Author Archives: david manners

Si Labs launches Thread

Silicon Labs Thread

Silicon Labs Thread

Today, Silicon Labs introduces its Thread networking technology for connecting devices such as thermostats, wireless sensor networks, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, connected lighting devices, control panels, wireless access points and gateways.

Thread provides a standards-based, low-power mesh networking solution based on Internet Protocol (IP), enabling reliable, secure and scalable Internet connectivity for battery-powered devices in the connected home.

Silicon Labs is working with manufacturers of Thread-enabled connected home products, and the company’s Thread stack is powering customers’ mesh networks.

Silicon Labs offers a common development platform for both ZigBee and Thread solutions. The combination of Silicon Labs’ Thread stack, EM35xx wireless SoC platform, and hardware and software tools provides developers with a migration path from ZigBee to Thread via over-the-air (OTA) upgrades. Silicon Labs’ hardware and software roadmap will enable multi-protocol, multi-band 2.4 GHz and sub-GHz wireless connectivity.

Thread aims to deliver a simple, secure and scalable way to wirelessly interconnect hundreds of connected home devices and to seamlessly bridge those devices to the Internet.

Thread software provides a self-healing, IPv6-based mesh network capable of scaling to 250+ nodes with no single point of failure. The protocol provides support for “sleepy” end nodes to enable years of low-energy operation using a single battery as well as simplified commissioning.

Users can add nodes to a network using a smartphone or browser. Silicon Labs’ Thread stack uses banking-class, end-to-end security to join nodes to the network and AES-128 cryptography to secure all networking transactions.

Silicon Labs’ Thread software stack and sample application are available at no charge to customers with registered EM35x-DEV development kits.

“We have a deep understanding of not only mesh networking technology, but also the certification process,” said Skip Ashton, vp of software engineering at Silicon Labs and vp of technology for the Thread Group. “In cooperation with our customers and ecosystem partners, we have successfully certified thousands of mesh networking products and software implementations using our industry-leading EM35xx wireless SoCs.”

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SEMI expects three growth years for manufacturing equipment

semi-chip-equipment-spendingThree good years for semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales are projected by SEMI.

SEMI forecasts that the semiconductor equipment market will grow 7% in 2015 to reach $40.2 billion and expand another 4% in 2016 to reach $41.8 billion. Last year it grew 18%.

Regionally, the spend will be:

2015 $bn. % change on 2014. 2016 $bn

China. 4.66. 6.6%. 5.54

Europe. 2.71. 13.9%. 3.41

Japan. 4.73. 13.2%. 4.60

Korea. 8.55. 25.0%. 9.23

America. 6.45. -21.0%. 6.70

ROW. 2.16. 0.5%. 2.31

Taiwan. 10.89. 15.7%. 10.00

Key drivers are investments by memory and foundry fabs.

Front-end wafer processing equipment is forecast to grow 10 percent in 2015 to $32.1 billion, up from $29.3 billion in 2014.

Test equipment, assembly and packaging equipment are forecast to contract this year, falling to $3.5 billion (-3%) and $2.8 billion (-9%), respectively.

“Memory and foundry device manufacturers are continuing to invest in leading-edge process technologies to enable mobility and interconnectivity,” said Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI. “We expect capital spending to post growth throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.”

Taiwan is forecast to continue as the world’s largest spender with $10.9 billion estimated for 2015 and $10.0 billion for 2016. In 2015, South Korea is second at $8.6 billion, followed by North America at $6.5 billion. For 2016, these three regions are expected to maintain their relative rankings.

In 2015, year-over-year increases are expected to be largest for South Korea (25%), Taiwan (16%), Europe (14%), and Japan (13%).

Projected year-over-year percentage increases for 2016 are largest for Europe (26% increase), China (19%), South Korea (8%), and Rest of World (7%).

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Murata adds to OKR DC-DC converter series

Murata adds to OKR DC-DC converter series

Murata adds to OKR DC-DC converter series

Murata has made three additions to its Okami OKR series of single output, non-isolated point of load (PoL) DC-DC converters.

The new models add 20, 30, and 50A devices to the existing 1.5, 3, 6, and 10A range. The 20A model, OKR-T/20-W12-C, measures 15.5 x 36.8 x 11.2 mm and accommodates a 6 – 13.8VDC input and a programmable output in the range 0.591 to 5VDC and efficiency up to 94%.

The 30A, OKR-T/30-W12-C model offers a 5.5 to 13.8VDC input and a 0.591 to 6VDC output with efficiency up to 95%.

