Semiconductor processes interfacing the real world.
Semiconductor processes interfacing the real world.

First-Time-Right Support

First-Time-Right

FTR – one of the most challenging goals in IC design – comes with highly complex requirements. Very different items need to play together but exist independently, much like an orchestra with many individual musicians but no conductor. For a foundry, FTR covers aspects ranging from process development to design support to process characterization. X-FAB meets this challenge through the following methods.

Methods

Process Selection

X-FAB offers a large selection of highly reliable semiconductor processes ranging from 1.0μm to 0.18μm bulk silicon- and SOI-based CMOS. They enable the design and manufacture of high-quality semiconductors that can exist in harsh automotive environments.

Models

X-FAB’s processes and PDKs enable mixed-signal first-time-right silicon by using simulation models that represent silicon behavior as accurately as possible. These models include all required elements from a design point of view – spice models with a 3-to 6-sigma range for process limits, Monte Carlo models, and dedicated high-voltage models to cover high-voltage transistor behaviors.

ESD

Electronic System Design (ESD) robustness is another key element for automotive semiconductor devices. X-FAB‘s strong engineering support for custom I/O development and its extended ESD support with HV IO library building blocks proven in silicon facilitate the development of ESD-robust I/O. This support is enabled by transmission line pulse (TLP) measurements for ESD structures that support I/O development for >8kV HBM (human body model).

Design Methodology

X-FAB’s PDKs, libraries and IPs are fully supporting mixed-signal design methodology and are optimized for automotive applications interfacing the real world. Our analog/mixed-signal reference kit for Cadence design tools and flows can be downloaded as a ready-to-use design package that gives you a jump-start allowing fast and easy adoption of the mixed-signal design flow.

PDKs

PDKs close the gap between EDA software and the foundry process. X-FAB PDKs are more than just a set of files. They contain all the data designers need to work with digital, analog and mixed-signal design flows in combination with our foundry data. PDKs provide out-of-thebox support for the latest design flows. They enable automotive designers to start IC development in their preferred EDA environments without any additional settings.

IP

X-FAB is developing multiple robust and reliable IP that is easy to design with and also suitable for high-temperature (+175°C) environments typically found in the automotive space. This IP includes digital standard cell libraries, analog libraries, IO libraries, and SRAM and ROM compilers. In addition, X-FAB’s high-density non-volatile memory (NVM) IP blocks such as eFlash, NVRAM, EEPROM and OTP, among others, are qualified for high temperature use. Failure redundant solutions also are available, including NVM ECC.

Manufacturing

X-FAB manufactures silicon wafers for mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs) that target automotive applications. Its marketing network and client base span the Americas, Europe and Asia, offering manufacturing capacity of approximately 864,000 200mm-equivalent wafers per year. The largest specialty fab group worldwide, X-FAB differs from typical foundry services because of its specialized expertise in advanced analog and mixed-signal process technologies for harsh environments in the automotive market segment.

Analog and mixed-signal technologies are not intended for digital applications with the smallest possible structure sizes. Instead, they target analog automotive applications that can be integrated with additional functions such as high voltage, non-volatile memory and sensors. X-FAB optimally manages the product development flow and supply chain for your semiconductor products by combining solid, specialized expertise in advanced analog and mixed-signal process technologies with excellent service, a high level of responsiveness and first-class technical support.

High-Voltage

High-Voltage

As a pure-play foundry specializing in mixed-signal applications, X-FAB offers a wide range of open platform process technologies that combine advanced modular CMOS and BiCMOS platforms with a broad spectrum of additional analog functions and modular options. It covers voltages up to 40V, 60V, 100V, 200V & 700V for CMOS and SOI solutions, and offers a combination of high-voltage and NVM options with the lowest mask count in industry for advanced analog/mixed-signal process nodes.

NVM IP

Non-Volatile Memories at X-FAB

In the past couple of years the demand for non-volatile memories (NVM) has been growing steadily, driven mainly by mobile consumer electronics – from smartphones and tablet PCs to digital cameras and GPS navigation devices. In addition, the NVM content in these devices continues to grow rapidly in proportion to the logic device content.

This demand has increased the need for NVM for trimming, data- and code-storage functions used in smart systems-on- chip (SoCs).

To help automotive design teams design advanced SoCs for emerging applications, X-FAB offers a wide range of embedded non-volatile memory IP including eFlash, EEPROM, NVRAM, OTP, NV latches and poly fuses that cover process nodes from 1.0μm to 0.13μm.

The following pages showcase the different non-volatile memory types at X-FAB, their application space and technical features.

