Analog Devices’ new fab process delivers 30-V analog HVICs, high performance

Integrated circuit technology is rediscovering industrial markets.

01/13/2005



i CMOS process reduces power consumption by up to 85% and package size by 30%.

Integrated circuit technology is rediscovering industrial markets. Following extensive R&D work, Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) has recently announced a new semiconductor manufacturing process that combines high-voltage silicon (up to 30-V supply capability) with submicron CMOS and complementary bipolar technologies. ADI’s industrial CMOS (or i CMOS) process technology targets converters, amplifiers, switches, and other devices working in high-voltage factory automation and process control applications. It reportedly enables new performance levels in design and cost efficiency.

Devices made with ADI’s new semiconductor fab process can withstand as much as 30 V across a chip with submicron geometry—unlike analog devices using conventional CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) manufacturing. An optional drain extension allows operation at up to 50 V. At the same time, the process is said to deliver higher performance and cut system design cost. i CMOS analog components operate in electrically noisy environments without the cost of extra ICs needed by other CMOS processes.

A key benefit of i CMOS process is its ability to fully isolate components from the substrate or each other. The process permits growth of thicker gate oxide, enabling high-voltage switches to be built next to conventional 5-V devices, explains Denis Doyle, ADI fellow, Process Development. With full isolation, multiple voltages can be accommodated on the same chip, he says. For example, one chip can mix-and-match 5-V CMOS with higher voltage 16-, 24- or 30-V CMOS circuitry.

Similarly, Analog Devices’ i CMOS DACs can incorporate amplifiers to drive a wide range of signals, eliminating the need for discrete amplifier chips. Multiplexers manufactured on i CMOS industrial process will feature on-resistance (RON ) of only 3-4 ohms and a reduction of RON flatness to 0.5 ohm in a 16-pin TSOP (thin small-outline package). This represents nearly 85% less than industry standard RON, according to ADI, and reduces distortion introduced into the signal from the switching process.

“Prior to the i CMOS development, industrial designers considering an analog CMOS product for its cost or power efficiency benefits were forced to add significant levels of signal conditioning, signal biasing, and external op amps to get the high speed and low power consumption required to interface to high-voltage industrial systems ranging from actuators to sensors,” says Doyle. “Under those conditions, manufacturing technologies capable of handling 30 volts were in the range of 3.0 to 5.0 microns, and adding digital functionality caused them to grow to unacceptable sizes.”

Initial i CMOS product introduction includes:

  • Single-chip AD5764 that combines four 16-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs) with a high-accuracy solution, reportedly in half the size of competing devices.

  • Multichannel, 13-bit AD732x and 12 to 16-bit AD765x analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with “true bipolar input” that allows wide input ranges from

  • High-precision AD8661 operational amplifier, featuring wide dynamic voltage range of 5-16 V for single supply operation, combined with low offset voltage, low input bias, and packaging said to be one-third the size of competing devices.

  • High-voltage switches ( ADG12xx ) and multiplexers ( ADG14xx ). Switches support on-resistance .

Lastly, ADI’s new process supports software switching that gives users the benefit of designing one i CMOS component into multiple products. For example, input-voltage ranges defined in software allow a simple change to suit different applications.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering, fbartos@reedbusiness.com





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