Kilopass Introduces Industry's First Embedded Multi-Time Programmable Non-Volatile Memory in 40nm Logic CMOS

(Nanowerk News) Kilopass Technology, Inc., a leading provider of semiconductor logic non-volatile memory (NVM) intellectual property (IP), today unveiled Itera, the industry's first and only embedded multi-time programmable (MTP) NVM in 40nm, during the Linley Tech Mobile Conference. Using Itera, system-on-chip (SoC) designers can achieve significantly lower costs (70% less), higher performance (24X increase), and improved integration by replacing external serial EEPROM and NOR flash in high-volume mobile and consumer applications. Implemented in standard CMOS with no additional process steps or wafer process adders, Itera provides up to 1 megabit (Mb) of storage capacity and 1024 cycles of re-programmability in applications such as time stamp, key revocation, firmware updates, and trimming adjustments.
"Itera is a breakthrough embedded MTP solution with broad applications for our 100-plus customers. It's also one in a series of exciting new products Kilopass is rolling out over the next 12 months to provide our industry with Boundless Freedom to Embed," said Charlie Cheng, CEO of Kilopass Technology, Inc. "With up to 1024 cycles of re-programmability, Itera provides more than enough endurance for over 50% of mobile and consumer applications. Implemented in standard CMOS utilizing proven Kilopass antifuse technology, Itera is a novel approach to solve the cost and integration requirements of today's high-volume SoC."
Kilopass is expanding its product line to address a much broader range of applications for embedded non-volatile memory with its patented and proven 2T antifuse technology. In 2010, Kilopass introduced Gusto, the industry's only 4 megabit (Mb) one-time programmable (OTP) NVM IP, providing for the first time enough memory to store firmware and boot code traditionally stored in external serial-flash and EEPROM chips. With Itera, the company breaks new ground in bringing highly reliable, low-cost embedded logic MTP NVM to advanced process geometries used in SoCs for today's high-volume consumer and industrial applications. New products to be released in the months ahead will continue to expand the horizons of embedded NVM, removing long-standing challenges to NVM integration across an increasing range of markets, applications and SoC designs.
Itera Applications & Cost Efficiency
SoC designs that currently require external MTP NVM to store code or configuration data that change over the life of the product can now use Itera to boost performance and reduce the bill-of-material costs and space of the final design. Itera enables a typical design to achieve a 24-fold increase in performance over Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) Flash and EEPROM solutions and realize a cost savings averaging about $6 million for a chip that achieves a 10-million unit per year run rate.
For SoCs in TVs, tablets, and a wide variety of handheld devices, Itera can store software that must be updated and changed over time. Itera can also contain the protocol stacks in SoCs for Bluetooth, 802.11, and the various wireless communications standards that enable connectivity of these devices. For radio frequency functions in these SoCs, Itera can store data for trimming analog components that change over time. Itera is also ideal for low frequency data logging -- for example, counting the number of times a battery is drained and recharged, the amount of ink deposited in disposable ink jet cartridges, and other similar data acquisition applications.
"We expect within five years to have Itera replacing 25% of serial EEPROM and NOR flash in consumer and mobile designs," said Linh Hong, vice president of marketing of Kilopass Technology, Inc. "Itera's availability in advanced process nodes utilized by today's high volume consumer and mobile SoC and the cost, performance, and integration advantages over external solutions will facilitate its adoption."
Proven Reliability, Higher Performance, and Simplicity of Integration
Itera is built upon Kilopass' patented 2T antifuse technology, which has been integrated in over 2 billion integrated circuits (ICs) as a solution for OTP NVM. With 2T antifuse technology scaling 25X from 180nm to 20nm, the evolution of OTP to MTP was inevitable. Redundancy in the memory to enable re-programmability consumes only a small percentage of the overall area due to the dramatic scaling of the 2T antifuse bit cell in advanced process nodes. As a result, Itera integrated in a SoC is up to 70% less in total cost than an external MTP.
In addition, Itera also excels in simplicity of integration, performance, and reliability. Itera's interface is an industry standard Open Core Protocol (OCP) that dramatically simplifies integration at the front-end. Many SoCs are already deploying OCP for other IPs so no proprietary or new interfaces need to be learned. Itera achieves 24X improvement in performance over discrete MTP solutions like serial SPI Flash or EEPROM. With the improved performance, Itera's contents can be executed in place (XIP) rather than shadowed. The reliability of Itera is the same as XPM or Gusto since it is built on the same 2T antifuse technology. To serve a wide variety of applications, including automotive and industrial, the Kilopass technology has been qualified through a stringent high temperature operating life (HTOL) and high temperature storage life (HTSL) standard in process nodes including 40nm.
"Itera is the follow-on to Gusto, the high-density embedded logic NVM product we introduced in 2010, and one of a series of new products we are developing as part of an exciting new chapter of Kilopass," said Lee Cleveland, vice president of engineering at Kilopass Technology. "The scalability of our antifuse technology which has been demonstrated in SOI and high-K metal gate already, continues to provide a competitive advantage against all other alternatives. This scalability will enable customers to realize cost, performance, and form factor advantages with Itera over discrete MTP solutions. Designers have access to MTP in leading edge processes now with Itera."
Kilopass will demonstrate Itera today from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Linley Tech Mobile Conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose, Calif.
Pricing & Availability
Itera's pricing model is based on percentage of cost savings over external EEPROM and NOR Flash solutions in the market. Like XPM and Gusto, there are two components to pricings: license fee for use of Itera in a design and a per wafer royalty. Itera is available in MTP capacity from 32 bit to 1Mb and is now available at all major pure play foundries including TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and UMC in 40nm bulk silicon with 65nm and 55nm in H2'11.
About Kilopass
Kilopass Technology, Inc., a leading supplier of embedded NVM intellectual property, leverages standard logic CMOS processes to deliver one-time programmable (OTP) memory. With 58 patents granted or pending and more than 800,000 wafers shipped from a dozen foundries and Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDM), Kilopass has more than 100 customers in applications ranging from storage of firmware and security codes to calibration data and other application-critical information. The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. For more information, visit or email [email protected]
Source: Kilopass Technology (press release)
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