 20nm signoff runtimes by at least a factor of 3X and memory requirements by 60 percent compared to initial design kits released last year. In addition, Calibre PERC N20 design kits are now available to TSMC customers as part of the companies’ ongoing collaboration for IC reliability improvement.

The collaboration will continue as mutual customers ramp their releases of N20 production designs, with the goal of maintaining rapid turnaround on full-chip signoff runs for the largest SoC designs in the industry.

The Calibre PERC kit for N20 includes new checks for latch-up prevention and IO-ESD protection, and a number of multiple power domain checks, which represent a significant step forward in automating procedures that previously had to be done manually. Moreover, by using both the Calibre PERC and Calibre nmDRC kits, customers are able to quickly identify and correct voltage-aware DRC violations, which is critical for today’s multi-voltage advanced process designs.

Other ongoing collaboration between TSMC and Mentor is focusing on optimizing the Calibre DFM product family, which incorporates TSMC’s unified DFM (UDFM) engine. Improvements are expected to result in runtime reduction in TSMC’s latest DDK release, and customers who use any DFM tools compliant with TSMC UDFM engine will benefit.

Spectral intros best in class MDP for embedded memory designs

USA: Spectral Design & Test Inc. announced the industry's most advanced graphical tiling, analysis, modeling and characterization solution for 20nm and lower technologies.

Existing commercial solutions for memory compiler development are software intensive and do not directly address the needs of memory designers in terms of ease of use. The Memory Development Platform comprises of various EDA solutions to accelerate design creation and verification of custom memory design and memory compilation.

The first point solution namely MemoryCanvas is a floorplan driven memory compilation tool that eliminates the need to write thousands of lines of complex source code. MemoryTime is a comprehensive software platform that ties behavioral models to final timing databases and enables a very high quality view generation for timing power and noise analysis. MemoryIP is a software solution that encapsulates reference designs into the Memory Development Platform for quickly retargeting & deployment to sub 28nm process nodes.

"Spectral is partnering with leading edge SOC designers from the industry's largest semiconductor companies to define a software platform that can accelerate design productivity without compromising quality," said Deepak Mehta, principal at Spectral. "Spectral has over 200 years of experience in developing EDA/IP solutions, our architects have carefully crafted a highly optimized design platform that encompasses the needs of memory designers."

MDP tools are available now with list pricing starting at $200K per license. Spectral will demonstrate their point solutions at the 2013 Design Automation Conference at the Si2 booth #1427.

Kilopass and UMC align for advanced 28nm IP

USA & TAIWAN: Kilopass Technology Inc., a leading provider of semiconductor logic non-volatile memory (NVM) intellectual property (IP), and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) jointly announced that they have signed a technology development agreement.

The agreement calls for Kilopass to port its non volatile memory (NVM) Intellectual property (IP) to two of UMC's leading edge 28nm processes: the High-K Metal Gate 28HPM in high demand by portable device system on chip (SoC) manufacturers and the poly gate 28HLP favored by consumer electronics SoC designers.

UMC's 28nm process delivers twice the gate density of 40nm. Its cost-effective 28HLP Poly/SiON process delivers vastly improved performance and power consumption over other 28nm Poly/SiON industry offerings.

The process provides a selection of voltage options to accommodate SoC designers differing power supply needs: 1.8v, 2.5V, and 2.5/ 3.3V. The 28HPM High-k/metal gate process provides options for device voltages, memory bit-cells and underdrive/overdrive capabilities to help SoC designers realize substantial gains in performance and battery life.

Global semiconductor leaders reach agreement on plan to strengthen industry through international co-operation

USA: The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced that global semiconductor industry leaders reached an agreement at the 17th annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) last week on a set of policy initiatives to strengthen the industry through international cooperation.

The WSC is a worldwide body of semiconductor industry executives from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States that meets annually to address issues of global concern to the semiconductor industry. Recommendations from this year's meeting – held in Lisbon, Portugal – are outlined in the 2013 WSC Joint Statement.

