Enpirion's Liakopoulos notes that his company's
combination of these existing technologies will make power management on
CMOS wafers more common and less expensive.
electroplating methods, it is possible to cost effectively deposit
photo-lithographically defined [Fe-Co alloy] magnetic cores on silicon
wafers," Liakopoulos said. The technology has been transferred and
embedded in a volume wafer production facility earlier this year,
Liakopoulos said. The alloy is part of Enpirion's noise sensitive, low
power POL DC-DC converters, the 1 Amp EL711 and the 1,5 Amp EL712.
Enpirion’s wafer level magnetics inductor showing multiple layers of FCA around copper
to its published roadmap, Enpirion's next milestone will be adding
copper on its Fe-Co alloy on silicon to allow 12kW per inch3.
The company says it has plans to continue shrinking packages to roughly
a quarter of the current size and increasing the kilowatts output to 50
kW per inch3 at frequencies higher than 40 mHz by layering multi-FCA and Dielectric on silicon sometime in 2016.
The picture above is a comparison of the "big" discrete inductors and the wafer level micro-inductors they sit on.
The announcement is about the capability to incorporate magnetic alloy with wafer processing to make such MEMS inductors possible.
Well, yes, but the passive being put on chip here is ferrite core inductors, which is a big deal, as it allows very large inductors needed for reasonably low frequency switching power supplies to be integrated.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.