Semiconductors at Work to Enhance our Lives

Mannu Mathew | Sub-Editor | ELE Times

Today’s concept of fine electronics is largely governed by the nature of Semiconductor used in it and the efficiency it offers. Since they are not directly sold in stores, people really find it difficult to understand its importance. A Semiconductors is one of the unique part of any electronic devices. For example, temperature sensors used in air conditioners are made with semiconductors. Rice cookers cook rice perfectly because semiconductors control the temperature precisely. CPUs that operate personal computers are also made with semiconductors. Many digital consumer products in everyday life such as mobile phones / smartphones, digital cameras, televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and LED bulbs also use semiconductors.

Apart from consumer products, they play a central role in the operation of bank ATMs, trains, the internet, communications and other parts of social infrastructure, such as the medical network used for the care of elderly, among other things. Furthermore, efficient logistics systems help save energy and promote the preservation of the global environment. The number of car-mounted semiconductor devices has been increasing steadily. There are many types of car-mounted semiconductors. Particularly for future ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), more semiconductors are expected to be used.

Automotive Electronics offers a very crucial role for semiconductors

The biggest revolution in this segment is preferably the autonomous car, already moving from concept to reality with a range of technologies now in place that help enable this capability. Autonomous vehicles rely on semiconductors for all electronic functions. Also known as integrated circuits or “chips,” semiconductors are the enabling hardware for all information technology and are essential for both the aforementioned sensors, LiDAR, and camera as well as software functions.

Automobiles increasingly consume semiconductors associated with on-board navigation systems, infotainment systems and ADAS and other safety features. As levels of automation increase, industry forecasts suggest that the average semiconductor content per car could increase more than 3,500 semiconductors per vehicle. Automotive semiconductors fall in to five general categories: analog, optoelectronics, discrete, logic and memory.

Over the years, many important developments have helped transform the inventions of luxurious and smart segment of automotive into the modern automobile. More recently, hybrid and all-electric engines have become more popular. Semiconductors are also involved in meeting regulations for safety, for example, by helping enable intelligent functions such as blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane change assist. Vehicle standards that attribute safety “star” ratings encourage manufacturers to incorporate more devices for safety and security systems.

Auto industry’s recent development continues with the inclusion of semiconductor technology in vehicle designs. Today’s cars are more sophisticated and more connected the average new vehicle has computer systems that run on over 100 million lines of software code. These include multichannel receivers and transmitters for radar solutions to help prevent crashes, sensors, microcontrollers, and RF transmitters in tire pressure monitoring systems and analog and digital signal processor. All the above mentioned features are today incorporated with the help of semiconductors only.

Role of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Internet of Things

Today, artificial intelligence can be installed on various tools to aid with chip inspection, increase yields, and improve the quality assurance process. The advanced analytic capabilities allow semiconductor companies to identify problems in many cases without the need for bringing on several teams of highly specialized and expensive process engineers to run trial runs to identify these problems which can be extremely hard to spot in a process that involves the study of thousands of parameters that may be used in various combinations. Intelligent technologies today offer significant advantages over more traditional manufacturing environments. Advanced analytic capabilities permit to reduce manufacturing errors by identifying and testing possible points of failure throughout the manufacturing chain, to optimize various processes, and to improve yield and reliability by simulating runs. Moreover, the use of IoT sensors that are becoming omnipresent on tools and manufacturing lines allows manufacturers to identify sources of chip or equipment failure.

Let us also have a look at what the industry offers in terms of more reliability and efficiency:

Toshiba Automotive AEC-Q101 Qualified Power MOSFETs

Toshiba Automotive AEC-Q101 Qualified Power MOSFETs is an extensive lineup of Power MOSFETs to cover various automotive applications in 12V to 48V battery systems. With performance and reliability, all of Toshiba’s automotive products go above and beyond AEC-Q101 standards.

Vishay V35PW22 High Current Density TMBS Rectifiers

Vishay V35PW22 High Current Density Trench MOS Barrier Schottky (TMBS) Rectifiers offer 200V maximum repetitive peak reverse voltage (VRRM) with a 35A maximum average forward rectified current rating (IF(AV)). These devices use Vishay’s Trench MOS Schottky technology and offer low forward voltage drop, low power losses, and high-efficiency operation. Each of these Vishay V35PW22 devices are available as AEC-Q101 qualified.