"The World Semiconductor Council is a unique organization that is unrivaled in its mission and scope by groups in other industries," said Ajit Manocha, SIA chairman and CEO of GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

"The consensus reached in the 2013 WSC Joint Statement represents a significant step toward enacting sound policies that will open markets, increase consumers' ability to benefit from semiconductor technology advances, maintain market-based competition, and protect the environment. I'm particularly encouraged by the WSC's commitment to build and expand its relationships with multilateral trade policy institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Customs Organization (WCO), which will help put us on the path toward achieving the plan set forth in the 2013 Joint Statement."

A top priority expressed in the 2013 Joint Statement is the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a key trade pact that provides for duty-free treatment of certain information technology products, including semiconductors. WSC delegation chairs sent a letter to ITA members urging a rapid conclusion of a commercially significant agreement.

The list of covered products has not been updated since the ITA's inception in 1996, and in the interim semiconductor designers and manufacturers have increasingly integrated additional electronic components into new types of next generation chips to increase functionality. The WSC cited two such semiconductor products that should be covered by an expanded ITA: multi-component integrated circuits (MCO) and multi-chip packages (MCP). Inclusion of MCOs in an expanded ITA would result in estimated global tariff savings of between $94 million and $188 million annually.

"The WSC's recommendations include elimination of tariffs, harmonization of regulations, and simplification of customs procedures," said Keith Jackson , president and CEO of ON Semiconductor and member of the SIA Board of Directors. "These recommendations enable the world's consumers to enjoy the latest semiconductor technology at the lowest cost."

Industry leaders also made significant progress on the following issues:

* Ensuring government compliance with the WSC Encryption Principles and working to promote these principles to other governments throughout the world.

* Reconfirming that the competitiveness of companies and their products, not the interventions of governments and authorities, should be the principal determinant of industrial success.

* Affirming the critical importance of trade facilitation in achieving free and open markets, reducing barriers to trade, and improving business conditions that provide significant benefits to governments, industry, and consumers alike; the WSC announced its support for the WTO Trade Facilitation efforts and encouraged negotiators to conclude an agreement this year that embodies the WSC Trade Facilitation Principles.

* Emphasizing the industry's commitment to anti-counterfeiting efforts.

* Strengthening intellectual property (IP) rights and protections via work and analysis of issues related to utility model patents, patent quality, non-practicing entities and trade secrets.

* Maintaining progress toward reducing the industry's PFC emissions.

* Promoting innovation policy principles to guide governments on how to help industry generate greater innovation without distorting trade or impeding market access.

* Addressing helium supply concerns.

* Approving a WSC conflict-free supply chain policy.

Industry representatives from the six regions will deliver these recommendations to an annual meeting of their governments, called the Governments and Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS), which will take place in Jeju, Korea this September. The GAMS meeting represents an opportunity for industry to convey the importance of implementing the recommendations and explore areas of mutual interest with governments and authorities worldwide.

"The semiconductor industry is critical to the global economy, enabling the technologies the world depends on and boosting job creation, manufacturing and innovation," said Brian Toohey , president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. "Now more than ever, our industry faces global challenges that require international cooperation to solve. The agreement reached by the World Semiconductor Council is a shining example of the industry's commitment to meet this challenge head on by working together to strengthen the global industry for years to come."

Mentor Graphics design and verification tools certified for TSMC 16nm FinFET

USA: Mentor Graphics Corp. announced that its Calibre physical verification platform has achieved version 0.1 of design reference manual (DRM) and SPICE model tool certification for TSMC’s 16nm manufacturing process, which incorporates 3D (FinFET) transistors for higher performance.

TSMC has given 0.1 Certification to the Mentor Olympus-SoC place and route system, and the Calibre physical verification platform. The Mentor 16nm platforms are now available to support customers with their early 16nm FinFET design efforts.

The Mentor Olympus-SoC place and route system for 16nm FinFET enables efficient double patterning (DP) and timing closure with comprehensive support for new design rule checks and multi-patterning rules, fin grid alignment for standard cells and macros during placement, and Vt min-area rule and implant layer support during placement.

The Calibre nmPlatform product for 16nm FinFET supports advanced design rule definition and litho hotspot pre-filtering. In addition, the Calibre SmartFill facility was enhanced to support the TSMC-specified filling requirements for FinFET transistors, including support for density constraints and multilayer structures needed for FinFET layers. The SmartFill solution also provides double patterning support for back end layers and user-defined fill cells that are automatically inserted into a layout based on analysis of the design.

