X-FAB Announces Upgrade of its Substrate Coupling Analysis Tool to Include BCD-on-SOI Process – EEJournal

Tessenderlo, Belgium – April 20, 2022

X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE, the leader in analog/mixed and specialty foundry, has expanded the scope of its SubstrateXtractor tool, through which unwanted substrate coupling effects can be examined. It is the first foundry in the world to offer this analysis function for a BCD-on-SOI process. with the company XT018 BCD technology on SOI 180 nm Now supported, X-FAB complements the XH018 and XP018 180 nm CMOS processes for which the tool was originally designed. Thanks to the use of the new version of SubstrateXtractor, it is possible to accelerate the development of products related to SOI, avoiding the need for several iterations.

The initial SubstrateXtractor, developed by X-FAB in collaboration with an EDA partner PN Solutions (and is based on its widely used PNAware product), was launched in 2019. By using it, customers have been able to solve coupling problems caused by interactions between active and passive elements in semiconductor substrates (which these elements are part of the circuit itself or present in a parasitic way). This has proven to be very beneficial, resulting in faster time-to-market for customer projects. Support for SOI processes is based on the PNAwareRC Tool by PN Solutions and further increases the capabilities of the platform and broadens its appeal.

The BOX/DTI functionalities of the X-FAB XT018 process make it possible to isolate the constituent functional blocks of the chip from each other. This can apply to sensitive analog blocks that need to be decoupled from digital blocks, or low noise amplifiers that need to be isolated from high voltage control circuits. It also facilitates multi-channel implementations, as the XT018 circuitry is efficiently placed in its own separate substrate, reducing crosstalk.

SubstrateXtractor’s ability to analyze substrate couplings in SOI-based ICs will be invaluable. Although active silicon islands in SOI processes can be completely dielectrically isolated by BOX and DTI, passive R and C couplings can still be present. Using this updated tool, a passive RC network can be extracted for the lateral and vertical coupling paths resulting from DTI and BOX. These passive coupling networks can be simulated in order to assess their impact on the integrated circuit. The primary applications for this additional post-implantation extraction will be in high-current, high-voltage devices used in industrial and automotive systems.

“Substrate coupling mitigation is a challenging task, and with support for parasitic element extraction related to our XT018 BCD-on-SOI process, customers will be able to simulate the coupling of blocks of circuit and identify interferences that will impair performance.” says Lars Bergmann, Director of Design Assistance at X-FAB. “This will be of particular interest in situations where very large interference voltages are involved or for high frequencies in the single-digit GHz range.”

About X-FAB
X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal and MEMS foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for automotive, industrial, consumer, medical and other applications. Its customers around the world benefit from the highest quality standards, manufacturing excellence and innovative solutions using X-FAB’s modular CMOS and SOI processes in geometries ranging from 1.0 µm to 130 nm, and its special silicon carbide and long life MEMS processes. X-FAB’s analog-to-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs), sensors and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) are manufactured at six production sites in Germany, France, Malaysia and the United States. X-FAB employs over 4,000 people worldwide. www.xfab.com

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