How eNVM Helps Power Controllers Be Smarter – Design and Reuse

By eMemory

From smartphone to IoT, smart devices contain many different ICs that allow it to function the way it does. Within those ICs, PMIC helps deliver power from the battery to many semiconductor components.

PMIC designers have learned that using eNVMs like OTP in their chips can be very beneficial. A simple state machine with OTP can store power sequences and parameters, which can help manage the power between ICs efficiently.

ICs with special functions, such as envelope tracking, use OTP to store trimming information and provide accurate and dynamic power to better manage power consumption in RF systems. Another example is battery gauge IC, which is for monitoring battery status, can also use OTP to store trimming information or parameters like LUT to provide accurate battery level for users.

For smart power applications, such as wireless charging and USB power delivery, these power controllers usually require an embedded MCU to manage the power delivery behavior. Since MCU-based power controllers usually need the flexibility to update firmware, they require reliable multi-time programming capability.

Figure 1. Power related controllers and information stored in eNVM

Traditional eFlash solutions are not ideal especially on BCD platforms since they require many additional masks to produce a memory block. This significantly raises the manufacturing cost, thus squeezing the product profit.

eMemory’s MTP is especially suitable for these MCU-based power controllers due to its zero-mask-adder design and reliable characteristics. Compared to eFlash, eMemory’s floating-gate technology MTP provides good improves performance in terms of endurance, reliability, read/write speed, and, especially when considering the cost structure of these power SOCs.

To fulfill demand from the area-sensitive products, eMemory is now providing the gen-2 NeoMTP with only two additional masks for memory cell implant adjustment. This MTP can further shrink 40% cell size, while keeping cell on/off ratio and erase performance. Furthermore, due to smaller cell size, reduced parasitic capacitances also relieve the peripheral memory driving circuit capability, thus leads to a smaller total IP size. It can be a good alternative MTP solution for those wishing for a compact IP area with better cost-efficiency.

Figure 2. Comparison between NeoMTP/NeoMTP Gen2 and other eFlash solutions

Furthermore, device authentication for safety during charging has become an important feature for power controllers. For example, the latest power delivery protocols now must include higher voltage and current transmission for faster charge, so our smart devices need a mechanism to screen out unauthorized or non-official chargers or batteries that is not safe for the power supply. These demands bring the need for security features in power applications.

eMemory’s NeoPUF is a new logic-based PUF device invented for the root-of-trust in hardware (on-chip) security. Smart PMIC embedded with NeoPUF IP can generate intrinsic and unique random numbers for a unique fingerprint which can be used for identification and authentication.

Figure 3. Example of device authentication (for USB-PD…etc.)

eMemory is always progressively expanding our IP availability in worldwide foundries. From traditional 350nm platforms to the latest 65/55nm platforms, we provide logic-compatible OTP/MTP IPs in BCD platforms that help our customers to design power SoCs.

Along with the BCD roadmap in foundries, both eMemory’s OTP/MTP have been implemented in the latest generation BCD platforms including TSMC’s gen3 BCD.

Except for the first-tier foundry companies, eMemory is also working with foundry partners who focus on their IDM business model.

eMemory’s OTP has been used widely in mobile phone PMICs. Almost every smartphone on earth has eMemory’s OTP inside, no matter Andriod or iOS. We aim to continue providing eNVM and security IPs in worldwide foundries for the latest smart power management technologies.

As the silicon technology evolves into the future 5G/AI/IoT era, power management ICs are no longer just doing basic DC/DC or AC/DC converting functions, they require more “smart behavior” algorithms and eMemory’s OTP/MTP/PUF IP aims to help customers prepare for these functions.

If you wish to download a copy of this white paper, click here

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