Why IC designers need custom ESD cells
BCD fabs have proven ESD protection clamps only for a limited set of (low) voltage interfaces/domains. ESD for other voltages need to be solved ad-hoc. The conventional ESD approaches are not always applicable in BCD processes because for instance snapback of high voltage DMOS devices is not recommended. The leakage current of traditional ESD clamps prevents low-power applications. Many applications like automotive electronics require much higher ESD robustness.
Sofics IP for BCD technology
Process technology covered
TSMC 350nm HV
TSMC 250nm BCD
TSMC 180nm BCD gen I, II and III
TSMC 130nm BCD+
TSMC 55nm BCD
UMC 180nm BCD
SMIC 180nm BCD
Tower Semi / TPSCo 180nm BCD
Several proprietary IDM fabs (300nm – 130nm)
Key focus areas
Beyond standard voltage levels
Our IP for BCD processes consists of different device types and several options to tune/adapt the behavior under ESD stress. This allows us to provide ESD protection for many different voltage domains.
Automotive applications typically require higher ESD robustness levels. Sofics ESD technology can be easily scaled to reach higher HBM and CDM protection levels. In some cases the on-chip ESD cells are adapted to sustain contact discharge 8kV IEC 61000-4-2.
Battery powered applications
The leakage of our ESD cells is 100x lower compared to conventional approach. Huge improvements can be made in stand-by, sleep, operational modes and during power-cycles. Sofics has solutions available for interfaces and rail clamps.
IC products from our customers
Our customers have designed many products on high voltage and BCD process technology. Examples include power management chips for consumer and industrial applications, low-power Internet of Things devices, medical devices like implanted hearing aids. Several of our IDM customers have used Sofics IP for Display Drivers for flat panel displays. The BCD processes have also been used for automotive electronics. A much higher ESD robustness is required for those chips.
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