180nm SOI technology targets automotive applications

13th July 2015
Jordan Mulcare

X-FAB Silicon Foundries has announced the industry’s first cost-efficient 180nm SOI technology for automotive and industrial applications that need to operate in harsh environments. X-FAB’s suite of 40 and 60V high-voltage devices for its XT018 180nm SOI platform outperforms bulk CMOS technologies and provides cost savings of up to 30%.

The XT018 technology includes comprehensive design support, resulting in fewer design cycles and the possibility of first-time-right success; it offers cost-competitive implementation of next-gen automotive solutions and leads to faster time-to-market. The devices make the XT018 process suitable for advanced automotive applications such as monolithic motor controllers and physical layer transceivers, including integrated or stand-alone LIN/CAN transceivers.  

The platform is specifically designed for next-gen automotive, industrial and medical applications with up to 200V operating voltage and an operating temperature up to 175°C. The technology combines the benefits of SOI wafers with Deep Trench Isolation (DTI) plus those of a state-of-the-art six-metal-layer 180nm bulk CMOS process.

Using SOI wafers as the starting material, in combination with trench isolation instead of the more commonly used junction isolation techniques in CMOS, simplifies the design concept. The SOI wafers eliminate the parasitic bipolar effects to substrate, reducing latch-up risk. They also enable the development of devices such as truly isolated diodes, allowing reverse supply voltage protection that is difficult to achieve with bulk CMOS or BCD technologies.

The centrepiece of the offering is a low Ron 40V NMOS transistor with an on resistance of 26mΩ-mm². It is complemented by robust 40 and 60V ESD enhanced devices as well as matching PMOS and depletion transistors. 

The technology allows for much more compact designs compared to the conventional junction isolation scheme. For example, it allows area efficient lateral isolation in-between circuit blocks against cross-coupling for the output driver and sense inputs. The easy integration of isolated devices enables a short design cycle, making first-time-right functionality possible even for complex systems-on-chip with automotive HV device requirements.

Volker Herbig, Product Marketing Director, X-FAB, explained the significance of the XT018 technology: “Until now SOI technologies were seen as rather exotic and very expensive solutions, but our XT018 SOI technology offsets the added cost of SOI with a smaller chip size, higher performance and easier design. Therefore, it makes first-time-right success achievable.”

Herbig further explained: “Requirements for automotive designs are becoming ever more challenging to fulfill, for example, the latest CAN standard and the more stringent specifications for EMC and ESD robustness. X-FAB’s XT018 technology enables designers to deal with these challenges.”

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