GSA Mixed-Signal/RF Subcommittee Is Facilitating an Analog Ecosystem
By Dr. Marco Racanelli
Outsourcing the manufacturing for analog technology is creating a new supply chain. It also is supporting an ecosystem that mirrors the already well-established method that's used for digital technology. The world of analog, however, is more highly customized. It also is less easily standardized than the world of digital. This aspect creates unique challenges in supporting an efficient disintegrated supply chain. Recognizing these challenges, the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) has formed the Mixed-Signal/Radio Frequency (RF) Subcommittee.
This subcommittee's work is helping to standardize the interface between many aspects of the analog supply chain. As a result, integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) can more easily and efficiently augment their capabilities by partnering with outside manufacturers and creating environments that support a fab-light or fabless analog industry. The subcommittee helps to link an ecosystem of analog product companies with foundries, electronic design automation (EDA), intellectual property (IP), and other required infrastructure. In doing so, it helps to create an efficient support ecosystem for the analog industry of the future.
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Joanne Itow, Managing Director
Tower Semiconductor and Jazz Semiconductor have taken a big step which sets them up to uniquely meet the needs of many companies looking for a foundry partner to provide a solution to their manufacturing challenges. The merger of Tower and Jazz brings together a number of complementary ingredients. Tower has a strong presence in embedded non-volatile memory and image sensor technologies while Jazz has always been known for its BiCMOS, SiGe, RF CMOS, and power/BCD technologies.
The customers of Tower and Jazz had very little overlap making the combined business much more broadly based. In addition, the combined manufacturing capacity now has a worldwide presence with an opportunity to operate in a much more efficient manner. Tower also has a proven track record of successful technology transfers for both specialty and legacy products.
Since Russell Ellwanger took charge of Tower in May 2005, the company has consistently improved its manufacturing operation and expanded its customer base. The merger with Jazz will position the company to be an even stronger player in the very fast growing specialty foundry arena. The name of the game is definitely survival of the fittest.
Tower Semiconductor Ranked by Deloitte Israel as One of "2008 Technology Fast 50" for the Second Year in a Row Based on Five-Year Revenue Growth
Tower Semiconductor was selected as one of the 2008 Deloitte Israel "Technology Fast 50", a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in Israel, for the second year in a row. The program ranks Israeli technology companies based on their five-year revenue growth between 2003 and 2007.
.Making the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 is a testament to the company's commitment to technology", said Asher Mechlovich, partner in charge of the Deloitte Brightman Almagor Zohar Israel "Technology Fast 50" Program. "With its 276% growth rate over five years, Tower Semiconductor has proven that its leadership has the vision and determination to grow even in difficult conditions."
Ubidyne Selects Jazz Semiconductor´s 0.18-Micron SiGe BiCMOS Process to Develop World´s First Pure Digital Radio System
Ubidyne, the leader in digital radio technology for the wireless industry has selected Jazz Semiconductor's 0.18-micron SiGe BiCMOS (SBC18HXL) process for Ubidyne's uB Universal Micro-radio, the world's first pure digital antenna embedded radio system for wireless communications. Ubidyne's uB Universal Digital Micro-radios offer the highest level of integration and radio performance by embedding directly into the antenna housing, eliminating the need for remote electrical tilt motors, large power amplifiers and bulky coaxial feeders.
The analog integration that Jazz provides enables customers like Ubidyne to offer higher performance, higher precision and more power-efficient products than were previously possible,. said Chuck Fox, senior vice president of worldwide sales, Tower Semiconductor. .Jazz.s SBC18H2 with 200GHz Ft/Fmax is providing a roadmap in the wireless market for even better next-generation performance..
UbidyneSelects Jazz Semiconductor to Develop World´s First Pure Digital Radio System
Jazz Semiconductor, Inc., a Tower Group Company (NASDAQ:TSEM)(TASE:TSEM), and a leader in Analog-Intensive Mixed-Signal (AIMS) foundry solutions, and Ubidyne, the leader in digital radio technology for the wireless industry announced that Ubidyne has selected Jazz Semiconductor.s 0.18-micron SiGe BiCMOS (SBC18HXL) process for Ubidyne.s uB Universal Micro-radio, the world.s first pure digital antenna embedded radio system for wireless communications.
