Automotive electronics used in safety critical like applications have severe ESD/EOS and EMC requirements. These chips are typically fabricated in high voltage or BCD technologies.
Another type of automotive electronics is used for ADAS, infotainment. While these chips have more standard EOS/ESD requirements they are manufactured in advanced CMOS or FinFET technology that is easily damaged during ESD stress.
There are several reasons why IC designers developing automotive IC products require custom ESD solutions
Infotainment and camera applications need high-speed communication. The interfaces need ESD protection with low parasitic capacitance
Automotive ICs designed in FinFET processes need effective ESD clamps to protect the sensitive circuits.
Many ICs for automotive applications are used in harsh environments. Higher than usual ESD, EMC and EOS robustness is needed.
To conserve energy, IC designers should use low leakage ESD protection concepts
Sensor interfaces or battery connections add unique I/O requirements
Sofics IP for Automotive Electronics
Key Focus Areas
Beyond standard voltage levels
Sofics IP is used for many high-speed data interfaces (wired and optical) between the compute and memory functions. These interfaces need ESD clamps with low parasitic capacitance. Sofics clamps provide standard ESD robustness and do not require a resistance in the signal path.
To shorten the distance and delay between memory and compute functions some customers are using 3D stacking of different dies in a single assembly. The connections between the different dies (die-2-die interfaces) require custom ESD solutions.
Besides AI chips used for training in datacenters there is also a market for AI inference chips used at the edge, close to sensors. For those chips the power consumption must be reduced. The leakage of Sofics’ ESD cells is 100x lower compared to conventional approach. Huge improvements can be made in stand-by, sleep, operational modes and during power-cycles.
Datacenter AI chips are typically very large dies. However, the larger the package, the higher the peak current is during CDM stress events. Moreover, these chips rely on advanced FinFET processes that are most sensitive during those fast transient events. It is imperative to use fast, local ESD clamps to limit the voltage drop during fast transients.
Process technology covered
BCD technology (0.35um to 55nm)
Advanced CMOS (40nm to 22nm)
IDM / proprietary fabs
IC products from our costumers
Our customers have designed ICs for several automotive electronics applications. Examples include high-speed ethernet communication, sensor interfaces, LIN/CAN transceivers, …
Blog article “ESD protection for high-speed Ethernet in cars”
Blog article “ESD devices for BCD technology”
Blog article “LIN transceivers”
Datasheet about our LIN transceiver
Press release about our cooperation with ZMDI (now Renesas)
Press release about our cooperation with Analog Devices
Press announcement about TSMC cooperation on PowerQubic technology