In a world where companies are flirting with seven-nanometer processes, 0.35 microns doesn’t sound like much to write home about. After all, 0.35 microns is the same as 350 nanometers!
But think about it this way: Those ultra-fine, ultra-sensitive seven-nanometer transistors are fine when dealing with a few volts and a couple of nanoamps. Try interfacing them to a 220-volt power supply at a couple of amps and, well, the results won’t be pretty.
In the context of MagnaChip's newest announcement, UHV (ultra-high voltage) is around 700 volts. This is usually the highest voltage encountered with a 220 volt supply powering a switched-mode power supply, after you add in the all the considerations ordinarily encountered.
MagnaChip’s New UHV Process
MagnaChip is a South Korean-based semiconductor foundry. Its new technology, which it has dubbed HP35ULC700 is an nLDMOS (n-channel laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor) process.
A representation of an nLDMOS. (a) A three-dimensional (3D) structure diagram, and (b) device cross-section view. Image from The National Center for Biotechnology Information Copyright © 2018 by the authors. [CC-BY 4.0]
Improvements Over Previous Processes
When compared to previous offerings, MagnaChip has reduced device sizes of its UHV nLDMOS devices by 30%. JFET devices have seen a 50% size reduction.
Additionally, the HP35ULC700 process requires seven fewer photolithographic steps then the company’s previous generation did. This was achieved by simplifying the front end process and through reducing the minimum metal number from two to one. This will serve to simplify manufacturing and thereby reducing overall costs.
Meeting a Wide Divergence of Requirements
UHV technologies have multiple requirements because of the divergent ways that high voltage application are handled in their various implementations. To cover all the bases, MagnaChip offers multiple UHV technologies that vary in terms of gate oxide schemes.
When high system integration is required, dual gate UHV technologies can be employed for low voltage, high voltage, as well as for ultra-high voltage devices. Alternatively, if low manufacturing costs are a must and control logic density is high, low-voltage single-gate oxide UHV technology can be employed.
There are also times when both top-notch high-voltage performance for driving external discrete high voltage MOSFETs and low costs are required. In such instances, high voltage single-gate oxide UHV technology is available.
Some regions, like the US, employ 110 VAC, and others employ 220 VAC. Because of this divergence, UHV devices with operating voltages of ranging from 350 volts up to 700 volts will fit the bill.
MagnaChip's fabrication facilities are located across South Korea. Image from MagnaChip
MagnaChip aims to provide integrated solutions incorporating devices ranging from 700 volt JFETs, Zener diodes, MIM (metal-insulator-metal) capacitors, and thin-film resistors.
As described by YJ Kim, MagnaChip’s Chief Executive Officer, “UHV technology is a key technology we are focused on as market demands for LED lighting and AC-DC converters remain to be strong.” Mr. Kim added, “We are continuing to develop additional UHV technologies to improve performances and cover more system requirements.”
Featured image from MagnaChip