In the latest ASN posting by Dr. Eric Mounier of Yole Developpement, “SOI for MEMS: A Promising Material”, he notes that SOI MEMS is growing at a CAGR (2011-2015) of 15.6%, compared to 8.1% for bulk silicon-based solutions.
MEMS designers are doing amazing things on SOI – which would explain that impressive growth rate.
One of my favorites is Debiotech’s tiny insulin NanopumpTM targeting diabetes, fabbed by ST. As Debiotech’s Laurent-Dominique Piveteau noted, “…the use of SOI wafers for fabricating the Nanopump MEMS device has significant medical and economic advantages. The SOI-based structure allows for the highest reliability in the smallest possible package, enabling very tight control and precision of the pumping mechanism. The flow rate is steady, and it is insensitive to pressure, temperature, viscosity and aging. It also offers extreme dosing precision.”
Reasons cited by other contributors for using SOI for MEMS include:
But the bottom line is that it’s the most cost-effective solution for their state-of-the-art MEMS devices.
MEMS also figure in two of the most recent ASN Buzz postings:
In the next few weeks, we’ll also be posting a new article by Soitec on their Smart Stacking(tm) technology for the next generation of MEMS with pre-etched cavities, among other things.
If you’d like to see more of the why’s and wherefore’s of SOI-MEMS apps, just type “MEMS” into ASN’s search engine. You’ll get dozens of pieces from and about leaders like ST, ADI, Denso, VTI, Tronics, IBM and more.
It’s a pretty fragmented world, still, so if you know cool SOI-MEMS apps we should be covering, would you let me know?
45nm SOI is a big part of the big news from the Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona last week. That’s because Freescale’s newly announced QorIQ Qonverge is the “base-station on a chip” in the Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio™ technology, which was the talk of the show. (See the video.)
The Bell Labs guys came up with what they’re calling the lightRadio cube. It doesn’t need a big tower nor a lot of power. In fact it fits in the palm of the hand – and that’s where the Freescale chip comes in.
“Freescale is collaborating with Alcatel-Lucent to provide the chip-based architectures through our new system-on-chip technology that supports the highly-flexible, multi-standard, programmable capability required to make lightRadio a reality,” explains Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group.
A chip that fits the equivalent of a hut full of equipment into a box the size of a Rubik’s cube was key. It could enable the industry to expand wireless coverage as easily downtown as in rural villages – without building more towers.
“Freescale’s innovative QorIQ Qonverge platform provides the integration, performance, energy efficiency and unmatched scalability that our new lightRadio™ product portfolio requires,” explained Wim Sweldens, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Division. “Game-changing products like lightRadio disaggregate the base station between the network and the wideband active antenna, produce dramatic cost savings and need components that provide giant leaps forward such as Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge technology.”
So why 45nm SOI?
Freescale’s Mike Mendicino (who’s also now on the Board of Director’s for the SOI Consortium) explained it for ASN readers a couple of years ago.
“Freescale was the first embedded processing company to roll out new devices for communications and networking markets in 45nm SOI technology, taking advantage of its excellent power-to-performance capabilities,” he said.
“For developers of telecom equipment, for example, QorIQ-based microprocessor technology can help reduce the bill-of-material (BOM) costs in a typical 3-sector, 10MHz LTE (“long-term evolution”) base station by as much as 60 percent, while simultaneously reducing power consumption by 50 percent. Plus, the 45nm parts deliver enough performance to support double the number of users over the previous generation solution.”
Here’s the slide that says it all:
As Mike said, “The results are astonishing.”
Just in time, too, as Bell Labs predicts 30x more wireless data traffic by 2015. Which explains why the analyst firm Infonetics projects radio access network base station spending to be $197 billion worldwide over the next four years.
Thanks in large part to SOI, that could be handled without a forest of towers. Doesn’t that sound good?
Freescale has launched a new QorIQ Qonverge portfolio, integrating DSP and communications processor technologies on 45nm SOI for a true “base station-on-chip”. Infonetics projects the radio access network base station market will reach $197 billion worldwide by 2015.
Freescale, which now builds all its 45nm chips on SOI, announced seven new QorIQ communications processors in H2, including:
• the P1023/1017 and P2040, spanning single- to eight-cores and frequencies from 400MHz to 2.2 GHz;
• the P3041 processor in the new quad-core P3 platform for low power apps;
• a new 64-bit platform with the single-core P5010 and dual-core P5020;
• the energy-efficient P1010 for factory equipment, digital video recorders, storage products and more.
New SOI-based products from Freescale:
• the MSC825x family of programmable DSPs delivers the optimal blend of low cost and the industry’s highest performing core for a broad range of medical, aerospace/defense and test/measurement applications.
• the QorIQ P1012/P1021 for communications equipment applications – the first processors based on its QorIQ communications platform that also incorporate QUICC Engine multiprotocol technology.
Freescale’s highly successful QorIQ™ line of communications processors leverages 45nm SOI for power & performance at the right price.
Last year, Freescale launched a new line of communications platforms on 45nm SOI under the QorIQ™ (pronounced “Core IQ”) brand name. As the industry leader, Freescale has shipped 250 million communications processors over the years. With QorIQ, Freescale is carrying forward proven IP from its industry-leading PowerQUICC family, as well as building new innovations into the QorIQ platforms.