NEWS BRIEFS, October 2002

STMicro Claims Light-emitting Silicon Breakthrough

  STMicroelectronics of Geneva, Switzerland claims to have achieved a breakthrough in the creation of light-emitting silicon and said it would have engineering samples of monolithic silicon devices based on the technology, combining electrical isolation and optical communication, before the end of 2002.  The development allows silicon light emitters to match the efficiency of compound semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide for the first time, the company said.

STMicroelectronics light emitting silicon is based on the implanting of ions of rare-earth metals such as erbium or cerium, in a layer of silicon rich oxide (SRO), such as silicon dioxide enriched with silicon nanocrystals of one or two nanometers diameter.  The company has patented a structure in which two circuits, built on the same chip are electrically separated from each other by insulating silicon dioxide, but communicate via optical signals using integrated silicon light emitters and detectors.

Huawei Optical Gear Will Use Agere Chips

Agere Systems Inc. said that it had signed a multiyear deal with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., a leading Asian manufacturer of optical transport equipment, to provide chips for use in SONET, asynchronous transfer mode, and Gigabit Ethernet metropolitan equipment.  Based on this deal, Agere’s seven chip-level products, including pointer-processors, framers, and transceivers, will be ordered in volumes amounting to several million dollars.  Most of the Agere chips will be integrated directly into the line cards Huawei uses in its networking equipment.

Sharp Begins Volume Production of LCDs with Built-in ICs

Sharp Corp. is starting volume production this month of system LCD products that integrate logic into display panels at a facility in Tenri, Japan.  System LCDs have IC circuitry built into the display panel, and use a continuous grain silicon (CGS) technology that was developed by Sharp in collaboration with the Japanese Semiconductor Energy Laboratories.

CGS uses a thin layer of bonded silicon crystals on a glass substrate, and will enable large displays to be made.  The design allows processors and graphics chips to be built directly on to the glass substrate together with the crystals, an integration that's not possible with amorphous silicon.  In the Sharp substrate, there is a steady transition between the individual polysilicon crystals. Electronics in the CGS layer move around 600 times faster than in amorphous silicon crystals.  The technology will enable ultra thin mini displays to be built into chip cards, Sharp said.

Toshiba Reinforces its Semiconductor Production Capacity in China

Toshiba Corporation has announced moves to reinforce its ability to meet fast growing demand in the Chinese semiconductor market that include taking full control of a manufacturing joint venture and new manufacturing facilities.  The measures come into effect immediately and will allow them to speed-up decision making and meet growing demand with increased production capacity.  The company will take full control of Wuxi Huazhi Semiconductor, by purchasing the stake of its partner, Huajin Electronics Group, one of China's leading semiconductor manufacturers.  Toshiba will increase the capitalization of the company to $15 million and transfer operations to a newly developed industrial park at Wuxi, where a two-year, 5-billion yen investment program will raise capacity, currently 3 million units a month, to 30 million units a month.

National Semiconductor Unveils New High-speed Amplifiers

National Semiconductor has introduced two new amplifier chips.  The LMH6628 voltage feedback amplifier is the lowest-noise, 300MHz, 550V/usec slew rate, dual amplifier on the market, claimed by the company.   Its 2nV/÷Hz input voltage noise density makes it well suited for receiving small signals over long, twisted pair telephone lines such as VDSL applications.  The fast settling time of 12ns to 0.1% and low THD of -65dBc make it a good fit for 10-bit data acquisition systems.  The ability to drive heavy capacitive loads also makes the LMH6628 suitable for directly driving ADCs.  This allows the elimination of an additional buffer stage in the front end of many receiver applications.

The LMH6715 offers key video specifications with differential gain and phase (DG/DP) of only 0.02 % /0.02°.  The device's large signal, 3dB bandwidth of 170MHz at Av=+2 for a 4Vpp output and 0.1dB gain flatness to 100MHz make it well suited for high-end video systems.  It is able to drive 8Vpp from a 10V supply.  The improved AC parameters make the LMH6715 a good fit for many high-end consumer video applications such as video distribution systems, video cameras, video cable driving, multimedia systems and HDTV.