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6 July 2015

X-FAB announces 180nm SOI foundry technology for automotive applications

X-FAB Silicon Foundries AG of Erfurt, Germany - an analog/mixed-signal and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) foundry - has announced what it claims is the first cost-efficient 180nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology for automotive and industrial applications that need to operate in harsh environments.

X-FAB says that its new suite of 40V and 60V high-voltage devices for its XT018 180nm SOI platform outperforms bulk complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technologies and provides cost savings of up to 30%. The XT018 technology includes comprehensive design support, resulting in fewer design cycles and the possibility of first-time-right success, offering cost-competitive implementation of next-generation automotive solutions and leading to faster time to market, the firm reckons. The new devices make the XT018 process suitable for advanced automotive applications such as monolithic motor controllers and physical layer transceivers including integrated or stand-alone LIN/CAN (local interconnect network/controller area network) transceivers.

"Until now, SOI technologies were seen as rather exotic and very expensive solutions, but our XT018 SOI technology offsets the added cost of SOI with a smaller chip size, higher performance, and easier design," says product marketing director Volker Herbig. "Therefore it makes first-time-right success achievable."

The XT018 platform is specifically designed for next-generation automotive, industrial and medical applications with up to 200V operating voltage and an operating temperature up to 175°C. The XT018 180nm modular high-voltage SOI CMOS technology combines the benefits of SOI wafers with deep trench isolation (DTI) plus those of a state-of-the-art six-metal-layer 180nm bulk CMOS process. Using SOI wafers as the starting material, in combination with trench isolation instead of the more commonly used junction isolation techniques in CMOS, simplifies the design concept, says X-FAB. The SOI wafers eliminate the parasitic bipolar effects to substrate, reducing latch-up risk. They also enable the development of devices such as truly isolated diodes, allowing reverse supply voltage protection that is difficult to achieve with bulk CMOS or BCD technologies, adds the firm.

The centerpiece of the new offering is a low-Ron 40V NMOS transistor with on-resistance of just 26mΩ-mm2. It is complemented by robust 40V and 60V electro-static discharge (ESD) enhanced devices as well as matching PMOS and depletion transistors.

"Requirements for automotive designs are becoming ever more challenging to fulfill – for example, the latest CAN standard and the more stringent specifications for EMC (electro-magnetic compatibility) and ESD robustness," says Herbig. "XT018 technology enables designers to deal with these challenges," he adds. 

The new XT018 SOI technology allows for much more compact designs compared with the conventional junction isolation scheme, says X-FAB. For example, it allows area-efficient lateral isolation in-between circuit blocks against cross-coupling for the output driver and sense inputs. The easy integration of isolated devices enables a short design cycle, making first-time-right functionality possible even for complex systems-on-chip with automotive HV (high-voltage) device requirements, the firm adds.

The enhanced XT018 foundry platform is available now, including full PDK (process design kit) support for all major electronic design automation (EDA) vendors, extensive device characterization and modelling, as well as comprehensive analog, digital and memory intellectual property (IP). Additional new devices such as depletion transistors, Zener diodes, high-performance bipolar junction transistor (BJTs) and a 200V insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) device are also ready to be used.

Tags: SOI

Visit: www.xfab.com/technology/soi/018-um-xt018

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