Reliability is also a key element of TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process technology. FinFET 3D transistors will enable devices with higher drive strengths than at previous nodes, so accurate reliability verification becomes even more critical. As highlighted in the Design Enablement section of the recent TSMC Technology Symposium, reliability checks based upon the Calibre PERC platform will enable customers to analyze and correct issues like electrostatic discharge (ESD) and latch-up.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cypress’s TrueTouch Gen4 touchscreen controllers deliver new advanced features

USA: Cypress Semiconductor Corp. announced that its TrueTouch Gen4 touchscreen controller family now delivers multiple new advanced features, including the world’s best tracking of gloved fingers on capacitive touchscreens.

Gen4 enables accurate navigation of touchscreens even with thick gloves on, greatly improving convenience for users of smartphones and other portable electronics.

The Gen4 family now also offers new functionality including passive stylus support to capture handwriting and signatures accurately and proximity detection that senses an object approaching the touchscreen and powers down the display before contact to avoid accidental touches.

The capacitive-based proximity detection feature eliminates the need for infrared (IR) sensors and provides significant cost savings. These advanced features supplement Gen4’s best-in-class water rejection and seamless operation in noisy environments.

The Gen4 TMA467 controller tracks up to 10 fingers in thin gloves and two fingers with thicker gloves, such as those used by skiers. It delivers best-in-class accuracy and linearity for gloves of different materials and thicknesses. It automatically switches between glove and finger tracking without any intervention.

Freescale unveils RF control circuit to optimize performance of Airfast Doherty amplifiers

USA: Freescale Semiconductor introduced an advanced gallium arsenide (GaAs) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) control circuit specifically designed to optimize the performance of Freescale Airfast Doherty amplifiers.

The new MMDS20254H advanced Doherty alignment module (ADAM) enables more accurate alignment of phase and amplitude on the carrier and peaking paths of high-power Doherty amplifiers, thereby improving overall base station performance. The sophisticated technology also helps enhance power efficiency while boosting performance across the entire cellular frequency band.

Fueled by the widespread adoption of TD-LTE and W-CDMA, Doherty amplifiers have regained prominence as an industry standard, providing high power-added efficiency when amplifying the types of signals associated with these popular protocols.

Freescale’s MMDS20254H ADAM device offers exceptional linearity/efficiency tradeoffs, while improving output power. The solution includes a coupler, digitally selectable phase shifters and step attenuators, while operating from a single voltage supply. The MMDS20254H is suitable for transmit protocols such as W-CDMA and LTE, using frequencies from 1800 to 2200 MHz, and is controlled using a SPI interface.

TowerJazz announces new 700V technology

ISPSD 2013, JAPAN: TowerJazz announced the release of a 17 ohm mm^2 750V device which will help customers reduce die size for AC to DC converters, required in fast growing applications such as LED lighting, by a factor of two relative to its prior technology.

TowerJazz is presenting this innovation along with its entire power management platform at the 25th International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices (ISPSD) in Kanazawa, Japan on May 26-30, 2013.

The market for power management ICs in AC to DC applications is expected to grow 6.3 percent over the next five years while LED applications is the fastest growing market segment with an estimated 56 percent growth expected over the next five years.

TowerJazz’s new technology enables a cost advantage for customers building next-generation ICs for AC to DC converters in applications such as power supplies and LED lights. The technology integrates on the production 700V process which is today the most streamlined in the industry, requiring only 16 masking layers for a two layer metal process. The new technology does not add masking layers, preserving this significant advantage over other solutions while reducing on-resistance and shrinking die size significantly.

In addition to AC to DC conversion, TowerJazz’s 700V technology includes a level-shifting device that makes the technology ideal for gate drivers of IGBTs and discrete power MOSFETs used for example in electrical motors. The quick adoption of electrical motors in white good appliances is providing another fast path for this technology.

Plasma-Therm achieves multiple #1 rankings in VLSIresearch Survey

USA: Plasma-Therm, a global supplier of plasma processing equipment, is proud to announce its first #1 ranking in the 10 BEST of VLSIresearch’s 2013 Customer Satisfaction Survey.