The 50A OKR-T/50-W12-C converter has an input voltage range of 6.5V-13.8V, an output in the range 0.591 to 2.5 VDC and measures 27.9 x 36.8 x 15.5 mm.

Constructed in a single in-line package (SIP) format, these devices use the latest synchronous buck technology to deliver efficiencies up to 95%.

The OKR series include a number of safety protection features such as over temperature, over current and under voltage lock out (UVLO). The series also have On/Off and remote sense capabilities.

Typical applications for the OKR series include powering CPUs, ASICs, FPGAs, DDR3 and DDR4, as well as use in other distributed bus architectures.“An Introduction to Mobile Graphics” includes teaching materials and hands-on exercises with popular PowerVR GPUs

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Tsingha Unigroup bids $23bn for Micron

Micron HQHot on the heels of the acquisition of ISSI by a Chinese private equity company, another China-based fund has bid for Micron valuing it at $23 billion. The offer of $21 a share is 19% over its pre-bid closing price.

China has been reported to have ambitions to build a DRAM industry and buying Micron, the third largest DRAM company, would be a very big step to achieving that. Especially with ISSI already under its belt.

Despite the consolidation of the DRAM industry to only three major players – Samsung, Hynix and Micron – Micron has been stumbling recently. Its shares have halved in the last year. Profits slumped 39% in the its most recent quarter.

Micron was founded in 1978 by Ward Parkinson and a team of DRAM designers who worked for Mostek and were poached by Inmos then lured back to Mostek by the promise of being set up as an independent design house.

A university friend of Parkinson’s, who was the son of Idaho potato billionaire J.R.Simplot, persuaded his father to invest in the company. Simplot did so on condition they set up in Boise.

China will probably up its bid, it seems to have unlimited cash for strategic acquisitions. Intel won’t like having its memory partner bought by China but no longer has the cash to take on China.

The question is: Will the US government step in? Well, they didn’t with ISSI.

Read all Micron Technology news on Electronics Weekly »


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Merkel visits Infineon Dresden fab

BK-Dr-Merkel-Labor-DresdenAngela Merkel visited Infineon’s Dresden fab today and discussed the political framework for a competitive development and production in Germany with CEO Reinhard Ploss.

Infineon runs its largest and most modern manufacturing and technology development centre in Dresden with roughly 2,000 employees.

The Chancellor was given a view into Industrial 4.0 production via a live broadcast into the factory.

This allowed her to exchange ideas directly with the company’s employees.

The visit was rounded off by a demonstration in the Analysis and Characterization Laboratory, in which the chip structures can be examined via transmission electron microscope down to the atomic layer level.

In the past five years, Infineon has invested around €600 million in the Dresden fab.

Some of that was invested in achieving the most highly automated 200mm production anywhere in the world.

Infineon is currently building the world’s first high-volume production of power semiconductors on 300mm thin wafers in Dresden.

The semiconductor manufacturer is also planning on investing several hundred million euros in the coming years.

Image: Infineon – “CEO Reinhard Ploss explains German Chancellor Angela Merkel the structure of a power chip on a 300mm thinwafer F.l.t.r: Dr. Reinhard Ploss (CEO Infineon Technologies AG), Stanislaw Tillich (Prime Minister of Saxony), Dr. Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany), Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka (Federal Minister of Education and Research), Infineon employee.”

See alsoInfineon, NXP develop NewP@ss next-gen ID chip

See alsoInfineon sampling single-chip IGBT and diode

Read all Infineon Technologies news on Electronics Weekly »


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Weightless-N Smart City networks deployed in Denmark

Internet of Things - IoT

Internet of Things – IoT

Weightless-N Smart City networks from Nwave Technologies have been deployed in Copenhagen and Esbjerg, Denmark.

Operating in sub-1GHz, licence-exempt ISM spectrum using ultra narrow band (UNB) technology, Weightless-N offers a range of several kilometres, even in c urban environments. Very low power consumption provides for exceptionally long battery life measured in years from small conventional cells. It is the first public network deployments from Nwave since the publication of the Weightless-N open standard.

Weightless-N is designed around a differential binary phase shift keying (DBPSK) digital modulation scheme to transmit within narrow frequency bands using a frequency hopping algorithm for interference mitigation and enhanced security. It provides for encryption and implicit authentication using a shared secret key regime to encode transmitted information via a 128 bit AES algorithm.

The technology supports mobility with the network automatically routing terminal messages to the correct destination. Multiple networks, typically operated by different companies, are enabled and can be co-located. Each base station queries a central database to determine which network the terminal is registered to in order to decode and route data accordingly.