Ubidyne.s patent-pending technology significantly improves the operating economics of wireless networks, reducing energy consumption, enabling simple, flexible deployment, and increasing the coverage and capacity of mobile communications networks.
.We are revolutionizing the industry with the development of a superior alternative to traditional radio platforms that is both cost-effective and efficient,. said Mike Levis, COO of Ubidyne. .By utilizing Jazz.s SiGe BiCMOS process, we are able to significantly improve performance for our latest Micro-radio technology.
Foundries Tower and Jazz complete merger
The merger between chip foundries Tower Semiconductor Ltd and Jazz Technologies, Inc. has been completed. Both Jazz Technologies and its subsidiary, Jazz Semiconductor, Inc., will now became wholly owned subsidiaries of Tower Semiconductor.
The move combines Tower's strength in CMOS image sensor, non-volatile memory and RF CMOS with Jazz's expertise in mixed signal, power management and RF. The companies stress the merger creates significant cross-selling opportunities from Tower to Jazz customers and from Jazz to Tower customers. Tower also expands its fab portfolio. The company has its fabs in Israel. Jazz has a fab in Newport Beach and has capacity agreements with various foundries in China. In total, the combined company offers capacity of approximately 750,000 8-inch wafer starts annually.
Russell Ellwanger, Tower's chief executive officer, will take over as chairman of Jazz, and will be responsible for developing final details of the merged organizational structure and the integration plan over the next months. Ellwanger commented: "We expect the merger of the two companies to provide expanded opportunities for growth based on the significant cross-selling opportunities and the broader, more complete product, technology, and service portfolio we are now able to offer to customers. These opportunities further enhance the immediate benefits we expect the merger to provide to our cost structure, which when combined with the recently announced anticipated restructuring of our debt, we expect to result in significant improvements to our financial results, EBITDA and cash flow margins, as well as greatly improve the balance sheet of the combined company."
Customers' Needs Come First and Foremost
by Samir Chaudhry, Manager, Modeling and Characterization, Jazz
From an IC foundry perspective, a dedicated understanding of evolving customer expectations is an important factor when developing a new product. In addition, providing customers with design enablement tools is key to first time success. In the case of designing new integrated circuits (ICs), customer requirements often include achieving optimal performance; customizing designs while still reducing design cycle time; managing costs, and; realizing quick time-to-market.
When customization is required by customers, modular and proven process technology platforms are the foundation for first time success. With a goal of reducing time-to-market and prototyping costs, best-in-class design automation tools are imperative. Design enablement tools, including silicon verified device models and flexible design environments, allow customers to test, modify and improve the functionality and yield of new products on the computer long before the first prototype is manufactured.
Managing costs, both during the prototyping and production phase, is key to managing an omnipresent customer expectation on value. In summary, maintaining open lines of communication with customers is critical in successfully achieving overall product development satisfaction and accelerating time-to-revenue.
Jazz Semiconductor Expands AIMS Functionality with Adoption of Cadence Virtuoso IC 6.1 Custom Design Platform
September 8, 2008
Jazz announced availability of the Jazz IC 6.1 process design kit (PDK) for Cadence Design Systems' Virtuoso® IC 6.1 custom design platform in Jazz's 0.18-micron SiGe BiCMOS process (SBC18). The collaboration between Jazz and Cadence on integrated radio frequency/mixed-signal (RF/MS) platforms reduces time-to-market for AIMS products.
The adoption of IC 6.1 enables Jazz to improve the analog simulation and layout capabilities over previous generations. It provides customer focused solutions through an AIMS environment improving modeling and accuracy, enabling first silicon success for a greater time-to-market advantage. By supporting the RF and analog/mixed-signal (AMS) kits, customers have access to RF, analog and digital design technology to help them streamline the design of complex mixed-signal chips.
Silicon TV tuners kick the CAN
Until the most recent product announcements, silicon tuners have fallen well short of the performance offered by hand-tuned CAN tuners. But one company in particular seems to have focused on achieving the best possible silicon solutions for fixed TV tuners: Xceive.
Xceive is now selling its fourth-generation TV tuner product: the XC5000. The tuner is claimed to exceed the performance of traditional CAN tuners from companies such as Philips, Samsung, Thomson and Panasonic, blowing away other silicon tuners.
