SAN JOSE, Calif. Ė The first generation of analog products made in a sub-100nm analog process technology is about to debut from Maxim Integrated, an enabler for its integration strategy. In a wide-ranging interview, Maxim Integrated chief executive TunÁ Doluca talks about the new process, gives an update on his strategy and shares thoughts on Intel, Samsung and China.
Analog designs donít benefit from finer process technologies--in fact they become more problematic. Thus many designs are still made in 250 and 350 nm processes.
Maximís current ďworkhorseĒ is its 180nm process with support for 70-80V transistors, said Doluca. The same is roughly true for analog giant Texas Instruments and others such as On Semiconductor, said Stephan Ohr, analog analyst at Gartner Inc.
Maxim aims to differentiate itself by building application-specific, integrated analog and digital parts in addition to the standard analog building blocks made by competitors such as TI and Linear. The new Maxim process appears to be motivated by both types of designs.
Analyst Ohr speculates Maximís new process could use thinner vertical cell structures to reduce die area. Alternatively, it might be a planar process that doesnít require more area to support higher current, he said.
Doluca won several patents at Maxim, many on notebook power management designs.
Nice to see a dedicated analog engineer lead the company. It remains to be seen where Maxim grows in the MEMS business with SensorDynamics acquisition. Maxim can certainly leverage its presence in the automobile market.
"If you are in more complex products, then you can win and maintain the socket. Itís not something a competitor can deliver in six months."
Perhaps a bit obvious but also true. Easy to say but harder to do.