Tech Demos Served With Music and Food: An Overview of Silicon Players That Matter


The marketing folks were out in force at the Common Platform gathering. At least 15 booths were spit polished and decked out in their finest to attract customers needing electronic device pieces, parts and services.

Music and delicious finger foods tempted attendees as they wandered the exhibits. The alliance of IBM, Samsung, and GlobalFoundries drew several exhibitors to show off their wares. 

Unfortunately, on-site photographs were verboten, but here is a snapshot of what those companies purport to do. You might want to look them in depth at their websites.

This article highlights the following companies: Uniquify, True Circuits, Inc, Toppan, STATS ChipPAC, Sidense Corporation, S3 Group, MOSIS, Magma, Kilopass Technology, Helic, DNP -Dai Nippon Printing, ASE Group, Aragio Solutions, Apache, Analog Bits, Alvand Technologies and Albany Nanotech. Read on for a thumbnail sketch of the players involved in today’s leading edge technologies.

Let’s start with STATSChipPAC which provides semiconductor design, bump, probe, packaging, test and distribution solutions for communications, computer and consumer markets. Their services include advanced process technology in wafer level, flip chip and 3D packaging.

They claim several firsts related to embedded wafer level ball grid array (eWLB) manufacturing, such as innovative second generation side-by-side devices embedded in a package. The design advantage is that the package size is larger than the silicon die in order to provide sufficient area for the interconnection of the package to the application board.

The second booth in our tour was Uniquify whose fingers are in 65nm, 40nm, 32nm and 28nm process technologies. They provide ASIC design and intellectual property (IP) solutions through Perseus, an ASIC methodology. They claim the only DDR IP that guarantees chip and system yield via their patented feature Self-Calibrating Logic (SCL) and dynamic SCL.

Moving along we came to True Circuits Inc. (TCI) which delivers high performance and general purpose timing IP in off the shelf and fully customized versions. They have a large portfolio of PLL and DLL IP on 90nm and 65nm processes.

They come in a range of frequencies, multiplication factors, sizes and functions for the latest DDR, SerDes, video and other interface standards. While enjoying the trio of musicians, we continued around the room.

ASE Group develops and offers a wide portfolio of technology and solutions. They include IC test program design, front-end engineering test, wafer probe and bump, substrate and IC assembly. Continuing, they provide final test and electronic manufacturing services. ASE also has copper wire bond solutions.

Our next stop was Sidense Corp which provides secure, very dense and reliable non-volatile, one-time programmable (OTP) memory IP for use in standard-logic CMOS processes without additional masks or process steps. It is an alternative to Flash, mask ROM and eFuse in many OTP and multi time programmable (MTP) applications. The OTP is available from 180nm down to 40nm and scalable to 28nm and below.

The services of S3 Group facilitate design and delivery of next-generation devices, systems and services aimed at consumers at home and on the road. With Ireland headquarters and worldwide offices, S3 services IC designers and product managers with a portfolio of high performance silicon proven mixed-signal IP, and design assistance for power-efficient single-chip systems.

MOSIS is a low-cost prototyping and low-medium volume production semiconductor foundry service. MOSIS provides designers with a single interface to the constantly changing technologies and options available from the semiconductor industry. In addition to MPW (multi project wafer) services, MOSIS also offers the option to provide dedicated engineering runs and full production wafers in low-medium quantities.

Magma Design Automation helps chip companies create high-performance integrated circuits (ICs) for a wide range of applications. At the forum, they presented Talus-based RTL-to-GDSII reference flows for the Common Platform 28nm process that features Talus Power Pro for low-power and Hydra for hierarchical design. They also provided information on timing analysis, circuit simulation, and analog design.

>Magma Fastest Path to Silicon scheme

Kilopass Technology designs, develops, and delivers innovative, embedded non-volatile memory (NVM) silicon intellectual property for SOC applications. An OTP, extra-permanent XPM memory family goes up to 1Mb and is manufactured in standard logic CMOS processes from 180nm to 40nm.

Kilopass introduced Gusto, the industry’s first 4Mb embedded non-volatile memory, which enables on-chip code storage in standard CMOS logic. The product has been named one of this year’s DesignVision Award Finalists. The Awards honor the achievements of innovative semiconductor companies, prominent visionaries and successful design tools in the industry.

Across the aisle was Apache which provides power, noise, and reliability solutions for chip-package-system convergence from RTL power analysis and reduction, to early state prototyping and optimization through chip and package sign off. For advanced process nodes, Apache delivers reliability solutions including ESD/EM verification.

Helic was another company involved in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software tools and IP geared towards higher levels of miniaturization for semiconductor-based wireless and broadband systems. They provide rapid electromagnetic modeling and high frequency synthesis and extraction/verification technologies. Sushi was am
ong the finger foods we enjoyed while perusing the showroom. Coincidentally, we came to Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) out of Tokyo Japan still licking rice off our fingers. 

The company was founded in 1876 printing newspapers aimed at spreading Buddhist and Shinto teachings. In 1946, they began printing new Bank of Japan notes. In 1965, they developed a gravure technique for printing on cloth. Over the centuries, DNP has stayed ahead of the technology curve. In 1985, they developed read-only optical cards with large memory capacities. In 1999, came ultra-high density multi-layered substrates for use in BGA/MCM semiconductor packages. 2005 saw the establishment of their Nano Science Research Center. In the Common Platform exhibit hall, they were showing off their expertise in photomask technology through R&D and advanced manufacturing capacity.

Aragio Solutions in Plano, Texas is an IP provider of I/O library solutions and ESD protection solutions for I/O libraries used on numerous CMOS processes. They have developed ESD protection and high latch-up immunity IP for system interface circuits directed at standard interfaces such as USB 2.0, DDR2/DDR3, mDDR/LPDDR2, and LVDS. Aragio also provides analog and high bandwidth connectivity circuitry which is available for 90nm through 0.25 micron processes. They utilize EDA tools from Synopsys and Mentor Graphics.

Analog Bits designs customized transistor level IP components for integration into modern CMOS digital chips. Products include precision clocking macros such as PLLs, DLLs, programmable interconnect solutions such as multi-protocol SerDes, DDR/programmable I/Os and specialized memories such as high-speed SRAMs, T-CAMs.

Alvand Technologies specializes in high-speed, low-power and ultra small die area data converters (ADC/DAC) and Analog Front End (AFE) for a broad range of applications. The applications address wireless (Wi-Fi, WiMAX, LTE) and wireline (10GBASE-T) communication systems, ultrasound, mobile TV and advanced semiconductor inspection equipment. Alvand develops its own evaluation boards, like the one seen on the right.

Alvand’s smartCAP is a collection of patented and proprietary Metal-Oxide-Metal (MOM) capacitor structures and design flow that is utilized in their IPs. The California company lays claim to being the first IP provider to deliver PLL products on the new 28nm low power Common Platform process. Only five years old, the company’s first year and all those since have been profitable.

Toppan Printing is another legacy Japanese printing company that began in 1900 using cutting-edge printing technology of the day, the Erhört letterpress (galvanoglyph). They now provide photomasks to the semiconductor industry. They have worldwide service and support for every step of the production process, including the AMTC partnership between themselves and GlobalFoundries in Dresden for providing advanced photomasks. The company recently extended a joint development agreement with IBM for leading-edge photomask process, covering the 14nm technology node for logic devices.

Exhibiting in a back corner, we found the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) that we recently introduced. CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience and nanoeconomics. Located in Albany New York, the complex with its cleanrooms is utilized by many global companies.