Newsletter 02/2017

One important driver of the continued development of electronic systems is the Internet of Things (IoT). Applications in this area should imperceptibly assist people in the future, without causing distractions or attracting attention. The embedded computers required for this must have especially long service lives and are becoming ever smaller. Energy-efficient base technologies are just as important for this as components that consume low amounts of power while delivering high performance. Fraunhofer IIS/EAS is participating in the European project »PRIME« to establish the prerequisites for the necessary manufacturing technologies in Germany and Europe.

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New technologies are required in order for such small, energy-efficient electronic systems and components to be developed at decreasing costs. The objective of the PRIME project is to create an open platform for the design of microchips for ultra-low power IoT applications. This is based on the manufacturing of semiconductors using the European FD-SOI technology (Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator) and should make the sought-after advantages widely available. The project partners are planning to achieve energy savings of up to 70 percent by developing an FD-SOI technology at the 22 nm scale that is characterized by the especially good performance of the digital transistors. This will establish FD-SOI as a European alternative to typical technologies.

Within the scope of the project, Fraunhofer IIS/EAS is concentrating primarily on sensor/actuator interactions with the environment. These are typical for IoT applications and must be capable of evaluating analog measurement and control variables. Fundamental analog switching components are therefore necessary for the PRIME platform. The researchers at the division are developing new system architectures and mixed-signal circuit concepts for this purpose. In addition, they are working on the implementation of reusable and reliable analog IPs. With these, users can employ the same IC design data for different application scenarios.

The work by Fraunhofer IIS/EAS in the course of the PRIME project is supported financially by the European Union, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the Free State of Saxony.