X-FAB process combines high voltage, high temperature and NVM features

March 20, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
X-Fab Silicon Foundries has developed a process module that adds high-temperature capability to the company's proven XH018 technology. The new XH018HT process module It offers the industry's first and only 0.18 micrometer platform with high temperature (HT), high voltage (HV) and non-volatile memory (NVM) capability. The module has been developed with the requirements of industrial customers, particularly automotive customers in mind.

The high-temperature extension and its new devices are ideal for use in automotive applications such as control devices inside combustion engine compartments or electric engine housings, the company said. In addition, they are suited for automotive applications with operating voltages of up to 45V. The flexible combination with other existing process features also provides a unique offering for motor control and power management or power-conversion applications for a wide range of voltages in industrial, medical and consumer systems. 

The XH018 high-temperature process module extends the operation temperature range of the integrated circuits (ICs) to +175°C and requires no additional mask layers, making it very cost-efficient. The added primitive devices include 10V and 20V transistors and symmetrical high-voltage transistors that enable designers to facilitate their designs and product development. An 18V Schottky diode that can be used for charge pumps and as an ESD protection device to prevent electrostatic discharge complements the new HV transistors. 

X-FAB CTO Jens Kosch explained the significance of the announcement. “High-temperature operating conditions can wreak havoc on the ability of devices to function reliably. However, with the XH018 HT extension we enable our customers to develop products in new application areas even under those extreme conditions. The robust architecture of the process and the extensive characterization and modeling we applied to provide such new devices ensure they will function properly, with extended lifetime and less degradation. In addition, because more and more applications also require reliable integration of non-volatile memory function, we developed a solution for how our NVM IP blocks can be used in these extended operating conditions. Our resulting embedded Flash, NVRAM and TrimOTP blocks for high-temperature use will add even more flexibility and reliability for our customers' products.” 

The design support for the XH018 HT module embraces a process design kit (PDK), full model documentation and primitive device libraries for Cadence 6.1 and accurate device models for major SPICE simulation tools. In addition