Sensor & Sensor Interfaces

X-FAB technologies include integrated state-of-the-art CMOS image sensors and the ability for companies to integrate their own IP. Automotive teams can select from a wide range of characterized photo diodes on multiple process platforms. X-FAB’s sensor offerings deliver specific advantages for the exacting reliability and environmental needs of the automotive industry – high sensitivity, an adjustable spectral range, the lowest 1/f noise level and excellent matching behavior for high-performance signal conditioning applications, and an exceptional signal-to-noise ratio that is the lowest in the industry for audio applications.

Sensor & Sensor Interfaces

X-FAB Expands its 180nm BCD-on-SOI Technology Platform with New High-Voltage Devices Designed for Next Generation Automotive Applications

 
NEWS, Tessenderlo, Belgium, 07/11/2019.

X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry today announced the availability of new high-voltage primitive devices targeted at the growing market for automotive 48V board net and battery management system (BMS) ICs. 

Covering voltages of 70V to 125V, these complementary NMOS/PMOS devices are based on the company’s XT018 BCD-on-SOI platform with deep trench isolation (DTI) and support for automotive AEC-Q100 Grade 0 products. They deliver competitive on-resistance (Rdson) figures, while still providing robust safe-operating areas for Rdson, Idsat and Vth. A highly effective ESD protection mechanism has been incorporated to ensure long-term operational reliability. In addition, high-voltage N-channel depletion transistors based on the new voltage classes are also available. These will enable simple, area efficient start-up circuitry and voltage regulator implementations to be realized.

48V subsystems are being increasingly adopted by the world’s leading automakers as a means to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Mild hybrid cars are the first to utilize 48V-rated components, which will initially focus on a number of core elements, like starter/generators, DC-DC converters and battery management subsystems, as well as other high-current functions, such as water pumps and cooling fans. 

At the same time, the fast growing Li-Ion battery markets for electric vehicles and energy storage is moving to taller battery cell stacks which require higher voltages. The XT018 BCD-on-SOI platform now provides an even more flexible voltage offering up to 200V to support the increasing number battery cells that need to be monitored by a single BMS IC. 

BCD-on-SOI is superior in many aspects when compared to conventional bulk BCD technologies, making it attractive to designers. Key advantages include virtual latch-up free circuits, strong EMC performance (due to complete isolation with buried oxide/DTI) and simplified handling of below ground transients. Furthermore, through the potential for significant die size reduction along with first-time-right implementation, development periods can be accelerated and lower costs per die can be achieved. 

 “As the premier high-voltage SOI foundry, X-FAB is now better positioned than ever to support automobile electrification,” states X-FAB CEO Rudi De Winter. “This extension to the popular XT018 platform further strengthens our offering to the hybrid/electric vehicle sector. It means that through this, plus our SiC and galvanic isolation capabilities, we can supply clients with another vital building block that will help accelerate society’s migration to more environmentally friendly transportation.”
 

About X-FAB 
X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal and MEMS foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for automotive, industrial, consumer, medical and other applications. Its customers worldwide benefit from the highest quality standards, manufacturing excellence and innovative solutions by using X-FAB’s modular CMOS and SOI processes in geometries ranging from 1.0 to 0.13 µm, and its special SiC and MEMS long-lifetime processes. X-FAB’s analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs), sensors and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are manufactured at six production facilities in Germany, France, Malaysia and the U.S. X-FAB employs about 4,000 people worldwide. 

 
Files:
Press_Release_XT018_HV_ext_EN_11Jul2019.pdf154 Ki
Press_Release_XT018_HV_ext_CN_11Jul2019.pdf128 Ki

X-FAB Introduces Highly-Sensitive SPAD and APD Devices Based on its Modular 180nm Process Technology

 
NEWS, Tessenderlo, Belgium, 06/20/2019.

X-FAB Silicon Foundries, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry, continues to develop ground-breaking semiconductor solutions to address the most difficult of design challenges. It has now announced the availability of avalanche photodiode (APD) and single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) products for implementation in scenarios where there are extremely low light conditions to contend with and augmented sensitivity is required, as well as tight timing resolutions involved. 

Based on the company’s popular 180nm high-voltage XH018 process, these function block devices deliver a combination of elevated performance parameters and straightforward integration. The APD has a strong linear gain figure, and is fully scalable - going from just ten to several hundred micrometer dimensions. The proprietary X-FAB quenching circuit used in the SPAD results in a dead time of less than 15ns - thereby supporting high bandwidth. In addition, its low dark count rate (<100 counts/s/µm²) means that it is far less susceptible to thermal noise. The high photon detection probability (PDP) of the SPAD ensures that a much higher proportion of incident photons trigger an avalanche, and this is maintained across an extensive range of wavelengths (e.g. 40% at 400nm).

