National Semiconductor Corp. has acquired the operations of Vivid Semiconductor Inc., a flat-panel display design company in Chandler, Ariz.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Privately-held Vivid's 25 engineers will remain in Chandler, and National said it plans to expand the group substantially by hiring more analog and mixed-signal design engineers, and to make the Vivid facility one of National's global design centers.
National wants to take advantage of Vivid's patented technique for fabricating high-voltage semiconductor devices using standard low-voltage digital CMOS processes. This technology increases the performance of display drivers built into liquid crystal displays.
The Vivid technology also increases National's capability to run high-voltage designs on its standard CMOS processes at its fab in South Portland, Maine. Vivid also developed and patented a data-bus architecture for LCDs it calls WhisperBus, which both improves display performance and reduces electromagnetic interference effects.
"Vivid's advanced technologies and outstanding engineering team will greatly enhance National's efforts in innovating new solutions for the flat-panel display market," said Patrick J. Brockett, executive vice president and general manager of National's Analog Group, in a statement. "Vivid's products and intellectual property fit like a glove to complement our existing capabilities and programs in serving the flat panel display market," he added.
National has targeted flat panel displays as a key market segment. Forecasts for 2001 indicate sales of up to 38.5 million high-performance flat-panel units, up from 28.4 million units in 2000, according to market research from DisplaySearch Inc., Austin, Texas.
Samsung Electronics, the largest vendor of flat-panel displays, recently partnered with National to create a new standard for ultralight and ultrathin flat-panel displays based on National's RSDS (reduced swing differential signal) technology. This offers substantially lower power consumption, weight and costs for portable applications like notebook computers and cell phones.