Increase IC robustness – PowerQubic

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Increase your IC robustness with PowerQubic technology

Sofics technology helps fabless designers to increase the robustness of their integrated circuits.

Below are examples how this was achieved.


On-chip ESD/EOS/Latch up/EMC protection for high voltage and BCD processes

A. Higher on-chip HBM (MM) levels

6kV or 8kV HBM is a standard requirement for automotive PHY’s and the same goes for many industrial applications. The PowerQubic solutions are proven scalable to any HBM or MM level.

8kV protected LIN driver enabled with PowerQubic.

B. Higher on-chip CDM levels

CDM is the most important ESD reliability specification, but also the most difficult to reach and to predict. Sofics’ dedicated design approach, based on VF-TLP (very fast Transmission Line Pulser), helps to make CDM more predictable and to achieve the desired levels. A lot of parameters influence the end results (such as die size, package size, air humidity, test (method) used etc.).

500V CDM is routinely met with Sofics’ solutions

C. Meeting system level ESD on-chip

Industrial, automotive, even medical: many high voltage applications require on-chip robustness against system level ESD (ISO 10605, IEC 61000-4-2). These include many variations: different RC models can apply (150pF or 330pF, 330Ohm or 2kOhm), the device can be in powered on or off state, the zap can be applied “direct” or through “air” discharge

IEC 61000-4-2 protection met:
> 8kV for 150 pF, 330 Ohm Direct Discharge – delivered
> 15kV for 150 pF, 330 Ohm Air Discharge – delivered

D. EMC protection

For automotive applications such as LIN, EMC compliance must be achieved as well. Very often, the most critical specification is Direct RF Power Injection (DPI – IEC 62132-4). This puts additional constraints on the ESD protection, in particular with regards to the avoidance of transient effects. Sofics’ level triggered clamps are specifically designed for this. In the words of Frank Shulze, Business Line, Manager, Sensing and Automotive (ZMDI, now IDT):

“Automotive electronics are exposed to high levels of electrical stress, so ZMDI needs the best available ESD/EOS protection for our products. We ran evaluations of several ESD solutions for chips fabricated in a 0.25um BCD process. PowerQubic clamps were superior in the EMC test, as well as in parameters such as meeting flexible clamping voltage specifications. So, we selected Sofics to provide ESD/EOS protection for a new line of 0.18um devices that will meet our specifications, at a lower cost than building the clamps from scratch.”.

DPI: 36-39dBm for LIN transceiver – product proven Sofics solution.


Meeting a high HBM level isn’t enough for automotive applications such as LIN drivers: other disturbances are defined as well (e.g. ISO 7637), making high voltage tolerance required for LIN drivers. Though the battery is only 12V, and the normal operation range is defined between 6V and 18V, these reliability requirements force the use of 40V or higher technologies. Especially ISO 7637-3, disturbance specifications to be performed on the LIN pin, can be a hassle. Yet by analyzing the different pulses, and taking the right measures Sofics engineers have supported customers achieve full compliance without the need for additional external components. Unfortunately, for ISO 7637-2 disturbances applied to the power line, this is not possible, due to the much higher levels defined in the standard.

ISO 7637 up to 65V for LIN (7V-18V application)