The X-FAB APD and SPAD can be utilized in a broad spectrum of different applications - including proximity sensing, LiDAR, time of flight (ToF), medical imaging (CT and PET) and scientific research. Being AEC-Q100 compliant, they are suitable for deployment within automotive systems. Furthermore, the low breakdown voltage (<20V) that has been achieved facilitates their incorporation onto customer dies. As integral parts of the X-FAB design kit, they are fully characterized, and can easily be combined with other modules featured in the XH018 process. Models for optical and electrical simulation, along with a specific application note, will help designers to integrate these devices into their circuitry within a short time period. As well as being supplied in a function block format, a quenching reference circuit that fully demonstrates the capabilities of the SPAD is also available.

Members of the X-FAB team will be able to discuss the new APD and SPAD products when the company exhibits at Sensors Expo (Booth #546, McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, 25th-27th June). https://www.sensorsexpo.com

 
About X-FAB 
X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal and MEMS foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for automotive, industrial, consumer, medical and other applications. Its customers worldwide benefit from the highest quality standards, manufacturing excellence and innovative solutions by using X-FAB’s modular CMOS and SOI processes in geometries ranging from 1.0 to 0.13 µm, and its special SiC and MEMS long-lifetime processes. X-FAB’s analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs), sensors and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are manufactured at six production facilities in Germany, France, Malaysia and the U.S. X-FAB employs about 4,000 people worldwide. www.xfab.com

 
Files:
Press_Release_APD_SPAD_EN_final_20Jun2019.pdf275 Ki
Press_Release_APD-SPAD_Chinese_24Jun2019.pdf86 Ki

Tech Biz Day - From Innovation to Medical Electronics

 
EVENTS, 06/13/2019.

Thursday, October 17th, 2019 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Hôtel NH Lyon Airport, Lyon -


If you are a medtech company or a value chain stakeholder in this industry, you may already be aware that “off the shelf” microelectronic solutions are not readily available for your special application. Indeed, you are faced with the challenges of:

  • Finding a suitable technology for your application
  • Engaging with design engineers to develop your integrated circuits
  • Ensuring bio compatibility of your device, typically requiring unusual materials
  • Integrating  electronics with optical or mechanical components
  • Organizing special purpose miniature packaging…

If this is the case, invest one day of your time to meet us and our partners in Lyon on October 17th, 2019.

Program of the Day

  • X-FAB introduction including an overview of semiconductor products manufactured for medical applications in the area of invasive medical electronics, medical imaging or microfluidics
  • Presentations of advanced medical devices from Europe’s leading medical companies and research organizations
  • Networking with X-FAB experts and medical partners in order to accelerate technical and business collaboration along the value chain from medical OEM down to component R&D and manufactures

We are looking forward to hearing about your application and exploring with you how X-FAB’s technologies and capabilities can help to develop your product ideas for:

  • Neuro-stimulators, -sensors and -prosthetics
  • Ultrasonic transducers and receivers
  • X-Ray image sensors
  • DNA sequencers, cell sorters and patch clamps
  • Lab-on Chip applications
  • Your own innovative applications

Save the date for the X-FAB Tech Biz Day

Please join us in Lyon on October 17th, 2019.
Registration will open by mid of August, if you have any questions about the event please feel free to contact us at:
seminar(at)xfab.com

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About MEDICALPS
MEDICALPS is a healthcare industry cluster (biotechnologies, medical devices, e-heath) in the heart of French Alps. MEDICALPS accelerates the time to international market and enhances connections within the local healthcare ecosystem.

About Minalogic
Minalogic is a global innovation cluster for digital technologies based in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Minalogic gathers 400 members, among which 300 innovative SMEs/startups as well as the leading-egde research labs and universities in the digital technologies area. The cluster supports its innovative ecosystem by facilitating networking, fostering collaborative R&D, and accelerating business growth of its members. The products and services developed by its members address all industries, from ICT and healthcare to energy and advanced manufacturing.

About DSP Valley
DSP Valley is an independent cluster of excellence in smart electronic systems and embedded technology solutions. DSP Valley groups 100+ members: universities, research institutes and companies, from small start-ups, over SMEs to large international groups with a local R&D activity. DSP Valley offers its members a networking platform that allows them to explore each other’s expertise and that stimulates innovation by exploiting complementarities.

 

X-FAB and Efabless Announce Successful First Silicon of Raven, An Open-Source RISC-V Microcontroller

 
Tessenderlo, Belgium, 06/13/2019.

