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IP options grow for new processes

Posted: 01 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Jazz Semiconductor? Novocell? Acquicor Technology? IP core? RF process?

Silicon foundry specialist Jazz Semiconductor Inc. is expanding its portfolio of IP cores for its recently launched 0.13?m RF process. The company has also validated a non-volatile-memory IP core from startup Novocell Semiconductor Inc.

The cores will let customers develop a range of analog and mixed-signal chip products, said Marco Racanelli, VP of technology and engineering at Jazz.

Jazz, a 2002 spin-off from Conexant Systems Inc., was originally positioned as a pure-play SiGe foundry. Late last year, it was acquired for $260 million by Acquicor Technology Inc., an equity firm formed by industry veterans Gilbert Amelio, Ellen Hancock and Steve Wozniak.

Even before the acquisition, Jazz had broadened its position in the specialty foundry market, Racanelli said. "I would now call us an analog and RF foundry," he said. "SiGe is one of the technologies used in RF applications."

Today, Jazz offers a range of RF- and SiGe-based processes. Last December, it announced the availability of its 0.25?m bipolar CMOS DMOS (BCD25) process, targeted for the emerging power-management and high-voltage markets.

The new IP cores consist of "higher-density and lower-power libraries to the 0.13?m RF/SiGe process," Racanelli said.

In addition, Jazz has validated Novocell's NovoBlox OTP Memory core in its CA18HR 0.18?m process. The Novocell IP enables new functionality, including circuit trimming, security and memory repair at the wafer, package and circuit levels. Customers can use the core to develop analog-oriented consumer devices, such as codecs, data converters and power-management circuits, Racanelli said.

The memory core itself can be embedded into any standard logic CMOS device without special or post-processing, according to Novocell. It can be programmed at the wafer or circuit level or in the IC package.

Novocell offers NovoBlox in two architectures: ROM and serial. The ROM architecture is a natural fit for processor-based systems, Novocell said. The serial architecture features maintained outputs and a serial programming interface, making it suiatble for a fuse replacement, the company said.

"For a lot of analog circuits, OTP has become increasingly important to trim the circuit," Racanelli said. "What I mean is that you can center or tune the circuit. This can be done with fuses, but they take up a lot of space."

Novocell's IP "is small and takes up a lot less space," he said.

NovoBlox test devices were subjected to 1,000hr retention bake at 150C and 1,000hr operating life test at 150C with zero failures.

NovoBlox is scalable to 65nm and beyond. A typical NovoBlox license is priced at $60,000 plus a per-unit royalty.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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