This distinction is given to the top-voted focused supplier of chip making equipment. With over 98 percent of the chip market represented, Plasma-Therm is proud of the support showed by its customers and plans to continue to give the same #1 customer service and satisfaction in the coming year and beyond.

Plasma-Therm showed the most improvement among Focused Suppliers with an 8 percent increase to secure its #1 ranking.

“I am not only proud of the hard work our employees have done but also their true dedication to providing our customers with the best customer service and support possible,” commented Abdul Lateef, CEO of Plasma-Therm. “While we ranked #1, Plasma-Therm will remain committed to continually improving our service and support for our customers.”

Along with being ranked #1 in Focused Suppliers of Chip Making Equipment, Plasma-Therm ranked #1 in Silicon Wafer Fab Equipment and in Etch & Clean Equipment. In addition to the #1 rankings, Plasma-Therm received THE BEST award for Suppliers of Silicon Wafer Fab Equipment and the 10 BEST for focused Suppliers of Chip Making Equipment.

RDA Microelectronics boosts mobile phone performance with Arteris FlexNoC interconnect IP

USA: Arteris Inc., the inventor and leading supplier of Network-on-Chip (NoC) interconnect IP solutions, announced that RDA Microelectronics Inc. has selected Arteris FlexNoC interconnect IP as the backbone SoC interconnect for its new wireless Systems-on-Chip (SoC) platforms.

As one of China's leading fabless semiconductor companies, RDA is committed to providing its mobile phone customers with the highest performing, most design-efficient wireless SoCs. The company recently evaluated the FlexNoC IP and found it eliminated routing congestion and eased timing closure. In addition, the FlexNoC's graphical user interface, automated design and verification flow enabled fast design turnaround and dramatically shortened time-to-market.

"The Arteris FlexNoC commercial SoC interconnect fabric IP meet the performance metrics established by our mobile phone customers," said Vincent Tai, chairman and CEO of RDA Microelectronics. "These results gave us the confidence to implement the solution in our critical Smartphone SoC platform.  We have very high expectations and feel confident that Arteris will meet our needs."

"RDA's selection of the FlexNoC as their SoC interconnect is a significant achievement, and positions Arteris as the leading supplier of interconnect IP fabric within the fast-growing China market," said K. Charles Janac, president and CEO of Arteris. "Arteris NoC technology meets our customer's key criteria – performance, design verification and time to market – which translate to significant technological and economic benefits."

K-Touch selects Broadcom Android smartphone platform

USA: Broadcom Corp. announced that Chinese cellphone manufacturer K-Touch has chosen Broadcom's latest 3G HSPA+ platform – the BCM21663 – for its new W68 Android-based smartphone.

Powered by a dual core Cortex A9 processor, Broadcom's platform enables K-Touch to provide customers with an entry-level smartphone that can perform at faster speeds and operate on China Unicom's growing 3G network.

As more users adopt smartphones, particularly in emerging markets, the demand for low-cost devices that deliver robust functionality is on the rise. According to ABI Research, smartphones with a price point of $250 or less (before carrier subsidies) will make up 46 percent of all global smartphone shipments by 2018, up from 28 percent in 2012.

Leading mobile brands such as K-Touch have chosen Broadcom's 3G platforms to deliver affordable smartphones that feature powerful graphics and application processing, advanced HSPA+ and dual-SIM dual standby capabilities, and wireless connectivity technologies including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and GPS.

Renesas Electronics announces changes in executive personnel and organizational structure

JAPAN: Renesas Electronics Corp. announced that the company made decisions at a meeting of the Board of Directors held today on changes in its Members of the Board, Corporate Auditors, Corporate Officers, and the organizational structure as of June 26, 2013.

The executive personnel changes follow the changes in Representative Directors which were announced on May 9, 2013, in “Renesas Electronics Announces Changes in Representative Directors and the Titles”.

The appointment of new Outside Directors and a new Outside Corporate Auditor will come into effect after the Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders in June 26, 2013, if the capital injection through third-party allotment to The Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ) and eight companies has been completed at least one day before the shareholders meeting.

If the capital injection is completed on or after the shareholders meeting, the changes will become effective the day after the capital injection is made.

