Your foundry partner for medical products
Our technologies are used in medical equipment where doctors and patients depend on reliable, accurate and error-free operation. Working closely with our customers, we are helping to revolutionize the healthcare system through a wide variety of novel medical devices for monitoring, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
We have been supplying medical companies for more than 20 years. As a trusted business partner, we offer:
- The most comprehensive design support in the foundry market
- Support of long product lifecycles of over 20 years
- Wafer traceability and 15 years record keeping
- Compliance to ISO 13485
Our open-platform CMOS technologies enable personal medical devices ranging from cardiac pacemakers and spinal-cord stimulators to traditional and implanted hearing aids. Pulsers realized in our modular high-voltage BCD-on-SOI technology can be found in medical ultrasound equipment. Our dedicated image-sensor-enabled CMOS technology is deployed in X-ray and CT detectors.
Our sensor technologies allow for precise measurements of almost all physiological parameters. Lab-on-a-chip applications including DNA sequencing, cancer diagnosis and pharmaceutical research benefit from our portfolio of CMOS technologies and our capabilities to build microfluidic elements or interfaces.
Applications enabled by X-FAB technologies
The chips we manufacture are used in medical devices that people trust for their health and recovery. We enable medical products for diagnostics, therapy and analysis.
Ultrasound imaging or sonography is widely used in medical diagnosis. Soundwaves at frequencies above 20 kHz are emitted and picked up again by a handheld probe. We manufacture chips in our high-voltage SOI process to generate and receive these soundwaves, supporting the development towards wireless probe heads, 3D imaging and point-of-care testing.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized genomic research through the introduction of semiconductor technologies. The various NGS solutions benefit from high-density sensor arrays that dramatically increase throughput. Our analog/mixed-signal CMOS processes combined with microfluidic post-processing provide a platform for innovative NGS approaches.
The medical imaging methods of radiography, computed tomography (CT) and fluoroscopy use X-rays to create pictures of the tissues inside the body. Detectors using our image-sensor-enabled CMOS process directly capture images that are immediately available for viewing and processing.
Personal medical devices
The aging of the world’s population and the increased spread of chronic diseases, along with research into new therapies for neurological diseases, promote the continuous development of new personal medical devices. Integrated circuits (ICs) produced with our analog/mixed-signal CMOS technologies are employed in a variety of personal medical devices, such as pacemakers, hearing aids, or spinal-cord and deep brain stimulators.
Lab-on-a-chip devices offer significant advantages over traditional laboratory equipment, such as smaller sample size, lower costs, faster response time and less waste. The integration of microelectronics into fluidic devices leverages our microfluidic process capabilities to enable smart microfluidic systems that allow direct control of the sample or instant processing of the results.
The FDA clearance of the Apple Watch started the trend to equip lifestyle wearables with medical-grade sensors. Our sensor technologies for pressure, gas and temperature respond to the growing health awareness of many users, resulting in a high demand for IC products that monitor physiological conditions with solid reliability.
Solutions we offer for medical products
X-FAB offers a broad range of high-performance open-platform technologies down to the 130 nm node. Our state-of-the-art 8-inch CMOS and SOI platforms can be complemented with specialties ranging from analog/mixed-signal functions to high-voltage options, embedded non-volatile memories, optical, RF and bipolar elements as well as microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS).
To satisfy medical and biological requirements, we provide post-processing capabilities like the integration of noble-metal electrodes or coating with polymeric fluidic structures. Besides using X-FAB’s proprietary technologies, you can also transfer your own process to one of our fabs to take full advantage of our long-standing semiconductor manufacturing know-how.
Analog/mixed-signal CMOS technologies enable personal medical devices
We provide an extensive portfolio of mixed-signal high-voltage analog processes for complex system-on-chip solutions. Sensor technologies are available for temperature and pressure monitoring and for imaging.
For invasive or non-invasive personal medical devices, we recommend our high-voltage processes XH035 and XH018.
Characteristics of XH018:
- 1.8 V low-power transistors for analog and digital circuits
- 6 V medium-voltage transistors to support primary cells and rechargeable batteries
- 45 V high-voltage transistors for nerve stimulation
- Low-noise NMOS and PMOS transistors with improved flicker noise performance
- Huge variety of components including resistors, capacitors, varactors and bipolar transistors
- Digital libraries including RAM/ROM compilers
- Low-power core process modules
- Broad non-volatile memory support including embedded Flash and non-volatile RAM
High-voltage SOI technologies enable mobile ultrasound equipment
For applications requiring dielectric isolation, we develop BCD-on-SOI process platforms down to the 180 nm node. The current generation XT018 is commonly used for ultrasound pulsers driving both piezoelectric or capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (PMUT or CMUT, respectively). A thick buried oxide combined with oxide-filled trenches allow the integration of a high number of transmitter and receiver channels on one chip. Our extensive process capabilities enable direct processing of the flattened chip passivation.
Characteristics of XT018:
- Excellent noise and high-voltage isolation
- Efficient 200 V devices
- 5 V analog devices for large dynamic range
- Large number of channels with high packing density
- Non-volatile memory modules including embedded Flash
- Flat passivation module for further post-processing
CMOS image sensor process enables digital X-ray detectors
For X-ray imaging, we offer an 0.18 µm image sensor process with special support for large-pixel designs. XS018 is our dedicated image sensor platform. Pinned photodiodes with four different pinning voltage levels from 0.9 V to 1.6 V give the opportunity to optimize the full well capacity and reduce image lag depending on the size of the pinned photodiode. Four-transistor pixel designs or, as partially pinned photodiode, three-transistor pixel designs are possible.
Characteristics of XS018:
- Various module settings to optimize the pinning voltage of the photodiode and the threshold voltage of the transistors
- Support of large detector panels through 1D or 2D stitching
In addition, with XO035, we offer a 350 nm CMOS technology with fast PIN photodiodes. Based on low-ohmic wafer material and featuring an optimized cathode implantation, XO035 is well suited for CT applications. By providing an optical window and allowing the deposition of dedicated anti-reflection coating (ARC) layers, the process enables the realization of highly sensitive photodiodes from 400 nm to 900 nm wavelengths.
Microfluidic process capabilities enable lab-on-a-chip applications
Through our MEMS foundry services, we are able to offer the integration of microfluidic structures on CMOS ICs. The microfluidic structures are created on dedicated equipment using technologies established in the production of silicon chips, such as photolithography, etching or bonding.
An essential feature of a microfluidic device is the functionality and characteristics of the surface. The realization of inert and biocompatible electrodes, typically with noble metals, is combined with the deposition and patterning of organic or inorganic layers. All structures that will come into contact with the reagent must have specific properties with regard to wetting (e.g. be hydrophobic or hydrophilic) or to the flow behavior of the fluids.
For silicon-based microfluidic devices, we offer amongst others:
- Analog/mixed-signal CMOS processes in 180/350 nm technology as the basis for further system integration
- Noble-metal electrodes, as inert and biocompatible interfaces to the fluid and for protection of the CMOS circuity from corrosion at the same time
- Microfluidic structures with controlled surface properties
- Various wafer bonding variants, including polymer bonding, anodic or eutectic bonding and glass-frit bonding
- Glass wafer processing
- Clean, dry and DNA-free device handling
For more information on our medical solutions, please contact us.