Xceive claims better performance in both digital sensitivity (greater than a 2-dBm improvement) and analog performance (a 2- to 5-dB improvement in SNR) over premium CAN tuners. (The XC5000 was fabricated using Jazz Semiconductor's 0.18-µm SiGe BiCMOS process).
Smallest Jazz process offers lean, green chips
Jazz Semiconductor has quadrupled the cutoff frequency that chips made in its SiGe fab can achieve, boosting its challenge to rival silicon and GaAs technologies. By cutting the size of its lithographic process from 0.35 µm to 0.18 µm the Newport Beach, California, company has boosted peak cutoff frequency, fT, from 50 GHz to 200 GHz. This enhances the advantage that devices made with the process have over RF CMOS, and can convert to energy efficiency improvements where high frequencies aren't needed. At the International Microwave Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 17, Jazz claimed that 0.18 µm SiGe fabrication can now provide a 30 percent efficiency advantage over silicon. Even with the new process in place, Jazz feels that GaAs retains a strong hold on applications at frequencies above 5 GHz. However it is confident it can compete below 5 GHz, and can more readily integrate different functions in CMOS. That includes the possibility of integrating a silicon transceiver, with an RF power amplifier, switch and logic functionality. This integration has been aided by a new process based on a layer of n-doped SiGe sandwiched vertically between two p-doped SiGe layers, christened 'vertical PNP'. .Vertical PNP does precision analog functions like data conversion and timing,. Mahlen said. .Having a vertical PNP to complement our high-speed, high-end NPN is very attractive, there's really nobody out there that is selling that today.
Jazz Announces SiGe BiCMOS Technology for Green, Energy Efficient Analog IC
Jazz Semiconductor recently announced its 0.18-micron Silicon Germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS platform (SBC18) that enables customers to deliver next generation green, energy efficient analog ICs. Jazz's modular process technology offers significant power and efficiency savings over standard CMOS. The SBC18 platform incorporates high speed, standard, and high breakdown SiGe Bipolar transistors, or SiGe NPNs, for low noise, high switching speeds and better linearity than can be achieved with a typical 0.18-micron CMOS offering, for applications where those features are required. For a given performance level, Jazz's SiGe NPN provides up to 30% power savings over standard CMOS for high speed precision analog circuits using Current Mode Logic (CML). Jazz also announced a Vertical PNP (VPNP) module for SBC18 which can be paired with a SiGe NPN to enable the design of analog circuits that require high voltage, complementary drive or amplification beyond the capability of standard CMOS. Jazz's VPNP showcases a low capacitance, high current drive, and high breakdown voltage that enable up to 30% efficiency improvements yielding power and die area savings for output stage and power applications.
Tower Semi strengthens analog-intensive mixed signal foundry service with Jazz acquisition
Creating what the companies believe is the leading specialty pure-play foundry with trailing 12 month revenues of $443 million, the two foundries are coming together to offer specialty processes including CMOS image sensors (visible and non-visible), radio frequency (RF CMOS, SiGe and BiCMOS) and power management (CMOS and BCD). With operational facilities now spanning the globe with three fully owned fabrication facilities in the US and Israel, along with an ownership interest in a fab in China, Tower believes this is a significant opportunity to boost its revenue and realize as much as $40 million in annual cost savings through synergies of the combined businesses. We are confident that we will realize significant benefits and synergies, including a comprehensive process portfolio which expands our addressable market and fuels a growing and more diversified customer base with highly differentiated product platforms, commented Russell Ellwanger, CEO of Tower, in a statement.
Tower Semi buys Jazz Technologies
Expanding its efforts in the specialty foundry arena, Tower Semiconductor Ltd. has signed a deal to acquire Jazz Technologies Inc. The move will expand Tower's worldwide presence. In an interview, an executive from Jazz insisted that the merger makes sense. The technologies from Tower and Jazz are ''complementary'' -- and not competitive, said Chuck Fox, vice president of sales and marketing of Jazz. The companies bring together Tower's strength in CMOS image sensor, non-volatile memory and RF CMOS with Jazz's expertise in mixed signal, power management and RF. ''The acquisition creates economies of scale, which allows for improved margins and strongly complements our specialty process offering, transforming us into the leading specialty pure-play foundry,'' said Russell Ellwanger, CEO of Tower, in a statement.