ON Semiconductor AFGHL40T65SQD & AFGHL50T65SQD IGBTs

ON Semiconductor AFGHL40T65SQD and AFGHL50T65SQD IGBTs are 4th generation, high-speed field-stop IGBTs ideal for automotive applications. The AFGHL40T65SQD and AFGHL50T65SQD IGBTs offer higher reliability and optimum performance for both hard and soft switching.

Infineon Technologies CoolSiC Trench MOSFETs

Infineon Technologies CoolSiC Trench MOSFETs offer power density, efficiency, and cooling with lower static, and dynamic losses compared to Si-IGBT. These MOSFETs can lower system costs of solar applications and the running costs of UPS systems. The temperature behavior, threshold voltage selection, and Vgs_on make the device easy to operate, in particular for operation in parallel.

Renesas Electronics RL78/G1P 16-Bit Single-Chip MCUs

Renesas Electronics RL78/G1P 16-Bit Single-Chip Microcontrollers feature a 10-bit D/A converter with a general-purpose RL78 lineup, and a 12-bit A/D converter. The Renesas Electronics RL78/G1P MCUs offer a true low-power platform of 66µA/MHz (0.31uA for LVD) for general-purpose and sensor control applications.

Vicor PI332x-00 DC/DC ZVS Buck Regulators

Vicor PI332x-00 DC/DC ZVS Buck Regulators are high-input-voltage, wide-input-range DC/DC ZVS Buck regulators integrating controller, power switches, and support components all within a high-density System-in-Package (SiP). The integration of a high-performance Zero-Voltage Switching (ZVS) topology within the Vicor PI332x-00 series increases point-of-load performance, providing best-in-class power efficiency.

Analog Devices Inc. ADM2561E RS-485 Transceiver

Analog Devices Inc. ADM2561E RS-485 Transceiver is a 3kVRMS signal and power isolated device, with an integrated DC-DC converter optimized for low Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). The integrated DC-DC converter eliminates the need for an external isolated power supply. The isolation barrier provides immunity to system-level Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards.

Mini-Circuits ZX60-63GLN+ Low Noise Coaxial Amplifier

Mini-Circuits ZX60-63GLN+ Low Noise Coaxial Amplifier provides a unique combination of low noise figure, high IP3, and flat gain over a very wide 1.8GHz to 6.0GHz frequency range. The ZX60-63GLN+ supports a wide range of sensitive, high-dynamic-range receiver applications and is ideal for systems where high performance over wideband is needed.

Qorvo QPF4550 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 Front End Module

Qorvo QPF4550 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 Front End Module (FEM) is designed for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) systems. The QPF4550 features a 5150MHz to 5925MHz frequency range and provides up to 30dB transmit gain with a low 2.1dB noise figure. The compact form factor and integrated matching of the QPF4550 minimizes the layout area in an application.

Swissbit Secure Boot Solution for Raspberry Pi

Swissbit Secure Boot Solution for Raspberry Pi consists of PS-45u DP microSDHC memory cards and PU-50n DP USB flash drive. These memory devices feature Raspberry Pi boot loader protection, user data encryption and boot code, authentication, and many configurable security policies. The PS-45u memory cards offer a sequential read speed of up to 17MBps and a sequential write speed of up to 13MBps.

Focus Foreseen

The most profound global trend driving the growth of semiconductor is the data. There is the IoT, data centers, servers, in-memory and Big Data, HDDs, DRAM and NAND, as well as the wireless and the wired infrastructures. There is data creation, processing, transmission and storage. Industrial, automotive and mobile will also be driving Industry 4.0 as well. We do have autonomous vehicles moving around, and a lot of technologies to experiment with. The large quantities of data being generated is also driving 5G and antennae. There are huge investments being made in the cloud and datacenters as decision making is also becoming very timing sensitive.

Pervasive intelligence is a key driver. It is about autonomous systems, intelligent edge and cloud compute, and intelligent networks and mobile devices. One can have autonomous cars, trucks, mining equipment, drones, robots, and personal assistants, etc. These can do predictive maintenance, embedded electronics, video surveillance, medical diagnostics coupled with AR, consumer data analytics, and provide business intelligence.

With the advent of Machine Learning, and the need to process specific streams of data, there are a large number of startups coming up with normal architectures targeted to meet these challenges. Growth of Semiconductors is driven on a faster scale. There are design elements in the intelligent systems. It involves data processing of Big Data, computer vision, and speech processing, decision and control in planning, control and safety, and connectivity in wireless, networking and security. All have ML as a common element making the consumption of semiconductors more towards achievements.

By Mannu Mathew | Sub-Editor | ELE Times

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