Texas Instruments Inc. is readying the first components based on a new process technology the company believes will provide 20 times greater integration of digital logic with analog functions.
Slated for a second quarter introduction, the BiCom-II process will enable the integration of high-performance bipolar analog with CMOS logic for increased performance of mixed-signal devices at lower power consumption, said Jim Quarfoot, senior member of the technical staff for TI's advanced analog products.
"This is the next step in our evolution of analog and mixed-signal processes," Quarfoot said. "In the past, analog and digital technologies were still worlds apart. TI's BiCom-II process has brought these worlds together, and future process development will bring them even closer."
The new process is expected to benefit such products as cable and digital subscriber line drivers and receivers, operational amplifiers, and programmable gain amplifiers.
The BiCom-II process is an extension of TI's BiCom-I process introduced about three years ago. While BiCom-I was based on a 30-V process, and produced devices running primarily on ??15 V, the analog portion of the BiCom-II is a 15-V process that can operate at ??5 V. The process has also added a mask for 5-V CMOS capability.
"We can now put very compact, high-density logic on any of the devices, along with high-speed analog," Quarfoot said.
The on-chip CMOS logic functions require less silicon area, are less costly, and consume less power than traditional bipolar logic, he said. This will allow BiCom-II-manufactured devices to support CMOS logic functions with 20 times the gate density of previous processes. It will enable a library of standard digital functions to be integrated with analog blocks, as well as the use of standard digital design tools, he said.
The process also uses thin-film resistors, dielectric isolation of transistors for improved noise immunity between analog and digital circuits, and laser-trimmable metal links.