Tower Semi Power Management Process Selected By 3PEAKIC Micro To Manufacture LED Driver ICs

July 20, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

3PEAKIC Microelectronics Inc., a provider of high-end analog and mixed-signal electronic products, and Tower Semiconductor, Ltd., a global specialty foundry, announced that Tower will manufacture 3PEAKIC’s energy saving light emitting diode (LED) driver ICs used for backlight LED panels in handheld devices such as cell phones, PDAs and personal navigation devices (PNDs).

LED driver ICs need the current to be tightly controlled between channels which requires superior mixed-signal modeling and analog device characterization available from Tower’s power management process (TS18PM). Due to the large well-modeled passive device offerings in TS18PM, 3PEAKIC’s LED Driver IC (3P3208) requires lower power and fewer components on the PCB (printed circuit board).

Tower’s TS18PM process includes 20-60V scalable Rdson NLDMOS/PLDMOS devices as well as advanced 0.18µ CMOS and bipolar NPN devices needed in today’s complex power management chips. It also includes what is described as industry leading RF and thermal modeling, predictive parasitic extraction switch, high voltage ESD solutions, and extremely dense 5 and 1.8V digital cell libraries for "digital intensive" designs. The nearly released additional options of deep trench isolation, NBL and ultra low Rdson will push the offering over 100V while providing what is described as superior lateral and vertical isolation required for high power applications.

3PEAKIC’s LED driver IC is well suited for backlighting control in mobile devices. The 3P3208 features 16 programmable current levels with single wire pulse control, dual-mode 1X, 1.5X, charge pump for maximum efficiency and VF coverage, small application circuit, and no need for extra resistors for current settings. In addition, it provides automatic LED detection to shut down open channels, built-in thermal protection, proprietary current regulation topology, no inductors, low noise operation, 1MHz constant switching frequency, and the smallest package size (2.85 x 3mm) available.

"We found Tower’s power management process to be ideal for LED driver ICs as it includes an industry first scalable Rdson versus breakdown voltage design kit technology to reduce on-resistance and size of power cells," said Dr. Zhixu Zhou, President of 3PEAKIC Microelectronics Inc. "Tower has been instrumental in offering excellent process technology and customer support in manufacturing our wafers and also working with us to develop and win the market."

"3PEAKIC’s choice to manufacture its devices at Tower’s fab in Israel instead of a facility in closer proximity to China is a testament to our unparalleled design enablement capabilities and superior process technologies," said Dr. Avi Strum, Vice President and General Manager of Tower’s Specialty Business Unit at Tower Semiconductor. "We seek to align our capabilities with customers that target the green energy sector and are pleased with the opportunity to produce energy saving devices such as 3PEAKIC’s LED driver ICs."