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Mouser signs Adafruit

Adafruit Gemma

Adafruit Gemma

Mouser has signed a global distribution agreement with Adafruit, the supplier of DIY electronics, kits, and open-source hardware that turn everyday objects into high-tech prototypes suitable for education and advanced production concepts.

Mouser says it will offer same-day shipping on the Adafruit product line, including the Flora and Gemma wearable electronic platforms.

These small but powerful boards incorporate programming based on the Arduino integrated development environment (IDE) through USB interface to give designers and entry-level makers alike the ability to easily create prototypes of wearable devices.

The Flora board includes 14 sewing tap pads for attachment and electrical connections on a 1.75-inch diameter body, and the even smaller Gemma board puts its six sewing tap pads on a 1.1-inch diameter body.

Mouser will also stock the Adafruit Huzzah ESP8266 breakout board, a tiny Wi-Fi microcontroller based on the ESP8266 80MHz microcontroller. This breadboard-friendly module helps with adding Wi-Fi to projects with on-board WiFi antenna, I/O pins, and level shifting.

“With the growing popularity of the maker and DIY movement, Adafruit will be a welcome addition to our lineup for open-source products,” says Mouser’s Russell Rasor, “customers now have access to an expanded offering of innovative products designed by experts with a passion for electronics education and inspiring the next generation of engineers.”


david manners

Intersil rad-hard multiplexers offer ESD protection

Intersil has introduced rad hard multiplexers that offer ESD protection, signal chain accuracy and timing performance.

ESD protection ISL71840SEHEV1Z, and ISL71841SEHEV1Z

ESD protection ISL71840SEHEV1Z, and ISL71841SEHEV1Z

The ISL71840SEH 30V 16-channel multiplexer is a drop-in replacement for Intersil’s widely adopted HS9-1840ARH, which has been aboard nearly every satellite and space exploration mission, including NASA’s recent Orion spacecraft flight test.

For applications with form factor constraints, the ISL71841SEH 30V 32-channel multiplexer offers high performance and 41% reduced board space compared with an ISL71840SEH two-chip solution.

The ISL71840SEH and ISL71841SEH use Intersil’s proprietary SOI process which provides single event latch-up (SEL) robustness in heavy ion environments. The enhanced 8kV ESD protection feature of these devices eliminates the need for external protection diodes on the input pins.

Their reduced RON of 500Ω at ±5V and propagation delays of less than 800ns increase the overall performance and accuracy of telemetry signals processed and multiplexed into an ADC input.

The ISL71840SEH and ISL71841SEH offer over-voltage protection on a per-switch basis to maintain the continuous processing of telemetry test points. If any input channel experiences an over-voltage condition, the remaining channels continue sending data to the ADC.

Both multiplexers provide a “cold spare” redundant capability, allowing the connection of two or three additional unpowered multiplexers to a common data bus. This is an especially important feature for mission-critical space flights lasting up to 20 years.

If required for any reason, a redundant multiplexer is immediately activated. Both multiplexers provide a wide supply range with split-rail operation from ±10.8V to 16.5V and an absolute maximum of ±20V, providing designers with plenty of de-rating headroom.

Key features and specifications:

  • Delivers 8kV human body model (HBM) ESD protection
  • Provides true rail-to-rail operation and features over-voltage protection with shutoff
  • Cold sparing from ground +/-25V and analog over-voltage range from ground ±35V
  • Off switch leakage of 100nA and low RON of less than 500 Ohms reduces power consumption, and improves signal integrity and total harmonic distortion
  • Triple redundant decoders with a fast response time of <5us drastically improves single event transient (SET) performance
  • Improved off-isolation and crosstalk rejection ensures the output leaks to ground whenever the multiplexer is disabled
  • Adjustable logic threshold control with VREF pin
  • High dose rate (50-300rad(Si)/s) radiation tolerance of 100krad(Si)
  • Low dose rate (0.01rad(Si)/s) radiation tolerance of 50krad(Si)
  • SEL/B immune up to 86MeV.cm²/mg

The ISL71840SEH and ISL71841SEH multiplexers can be combined with the ISL71590SEH rad hard temperature sensor, ISL71090SEH25 voltage reference, and operational amplifiers such as the ISL70444SEH, ISL70244SEH, ISL70417SEH, ISL70218SEH, ISL70227SEH, ISL70419SEH to support a complete analog signal chain with superior radiation tolerant performance.

