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Short introduction on Sofics - Solutions for ICs


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Sofics® is the world leader in on-chip electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrical overstress (EOS) solutions for ICs. Our technology is proven in all of the world’s major foundries and process nodes, and has been successfully implemented in more than 2000 chip designs from IC companies of all sizes.

Our TakeCharge® portfolio of on-chip solutions offers unique advantages in any IC design requiring custom or specialty I/Os, from 0.18um down to 28nm. TakeCharge technology enables twice the I/O performance in applications that run at high frequencies or high speeds. In low-power applications it delivers ESD protection with leakage that is orders of magnitude lower than generic solutions. When applications call for more robust ESD/EOS protection, TakeCharge outperforms all other approaches while occupying far less silicon area.

Sofics also offers PowerQubic® technology, a breakthrough in delivering robust on-chip EOS solutions in high-voltage applications. PowerQubic handles all system-level ESD/EOS requirements.

We also partner with other IC experts to develop integrated design solutions for specialized applications CustomIO. Sofics recently collaborated with ICsense to build a stable, fully ESD-protected I/O in both 40nm and 28nm that interfaces 1.8V gates with legacy 3.3V off-chip devices.

Sofics solutions are highly cost-effective. An IP license from Sofics is more economical than adding staff to an ESD department or hiring a consultant. It is also more cost-efficient than buying shuttle space to develop alternative solutions. Since our solutions are foundry and field-proven, licensees get IP that works the first time. This eliminates the need for expensive re-spins and gets the product to market faster.

With our large and growing portfolio of patented IP, in most cases the precise ESD/EOS solution you need will be available off the shelf. Our TakeCharge customers include many of the world’s leading IC makers, and our PowerQubic portfolio has been licensed by a top tier foundry to offer to their customers.

We are happy to discuss how we can serve your ESD/EOS needs.

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Short introduction on Sofics - Solutions for ICs