X-FAB Silicon Foundries, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry, together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, today announced the successful first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V System on Chip (SoC) reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools.  The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core.  Efabless has successfully bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations the design should be able to operate at up to 150MHz.

Raven is unique in that the open-source top-level design utilizes X-FAB proprietary analog IP and is created with an open-source design flow. This hybrid open-source design brings the power of open innovation and at the same time protecting significant investment in proprietary IP.  

Efabless and X-FAB chose to manufacture the Raven on X-FAB’s high-reliability XH018 process. This is a flexible 180nm 6-metal process with a wide variety of options including a low power option, on-chip isolation for high voltages, and high-temperature flash memory. X-FAB’s XH018 process meets automotive quality requirements and is popular in a wide range of automotive, industrial and medical applications.

The semiconductor design is fully functional and Efabless is now engaged with its initial customers on design of derivative offerings. To the Efabless community Raven is available from the Efabless marketplace as a reference design without license fee consequentially advancing the Efabless open innovation model of community design.  
"The successful partnership with Efabless demonstrates X-FAB’s continued commitment to open-source semiconductor development", said Ulrich Bretthauer, Product Marketing Manager at X-FAB. "Nearly 75% of Raven's die area is covered by X-FAB standard library blocks and macros. Using these proven IP blocks increased the reliability of the Raven while minimizing first-silicon risk."

According to Mohamed Kassem, Efabless co-founder and CTO, "This project would not have been possible without the support of X-FAB.  They have been an early adopter of the Efabless open-innovation model and this project is the logical extension of our collaboration.”
For companies that want to learn how to get started with open-source IP semiconductor design, X-FAB provides a series of free webinars including “Handling of Complex & Diverse IC Designs Made Easier”, “Design Robustness”, and “IC Lifetime Calculation Made Easy”. Design kits and PDKs for open source IP designs are available. Contact X-FAB for more information.


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About Efabless Corporation
Efabless.com is the world’s first crowd-sourcing platform for semiconductors. Efabless’ customers connect with a community of design firms and professionals and receive formal quotes for custom mixed signal IC and IP solutions. Efabless then provides its IC design community with a cloud-based platform offering everything needed to execute the designs. This includes a design flow based on open source tools; a marketplace featuring IP and full reference designs; access to foundry processes and MPW services to get to prototypes. The entire offering is designed to eliminate the cost and administrative barriers that have inhibited IC design in general and custom IC design in particular.

About X-FAB 
X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal and MEMS foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for automotive, industrial, consumer, medical and other applications. Its customers worldwide benefit from the highest quality standards, manufacturing excellence and innovative solutions by using X-FAB’s modular CMOS and SOI processes in geometries ranging from 1.0 to 0.13 µm, and its special SiC and MEMS long-lifetime processes. X-FAB’s analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs), sensors and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are manufactured at six production facilities in Germany, France, Malaysia and the U.S. X-FAB employs about 4,000 people worldwide. 
 

 
Files:
Press_Release_Efabless_X-FAB_RISC-V_ENG_13June2019.pdf28 Ki
Press_Release_Efabless_X-FAB_RISC-V_Chinese_18Jun2019.pdf86 Ki

X-FAB Offers Unique Substrate Coupling Analysis Solution to Address Unwanted Parasitic Effects

Schematic view of parasitic substrate elements of an analog driver chip
 
NEWS, Tessenderlo, Belgium, 05/09/2019.


Continuing to drive innovation in analog/mixed-signal IC fabrication, X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE has announced the introduction of SubstrateXtractor.

Unwanted substrate couplings can impact modern IC developments, causing parasitic effects that are damaging to overall performance. Engineers have to deal with this by taking a slow and laborious ‘trial and error’ approach, which calls for the allocation of many hours of experienced engineers’ time while numerous different design iterations are made and then experimented with.   

The objective of SubstrateXtractor is to change all that. Created in partnership with Swiss EDA software vendor PN Solutions, and based on its innovative PNAware product, this is the semiconductor industry’s first commercially available tool dedicated to addressing the simulation of large signal substrate parasitic effects. Working in conjunction with X-FAB’s established simulation libraries, it allows engineers to investigate where potential substrate coupling issues could occur and make the changes necessary to eliminate them (via better floorplanning, guard rings, etc.) before the initial tape-out has even begun. 
Through it, engineers will gain full visibility of all the active and passive elements within the substrate and be able to experiment with different simulations in order to find a design concept that delivers maximum substrate coupling immunity within the project’s particular parametric constraints. Furthermore, they are able to determine the minimum number of substrate contacts and guard rings needed for a project, no matter how complex and sophisticated it is – thereby resulting in more effective utilization of the available area.   

