Power Electronics

Data Points

Fairchild Offers Online Sampling Tool

Fairchild Semiconductor International recently introduced the Custom Power Solutions Sample Kit — an online tool for ordering power product samples. Hundreds of products specifically identified by their applicability to power conversion, power distribution, power management, and power minimization are sorted into categories for easy selection. This tool, along with online application and market information, allows designers to review analog, discrete, optoelectronic, logic, and interface power products and quickly select samples for their specific application.

For more information about this tool, visit www.fairchildsemi.com/power/samples.

New Technology Shrinks Transistor Size

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has developed a working transistor one-tenth the size of those currently produced. This process could potentially shrink transistors down to 9 nm, or 0.0001 the width of a human hair. TSMC said the company would one day commercially produce the transistor, but admitted it may be awhile before its availability.

Dubbed the FinFET, the transistor resembles the back fin of a fish in three dimensions. TSMC has improved its operational FinFET (with a gate length of 35 nm) by creating gate lengths below 25 nm — achieving even higher performance. Company researchers have also simulated the structure to operate within generally acceptable parameters at 9 nm.

The FinFET structure includes a second gate, closing both sides of a transistor's source-and-drain structure at the same time for better control and reduced leakage. According to TSMC, the new transistor technology could also allow chipmakers to continue using current CMOS processes for another two decades, eliminating the need to develop expensive new processes to boost computing power.

Infineon Acquires Ericsson Microelectronics

Ericsson, Stockholm, Sweden, and Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, have entered into a long-term strategic partnership. Infineon will acquire the core business of Ericsson Microelectronics (MIC), Ericsson's internal semiconductor supplier, for approximately Euro 400 million. The transaction will be executed in a share-based deal. Approval by the responsible antitrust authorities is pending, with closing expected during summer 2002.

This transaction makes Infineon a strategic supplier of important components for Ericsson in the areas of wireless infrastructure and mobile phones. Ericsson and Infineon will expand their cooperation for present and future wireless solutions — for instance, in the areas of 2.5G and 3G. The acquisition also allows Infineon to expand its business in Bluetooth solutions and radio frequency (RF) components for mobile phones as well as mobile infrastructure.

Visit www.infineon.com for more information.

Component Order Index Remains Stable

Electronic component orders remained stable midway through the second quarter, according to the monthly index from the Electronic Components, Assemblies & Materials Association (ECA). The four- to five-week index and the 12-month moving average converged in May, indicating industry stability.

“The index shows that we might be gaining some stability after the mercurial growth in 2000 and the low points of the second quarter in 2001,” said ECA president Bob Willis. “It's still early to judge anything from the small downturn in the four- to five-week index.”

Other industry indicators, such as the increase in manufacturing productivity and the semiconductor industry's positive book-to-bill ratio, point to a conservative recovery for electronic components.

“Most market information suggests slow growth through the end of the summer,” said Willis. “As the shelf life of many products in inventory expires and new products and designs come online, demand will increase in the late third quarter through the end of the year.”

The ECA represents manufacturers and producers of passive and active electronic components, component arrays and assemblies, and materials and support services.

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