Tyndall Institute Announces 2010 International Workshop on Power Supply on Chip

May 31, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Following the overwhelming positive feedback from PwrSOC ‘08, a second International Workshop on Power Supply on Chip will once again bring together the key players from both the industry and academic communities active in the emerging area of system-in-package (SiP) and system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for power supply miniaturization. Organized by Tyndall National Institute, PwrSOC ‘10 plans to build on PwrSOC’08, which drew an international audience of over 120 experts from companies, universities, and research institutions.

A major challenge to the further miniaturization of dc-dc converters is the inability to integrate passive components on silicon due to their relatively large size at today’s operating frequencies of 0.5 to 5 MHz. Increasing the switching frequencies into the 10 to 100 MHz region offers the potential for the reduction of passive component values to the point where, with the right technology, their size becomes compatible with silicon device dimensions.

Currently, significant R&D and product development activity is evident in advances in semiconductor, magnetic, capacitor and packaging material technologies that will deliver products operating at multi-MHz frequencies. The ultimate target is to develop new miniaturized product formats that can be referred to as power supply-in-package (PSiP) and power supply-on-chip (PwrSoC). This space has been under increasing focus from semiconductor companies due to their ability to deliver advanced silicon processing technologies and functional integration with increased reliability. This proliferation of functionally-integrated hardware solutions can be seen as an inflection point in the power supply industry which is seeing a dramatic move away from traditional power supply manufacturing (with a focus on the assembly of power supply modules or bricks from discrete components) to an increasing emphasis on power supply products derived from semiconductor and microelectronics platforms and technologies.

The speakers and conference organizers agreed that the interdisciplinary approach of PwrSOC’08 was essential to the successful development of power supply-on-chip technology. Application needs, technologies, manufacturing ability, and packaging have all converged to the point that a power SoC solution is not only possible but quite likely required in certain applications. Semiconductor manufacturers, materials researchers, system makers, and power supply designers all need to come together to address the problems of functional and packaging integration. The previous PwrSOC workshop was thus a significant step in that direction and the upcoming workshop is positioned to result in further significant progress in this field.

Tyndall’s Dr. Cian Ó Mathúna, the founder of the workshop concept, put the value of the workshop in context: "this concept of integrated power solutions presents a significant disruptive opportunity in power management solutions and warrants an international forum for its discussion and for the elucidation of the key challenges that lie ahead".

Tyndall is supported in the organization of the workshop with technical co-sponsored by the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS), the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA), and the European Center for Power Electronics (ECPE).

The workshop will be held in Cork, Ireland, from October 13 to 15th, 2010. Information updates for the workshop will be available in the coming weeks International Workshop on Power Supply on Chip website.