“By employing the SubstrateXtractor tool, layout engineers will be able to uncover any adverse substrate effects early on in the development cycle and subsequently mitigate them,” explains Joerg Doblaski, Director of Design Support at X-FAB. “This will make IC implementation procedures far more streamlined and quicker to complete, avoiding the need to rework designs to increase levels of optimization, and resulting in significant cost savings.”   

SubstrateXtractor is set to dramatically reduce the number of design iterations required - leading to much lower engineering overheads. This results in a faster time to market making a first-time-right analog design possible. From now onwards this functionality will be integrated into X-FAB’s process design kit (PDK) and available for use with the company’s popular XH018 high voltage 0.18µm mixed-signal CMOS offering. A version for the power management process XP018 will soon follow.
 

 
Files:
Press_Release_SubstrateXtractor_ENG_09May2019.pdf227 Ki

X-FAB Announces Full Production Release of New High-Voltage Galvanic Isolation Technology

 
Automotive, NEWS, Tessenderlo, Belgium, 01/30/2019.

X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry, has announced the full volume production release of its new high temperature galvanic isolation semiconductor process. This proprietary technology is fully automotive qualified, and offers greater reliability levels compared to options offered by the competition.

Galvanic isolation electrically separates circuits in order to improve noise immunity, remove ground loops, and increase common mode voltage. It can also protect human interfaces from contact with high voltages. An example where this plays an important role is the control of IGBT or SiC power modules in industrial and automotive environments. Further applications include data communication in field bus systems, battery management systems or the usage in medical equipment.

Key advantages of the new X-FAB galvanic isolation process include:
•    Operational temperatures of up to 175°C
•    Successfully tested up to 6,000 Vrms @ 50Hz and 10,000 VDC
•    Uninterrupted barrier layer with 0 ppm residual contamination
•    Demonstrated conformance with latest IEC 60747-17 semiconductor coupler draft standard
•    Support for working voltages up to 1.7 kV

X-FAB offers two types of packaged galvanic isolation devices for customer evaluation. The capacitive coupler test chip, G3-C1, has an isolation layer thickness of 11 µm and was tested to withstand up to 6,000 Vrms (the maximum limit of the test setup). An inductive coupler test chip, G3-T06, is also available for customer evaluation and has an isolation layer thickness of 14 µm.

The new X-FAB galvanic isolation technology is manufactured at the company’s Dresden facility, which is certified for automotive manufacturing in accordance with the IATF-16949:2016 International Automotive Quality Management System (QMS) standard. Design kits for all major EDA platforms can be downloaded from X-FAB’s customer web portal. Samples can be supplied on request. Full process qualification reports are also available.

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About X-FAB 
X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal and MEMS foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for automotive, industrial, consumer, medical and other applications. Its customers worldwide benefit from the highest quality standards, manufacturing excellence and innovative solutions by using X-FAB’s modular CMOS and SOI processes in geometries ranging from 1.0 to 0.13 µm, and its special SiC and MEMS long-lifetime processes. X-FAB’s analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs), sensors and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are manufactured at six production facilities in Germany, France, Malaysia and the U.S. X-FAB employs about 4,000 people worldwide. For more information, please visit www.xfab.com
 

 
Files:
Press_Release_Galvanic_Isolator_ENG_30Jan2019.pdf26 Ki

Webinar: How to make the most of your Tape-out - Insights into Mask Tooling, Mask Preparation Techniques & Stitching

 
EVENTS, 01/11/2019.

Do you know what happens to your IC design once you have taped-out to your foundry?
This webinar will shed some light on the various techniques applied in the process from design submission to mask generation. You will learn about the Data Input Check performed by X-FAB to ensure the best possible fabrication quality and how scribe lane structures are added allowing the monitoring of key process parameters.  It will also address how the mask generation flow is optimized for different prototyping scenarios such as Single Layer Masks (SLM) and Multi Layer Masks (MLM). In addition, practical suggestions will be provided on how to bypass the reticle limitations by using stitching for large layouts.

In this webinar, we will showcase the different prototyping services X-FAB offers so that you can make the most of your designs and get it first-time-right.

REGISTER TODAY

Session for North & South America:

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
9:00 AM Pacific Time (PST)
12:00 PM Eastern Time (EST)

Session for EMEA & Asia:

Thursday, January 24, 2019 
9:00 AM Central European Time (CEST)
4:00 PM Taiwan & China
5:00 PM Korea & Japan

Please register with your corporate email address.
After registration, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Space is limited.