SiC technologies and market opportunities

FRANCE: In its latest technology & market analysis, titled “SiC Market”, Yole Développement has identified two scenarios for SiC industry evolution:

“The optimistic scenario will see SiC devices used commercially in EV/HEV from 2015 onwards, taking 11 percent of the market from silicon IGBT devices by 2020”, explains Dr. Philippe Roussel, Business Unit Manager, Power Electronics & Compound Semi at Yole Développement. “In the pessimistic scenario, EV/HEV implementation won’t start until 2017/2018, making PV inverters the number one SiC application by 2020.”

Today, there is considerable room for increasing SiC device usage in PV inverter applications.

According to Yole Développement, “Each inverter manufacturer’s product line-up includes only one or two SiC models among dozens, but it’s a very positive starting point.” Indeed, SiC power device industry revenue reached $76M in 2012, including R&D but excluding military use. PV inverter producers are the second industry to broadly adopt SiC devices -- the first being manufacturers using SiC for power factor correction in high-end server power supplies.

Yole Développement will present its latest SiC industry analysis at the 2013 International SiC Power Electronics Applications Workshop (ISiCPEAW).

Yole Développement, along with the SiC Power Center and the Enterprise Europe Network, have combined their industry knowledge to create this unique European event, taking place June 9-11 in Stockholm, Sweden. During this one-of-a-kind workshop, industrials and R&D institutes will exchange information about silicon carbide technology, establish new contacts and explore business opportunities.

The ISiCPEAW workshop’s key features include:
* Information exchange regarding the SiC industry, its technology and market trends.
* A clear view of key players and their technologies.
* Identification of the various SiC applications.
* A keen understanding of the SiC value chain and today’s technical challenges.

Macronix and Avnet Memec announce distribution partnership

TAIWAN:  Avnet Memec, an Avnet, Inc. company, a leading global technology distributor, has been selected as a pan-European distributor for Macronix International Co. Ltd, a leading provider of non-volatile memory semiconductor solutions.

The new agreement enables Avnet Memec to bring leading NOR, NAND and ROM technology to its customers across Europe at the earliest stage of their design.

"Adding Macronix' Flash memory products to our portfolio adds depth to our line-card and service offering," said Bill Walker, VP of Technical Marketing for Avnet Memec. "Leveraging the Macronix cutting edge manufacturing processes will allow us to offer customers competitive low power, high speed read/write devices across all popular densities to ensure that their design and build cost remains optimized."

Chris Bowen, GM of Macronix Europe N.V., said: "Throughout Europe, there is a vast range of applications with an increasing number of features requiring advanced Flash memory. The superior technical design support offered by Avnet Memec, backed by Avnet Europe's logistics and warehousing, means we will be able to reach those customers early in their design cycle."

Macronix Flash memory devices are available now from Avnet Memec

Monday, May 27, 2013

IGBT application growth will lead the market to $6 billion+ by 2018

FRANCE: Yole Développement announced its IGBT Markets and Application Trend report.

Yole Développement’s report provides a complete analysis of every IGBT application, market metrics and forecasts, players, packaging evolution. It also focuses on six key applications: PV, wind, rail, UPS, EV/HEV and motor drives.

EV/HEV, renewable energies, motor drives, UPS and transportation will drive IGBT growth to $6 billion by 2018
After a few hiccups in 2011 and 2012, Yole Développement expects a return to steady growth for the IGBT market; specifically, from $3.6B today to $6B by 2018.

Six key applications, which are extensively analyzed in this report, will fuel this growth: Motor drives is the largest one for IGBTs; in this report, Yole Développement’s analysts provide its splits for industrial, commercial and residential segments. Renewable energies (PV and wind) are also trending well.

Since they rely on government investments, they can be unpredictable, but Japan and several developing countries will make up for Europe’s slow-down. Mass transportation and UPS are based on infrastructure needs; thus, the need for greater efficiency is pushing these markets. As for hybrid and electric cars, question marks remain. Market growth will occur, but nobody can predict to what extent.
Our forecast is based on the latest Q1/2013 results and our own understanding of technology adoption.

IGBT in everyday life: consumer and home appliances are now part of the equation
In addition to the six key applications, every secondary application is analyzed in this report as well, and there are important trends not to be missed: the so-called “inverterization” trend is one of them.

Home appliances increasingly require inverter-based motor drives, which provide better performance, comfort and efficiency: all “musts” for high-end products.

