Published on Jan 03, 2023
The history of semiconductor devices starts in 1930's when Lienfed and Heil first proposed the mosfet. However it took 30 years before this idea was applied to functioning devices to be used in practical applications, and up to the late 1980 this trend took a turn when MOS technology caught up and there was a cross over between bipolar and MOS share.
CMOS was finding more wide spread use due to its low power dissipation, high packing density and simple design, such that by 1990 CMOS covered more than 90% of total MOS scale.
In 1983 bipolar compatible process based on CMOS technology was developed and BiCMOS technology with both the MOS and bipolar device fabricated on the same chip was developed and studied. The objective of the BiCMOS is to combine bipolar and CMOS so as to exploit the advantages of both at the circuit and system levels. Since 1985, the state-of-the-art bipolar CMOS structures have been converging.
Today BiCMOS has become one of the dominant technologies used for high speed, low power and highly functional VLSI circuits especially when the BiCMOS process has been enhanced and integrated in to the CMOS process without any additional steps. Because the process step required for both CMOS and bipolar are similar, these steps cane be shared for both of them.
The concept of system-on-chip (SOC) has evolved as the number of gates available to a designer has increased and as CMOS technology has migrated from a minimum feature size of several microns to close to 0.1 µm. Over the last decade, the integration of analog circuit blocks is an increasingly common feature of SOC development, motivated by the desire to shrink the number of chips and passives on a PC board. This, in turn, reduces system size and cost and improves reliability by requiring fewer components to be mounted on a PC board. Power dissipation of the system also improves with the elimination of the chip input-output (I/O) interconnect blocks.
Superior matching and control of integrated components also allows for new circuit architectures to be used that cannot be attempted in multi-chip architectures. Driving PC board traces consume significant power, both in overcoming the larger capacitances on the PC board and through larger signal swings to overcome signal cross talk and noise on the PC board. Large-scale microcomputer systems with integrated peripherals, the complete digital processor of cellular phone, and the switching system for a wire-line data-communication system are some of the many applications of digital SOC systems.
Examples of analog or mixed-signal SOC devices include analog modems; broadband wired digital communication chips, such as DSL and cable modems; Wireless telephone chips that combine voice band codes with base band modulation and demodulation function; and ICs that function as the complete read channel for disc drives. The analog section of these chips includes wideband amplifiers, filters, phase locked loops, analog-to-digital converters, digital-to-analog converters, operational amplifiers, current references, and voltage references.
Many of these systems take advantage of the digital processors in an SOC chip to auto-calibrate the analog section of the chip, including canceling de offsets and reducing linearity errors within data converters. Digital processors also allow tuning of analog blocks, such as centering filter-cutoff frequencies. Built-in self-test functions of the analog block are also possible through the use of on-chip digital processors.
Analog or mixed-signal SOC integration is inappropriate for designs that will allow low production volume and low margins. In this case, the nonrecurring engineering costs of designing the SOC chip and its mask set will far exceed the design cost for a system with standard programmable digital parts, standard analog and RF functional blocks, and discrete components.
Noise issues from digital electronics can also limit the practicality of forming an SOC with high-precision analog or RF circuits. A system that requires power-supply voltages greater than 3.6 V in its analog or RF stages is also an unattractive candidate for an SOC because additional process modifications would be required for the silicon devices to work above the standard printed circuit board interface voltage of 3.3 V+- 10%.
Before a high-performance analog system can be integrated on a digital chip, the analog circuit blocks must have available critical passive components, such as resistors and capacitors. Digital blocks, in contrast, require only n-channel metal-oxide semiconductor (NMOS) and p-channel metal-oxide semiconductor (PMOS) transistors. Added process steps may be required to achieve characteristics for resistors and capacitors suitable for high-performance analog circuits. These steps create linear capacitors with low levels of parasitic capacitance coupling to other parts of the IC, such as the substrate.
Though additional process steps may be needed for the resistors, it may be possible to alternatively use the diffusions steps, such as the N and P implants that make up the drains and sources of the MOS devices.
The shortcomings of these elements as resistors, as can the poly silicon gate used as part of the CMOS devices. The shortcomings of these elements as resistors, beyond their high parasitic capacitances, are the resistors, beyond their high parasitic capacitances, are the resistor's high temperature and voltage coefficients and the limited control of the absolute value of the resistor.
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