Varactor libraries enable faster time to market
The MOSVAR varactor model libraries in its 0.13 and 0.18-micron analog-intensive mixed-signal technology platforms target wireless and other communication products. The model improves simulation accuracy while reducing product development time.
The varactor model incorporates recent advances in MOS device physics and modeling and is compatible with the PSP MOSFET model. In addition, it provides MOS varactor specific gate current models and physical geometry and process parameter based parasitic modeling.
Richard Nakajima to manage Jazz Semiconductor's Japan business
Richard Nakajima of RF Design Services company Cubic Micro has been named as Japan country manager for Jazz Semiconductor. Mr. Nakajima will work from Cubic Micro's base in Japan and will provide sales, marketing and business development expertise to the specialist foundry's Japanese operations.
"Richard Nakajima has an extensive background in foundry services and a record of high achievement," said Chuck Fox, VP of Sales and Marketing for Jazz Semiconductor. "I am confident his leadership and experience will help the sales team address our Japanese customers' needs more effectively, and drive Jazz's next growth phase in Japan's RF, power, and high precision analog markets."
BCD Process Enables 50 Percent Power Die Size Reduction
Jazz Semiconductor has developed enhancements to its advanced Bipolar CMOS DMOS (BCD) process platform including the addition of an ultra low Rdson scalable NLDMOS device enables up to a 50 percent shrink in die size in most power devices. The 0.18 µm BCD process adds the combination of high density 1.8-V digital CMOS with the higher voltage drivers required for highly integrated Power SOC designs. The high-voltage BCD process is available in scales from 0.5µ to 0.18µ with features including VIA stacking, thick top power metal (3 µm) for improved current-carrying capacity, ESD protection circuits, and triple well isolation.
Jazz Releases Advanced MOS Varactor Model Libraries for Wireless Products
Jazz Semiconductor recently announced the release of MOSVAR model libraries in its 0.13 and 0.18-micron AIMS technology platforms targeting wireless and other communication products. The new model improves simulation accuracy reducing product development time and is integrated as a standard component in Jazz’s Design Enablement platform that also includes the previously announced Jazz Inductor Toolbox (JIT) and X-Sigma statistical simulation suite.
Avnera Utilizes Jazz's 0.18-Micron RFCMOS Process for Wireless Music and Voice Chips
Jazz Semiconductor, a subsidiary of Jazz Technologies, and Avnera, a fabless semiconductor company developing the breakthrough AvneraAudio technology for wired-quality wireless audio, announced that Avnera utilized Jazz's 0.18-micron RFCMOS process (CA18), to develop its semiconductor chip technology for wireless speakers, microphones, headphones and headsets that solves the interference problems that have plagued wireless audio for decades.
The companies noted that Avnera's design approach, coupled with Jazz Semiconductor's process technology, has enabled a low-cost, high-quality and easy-to-use wireless audio solution that delivers CD-quality sound without interference and operates like a plug-and-play unit all on a single piece of silicon.
MEMS the word for timing chips
But MEMS startups must move before quartz-crystal giants roll their own
Today, quartz crystals provide the heartbeat for nearly every electronic system, with annual volumes approaching 10 billion units. Electronic circuitry alone cannot generate the precisely spaced pulses that keep gates in synchronization in digital systems, or the rock-solid oscillations that keep analog frequencies tuned. In this sense, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) represent the final frontier in microminiaturization--downsizing this necessary mechanical reference signal from the millimeter scale of quartz crystals to the nanoscale of integrated circuits. For now, SiTime is (one of the leaders) in microelectromechanical-system chips for timing applications and went into volume production last year with chips that are pin-for-pin compatible with the quartz-crystal oscillators that today sell in the billions of units annually. SiTime is a well-funded fabless CMOS chip maker using foundry Jazz Semiconductor for the SiT8002.
TowerJazz, the global specialty foundry leader, specializes in manufacturing analog integrated circuits for more than 300 customers worldwide in growing markets such as automotive, medical, industrial, consumer and aerospace and defense, among others. more information