The ISL71840SEH 16-channel multiplexer is available in an 18.8x14mm, 28-lead ceramic flatpack package, and the ISL71841SEH 32-channel multiplexer comes in a 14x14mm, 48-lead ceramic quad flatpack. Both multiplexers are also available in die form. Two evaluation boards are available to evaluate device features and performance: 16-channel ISL71840SEHEVAL1Z and 32-channel ISL71841SEHEVAL1Z.

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GloFo launches 22FDX 22nm FD-SOI

Global Foundries 22FDX diagram

Global Foundries 22FDX diagram

Globalfoundries has launched a 22nm FD-SOI process called 22FDX which claims to deliver ‘finfet-like performance and energy-efficiency at a cost comparable to 28nm planar technologies’.

Target markets are IoT, mainstream mobile, RF connectivity and networking.

While some applications require the ultimate performance of finfet transistors, most wireless devices need a better balance of performance, power consumption and cost and 22FDX provides, says GloFo, the best path for cost-sensitive applications by leveraging the industry’s first 22nm two-dimensional, FD-SOI technology.

It offers the industry’s lowest operating voltage at 0.4V, enabling ultra-low dynamic power consumption, less thermal impact, and smaller end-product form-factors. The 22FDX platform delivers a 20% smaller die size and 10% fewer masks than 28nm, as well as nearly 50% fewer immersion lithography layers than foundry finfet.

“The 22FDX platform enables our customers to deliver differentiated products with the best balance of power, performance and cost,” says GloFo CEO Sanjay Jha, “in an industry first, 22FDX provides real-time system software control of transistor characteristics: the system designer can dynamically balance power, performance, and leakage. Additionally, for RF and analogue integration, the platform delivers best scaling combined with highest energy efficiency.”

22FDX leverages the high-volume 28nm platform in GloFo’s 300mm production line in Dresden with an investment of $250 million for technology development and initial 22FDX capacity.

This brings the company’s total investment in Fab 1 to more than $5 billion since 2009. The company plans to make further investments to support additional customer demand. GloFo is partnering with R&D and industry leaders to grow a robust ecosystem and to enable faster time-to-market as well as a comprehensive roadmap for its 22FDX offering.

GloFo’s 22FDX platform enables software-control of transistor characteristics to achieve real time tradeoff between static power, dynamic power and performance. This platform consists of a family of differentiated products architected to support the needs of various applications:

• 22FD-ulp: For the mainstream and low-cost smartphone market, the base ultra-low power offering provides an alternative to FinFET. Through the use of body-biasing, 22FD-ulp delivers greater than 70 percent power reduction compared to 0.9 volt 28nm HKMG, as well as performance equivalent to FinFET. For certain IoT and consumer applications, the platform can operate at 0.4 volt, delivering up to 90% power reduction compared to 28nm HKMG.

• 22FD-uhp: For networking applications with analog integration, this offering is optimized to achieve the same ultra-high performance capabilities of FinFET while minimizing energy consumption. 22FD-uhp customizations include forward body-bias, application optimized metal stacks, and support for 0.95V overdrive.

• 22FD-ull: The ultra-low leakage offering for wearables and IoT delivers the same capabilities of 22FD-ulp, while reducing leakage to as low as 1pa/um. This combination of low active power, ultra-low leakage, and flexible body-biasing can enable a new class of battery-operated wearable devices with an order of magnitude power reduction.

• 22FD-rfa: The radio frequency analog offering delivers 50 percent lower power at reduced system cost to meet the stringent requirements of high-volume RF applications such as LTE-A cellular transceivers, high order MIMO WiFi combo chips, and millimeter wave radar. The RF active device back-gate feature can reduce or eliminate complex compensation circuits in the primary RF signal path, allowing RF designers to extract more of the intrinsic device Ft performance.

GloFo has been working with key customers and ecosystem partners to enable optimised design methodology and a full suite of foundational and complex IP. Design starter kits and early versions of process design kits (PDKs) are available now with risk production starting in the second half of 2016.

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Kemet has X7R high-temp capacitors

Kemet X7R dielectric capacitor

Kemet X7R dielectric capacitor

Kemet has announced its industrial grade high temperature X7R dielectric capacitors which it says can utilise the full rated voltage at 175°Celsius.

The devices are offered with a flexible termination option and are RoHS compliant without exemption.

These high temperature capacitors are for a variety of applications in extreme environments such as down-hole oil exploration, aerospace engine compartments, geophysical probes, industrial process control, heavy commercial and speciality vehicles and construction equipment.

“This product features our base metal electrode system and is available with a flexible termination system designed for 175°Celsius applications,” says Kemet vice-president Abhijit Gurav.

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