  2. 2. Sofics? SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 2 • Semiconductor IP provider – Sofics = “Solutions for ICs” – IP portfolio  Since 2000: On-chip ESD protection for CMOS, SOI applications up to 5V  Since 2010: On-chip ESD protection for applications 5V to 100V – New (non-ESD) portfolio’s under development • Consulting – On-chip ESD protection support – Partnerships with IC design houses ( • Test lab – ESD relevant analysis – Transmission Line Pulsers, HBM, MM, Latch-up, IEC 61000-4-2
  3. 3. Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is responsible for >20% of IC failures SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 3 • Importance of ESD for IC industry – Occurance of ESD events  Wafer fabrication, testing, dicing  Packaging, assembly, testing  IC transportation  Board level assembly, testing  System level assembly, testing  Functional use of systems – Silicon melting, junction or gate breakdown – Industry quotes about ESD failures:  “Responsible for 20-30% of IC failures”  “25.8% of the products rejected”  “Estimated 8 to 33% of all product losses” Grounded surface
  4. 4. Sofics on-chip ESD clamps protect a broad range of applications and technologies 1 IC release per day includes Sofics on-chip ESD protection 50+ different processes including CMOS down to 28nm, BCD, SOI... 30+ TSMC customers include Sofics ESD IP for beyond standard IOs 60+ customers protect chip interfaces with Sofics ESD 4SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 75+ patents in Sofics’ clean ESD IP portfolio
  5. 5. SOFICS supports 60+ IC companies worldwide SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 5
  6. 6. 3 main reasons why IC designers rely on Sofics solutions Reduce IC cost lower development, design, silicon and manufacturing costs Pass any ESD/EOS/LU specification flexible technology adapts to your requirements Enhance IC performance lowest leakage, capacitance ... 6SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential
  7. 7. Reduce development cost: ESD clamps available SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 7 250+ ESD clamps verified datasheets available on 0.35um down to 28nm every CMOS node and more: BCD, SOI... from 0.85V to 100V interface and core protection Adaptable cells protect against various requirements Portable between foundries, nodes
  8. 8. ZMDI Licenses Sofics® PowerQubic® ESD Clamps Automotive EMC Requirements on 0.18um 24V Chips ZMDI decided to work closely with Sofics on PowerQubic ESD/EOS protection for their latest devices fabricated in a TSMC 0.18um gen II BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) process with 24V interfaces. “Automotive electronics are exposed to high levels of electrical stress, so ZMDI needs the best available ESD/EOS protection for our products,” said Frank Shulze, Business Line Manager, Sensing and Automotive. “We ran evaluations of several ESD solutions for chips fabricated in a 0.25um BCD process. PowerQubic clamps were superior in the EMC test, as well as in parameters such as meeting flexible clamping voltage specifications. “So we selected Sofics to provide ESD/EOS protection for a new line of 0.18um devices that will meet our specifications, at a lower cost than building the clamps from scratch.” January 2013 – Cost, time reduction SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 8
  9. 9. Selects Sofics to Develop On-Chip ESD Protection for 60V Products Sofics has been selected by Analog Devices (ADI) to develop a library of on- chip electrostatic discharge and electrical overstress (ESD/EOS) clamps based on its PowerQubic technology for ADI devices with 60V interfaces. The clamps will enhance the reliability of the devices by protecting them from ESD, EOS, and latchup, while enabling maximum performance. PowerQubic provides robust on-chip protection for high-voltage interfaces in such applications as power control and mixed signals without the need for costly process changes. David Robertson, vice president of analog technology for ADI. “We need strong, sophisticated ESD protection for 60V devices without compromising the mixed signal performance of the products and we look forward to working with Sofics to that end. December 2012 – Pass specifications SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 9
  10. 10. NVIDIA Licenses Integrated, Overvoltage-Tolerant I/O and ESD Technology from Sofics® and ICsense GISTEL & LEUVEN, BELGIUM (April 24, 2012) – Sofics® bvba ( of Gistel, a leading provider of ESD solutions for ICs, and ICsense ( of Leuven, a prominent designer of analog, mixed-signal, and high- voltage ICs and turnkey ASICs, today announced that NVIDIA has licensed their integrated ESD and I/O technology to provide a stable 3.3V I/O with robust ESD protection on its Icera® modem processors that use 1.8V transistors . The license includes customized ESD solutions from Sofics and ICsense’s overvoltage-tolerant I/Os. These solutions are based on a novel circuit technique proven in TSMC 0.18um, 40nm, and 28nm processes that allows I/Os to handle more than 2X the voltage of the transistors on the chip. April 2012 – Enhance IC performance SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 10
  11. 11. TakeCharge: Silicon proven in advanced CMOS SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 11 65nm CMOS 10+ customers 70+ products in mass-production 40nm CMOS 10+ customers 30+ products in mass-production 28nm CMOS 5 customers Several products ramping
  12. 12. Specialty ESD clamps available • Broad solution coverage on TSMC technology – Portable to other nodes/domains Node Voltage domains 350nm HV 3.3V, 15V 250nm BCD, gen. I and II 12V, 24V, 40V, 60V >>> PowerQubic license TSMC-Sofics 180nm BCD, gen. I and II 18V, 24V, 32V, 40V, 60V 180nm CMOS 1.8V, 3.3V, 5V 130nm CMOS 1.0V, 1.2V, 3.3V, 5V, 7V 90nm CMOS 1.2V, 1.8V, 3.3V 65nm CMOS 1.0V, 1.2V, 1.8V, 2.5V, 3.3V, 5V 40nm CMOS 0.9V, 1.2V, 1.8V, 3.3V, 5V 28nm CMOS 0.85V, 0.9V, 1.8V, 3.3V, 5V, 5.5V, 12V 20nm SoC No requests 16nm FinFET Negotiations ongoing with 2 customers 12SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential
  13. 13. TSMC 28nm: 28Gbit/s pin protection SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 13 • Normal operation specifications – Low cap  DTSCR + reverse diode + metal: 80fF – Low Return loss  Inductor in series with SCR lowers S11 peaks at ~10GHz and 20GHz S11 - Return Loss Spec Without Inductor With Inductor S11 Freq (Hz) 50 GHz
  14. 14. PowerQubic ESD solutions for High Voltage interfaces SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 14 • >20 product implementations – Several customers – >20 projects – Different product types supported  Automotive LIN Transceivers  Automotive sensors (Temp, humidity, Air flow)  Automotive LED drivers  Industrial CAN interface  Industrial DAC  Industrial High Voltage RS485  Li-ion battery control  Switching/power regulator  Hearing implant interface protection
  15. 15. Sofics solution: PowerQubic clamp – example SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 15 • Automotive LIN interface protection clamp – High ESD performance  16A TLP current (@ 48V)  24kV HBM  6kV IEC 61000-4-2 direct injection – EOS tolerant  Load dump pulse ISO 7637-2  Tolerant above 40V – Transient Latch-up immune  High holding voltage  At high temperature  For fast events 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 0 10 20 30 40 50 I [A] V [V]
  16. 16. PowerQubic adapts to applications, processes SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 16 • Flexible solution set for different voltages, applications – Different concepts, applied in portfolio of novel device types  Hebistor, quadristor, SMOS, RCS, MCA, MCE, … – Tunable for triggering, holding and protection performance  By layout variation  By schematic adaptation – Standard process compatible: no process changes  Several concepts are even compatible with standard CMOS process flow  No additional masks, and no special implants required • Multiple projects, customers, product implementations – Silicon proven in BCD, HV CMOS and advanced CMOS – >35 voltage domains protected (5V – 60V) – >15 man years of research & development
  17. 17. Sofics SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 17
  18. 18. PowerQubic, TakeCharge, Sofics are trademarks of Sofics bvba Contact us SOFICS © 2014 Proprietary & Confidential 18 • Sofics contact Pieter Donck Bart Keppens SOFICS bvba – RPR 0472.687.037 Groendreef 31, 9880 Aalter, Belgium (tel) +32-9-21-68-333, (fax) +32-9-3-746-846