Consumers are also using more advanced home solutions, like induction-based plates for rice cookers. These new applications will contribute to IGBT’s growth in consumer applications.

25 percent drop in 2012: more a matter of circumstances than an actual crisis
In 2012 there was a crisis in the power devices markets, IGBTs in particular. This is explained by multiple factors:

* The slow-down of PV installations due to the reduction of feed-in-tariffs in Europe.
* The slow-down of wind turbine installations in China.
* The train accident in China that halted the high-speed train production line.
* The fact that global economic recovery has been much slower than expected (thus affecting the consumer markets).

Also, Yole Développement believes that the 2011 earthquake in Japan caused system makers to secure their orders.

All these factors combine to explain 2011’s overproduction, which was paid for in 2012 and early 2013.

IGBT faces competition from thyristors, SiC , GaN and MOSFET
The IGBT market also faces competition from external, market-impacting trends. By following the component trends surrounding IGBT, we’ve observed many evolutions, all of which are explained in this report. In fact, IGBT drivers’ area has never been so active: there are a bunch of start-up companies proposing solutions offering more design flexibility and/or higher performance. Other companies are structuring offers at power stack level, and we’ve seen a lot of work put into power module packaging solutions.

“IGBT is no longer the only high-end device solution. SiC devices are ready, and GaN devices are at sample stage. Adoption roadmaps are clearer now. We’ve seen the first full SiC PV inverters based on MOSFETs or JFETs; we see it more as a displacement. IGBT is slowly moving to medium and-low end solutions, allowing SiC to handle higher voltages, and GaN to capitalize on lower voltages,” explains Alexandre Avron, Technology & Market Analyst, Power Electronics at Yole Développement.

The need for efficient energy solutions is stronger than ever, and IGBT devices are still undergoing developments and improvements: thinner wafers, more efficient production, integration of functionalities, etc. This is why Yole Développement believes that IGBT is not on its deathbed, nor even declining. No, there are plenty of opportunities still to be had.

Strong supply chain evolution with Asia entering the game
The IGBT supply chain is not steady either, and we’ve observed a growing number of Asian companies involved or willing to be involved in this market. Chinese and Korean companies are part of this trend, and we’ve listed them in this report.

Among the biggest are CSR (who acquired Dynex), and of course BYD; both are moving towards a vertically integrated business model. Also, foundries and fabless companies are targeting opportunities in the low-voltage, low-end market. As a first step, Asian players will probably remain with standard technologies and focus on production for local use.

On the other hand, European and US-based players are pushing for innovation. Some, such as ON Semiconductor (with its division, Sanyo) and Alpha and Omega Semiconductor, are entering or re-entering the IGBT market.

TowerJazz participates at DAC with major EDA vendors

DAC 2013, ISRAEL: TowerJazz, the global specialty foundry leader, announced its participation at the 2013 Design Automation Conference (DAC) being held on June 2-6 in Austin, TX (booth #1736).

TowerJazz will host a series of seminars in conjunction with its EDA vendor partners to showcase how these collaborations allow customers clean design flow and higher yield by using mutual tools. For more information on dates and times of exhibitor seminars, please see invitation online

In addition, TowerJazz is participating at its EDA partners’ user conferences to provide mutual customers with the latest EDA tools and design capabilities to use with TowerJazz’s advanced specialty manufacturing processes. TowerJazz participated at the Cadence User Conference (CDNLive) in the US (Silicon Valley) on March 12-13, 2013, at the Munich, Germany event on May 6-8, 2013, and will join the event in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 14, 2013.

TowerJazz participated at the Synopsys User Group (SNUG) conference in the US (Santa Clara, CA) on March 25-27, 2013 and will participate at other SNUG events on July 12, 2013 in Japan and August 22, 2013 in China.

At the CDNLive conferences, TowerJazz is presenting the enablement of Cadence Open Access (OA) support for all of its technology platforms and the full reference design flow for mixed mode simulation on TowerJazz power management platform. At SNUG, TowerJazz is announcing the official release of the TowerJazz iPDK on its standard logic (TS18SL) and power management platform (TS18PM & TS35PM) that supports Synopsys’ Custom Designer and Laker (SpringSoft).