Tyndall Unveils Silicon Chip Technology To Increase Mobile Phone Battery Lifetime

September 23, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

Tyndall National Institute announced at the first ever International Power Supply on Chip Workshop (PwrSoc’ 08) in Cork, Ireland, that their silicon chip technology will significantly increase mobile phone battery lifetime. Tyndall states that Irish research engineers have achieved a major technological breakthrough that could see Irish companies taking an international lead in the worldwide ICT power supply market estimated to be worth $20 billion.

Dr. Cian O Mathuna, Head of the Microsystems Centre at Tyndall National Institute, who is leading the research, said "This workshop is a major coup for Ireland and Tyndall, it puts us at the center of the development and commercialization of next generation power supply technology which will play a significant role in saving energy by significantly extending the lifetime of batteries in mobile phones and other portable electronics."

Over 100 leading industry and academic players across the world are participating in the workshop. Over 25 companies and 34 research institutes from 16 different countries will deliver the most recent results in this and related technologies.

Jeff Shepard, Darnell Group President, outlined the key value of Tyndall’s technology. "Currently mobile phones use components called linear regulators to deliver power from the battery to many of the silicon chips – these components are very inefficient (less than 50%) and waste a lot of energy. With Tyndall’s novel micromagnetics technology, it will be possible to increase efficiency up to 80 or 90%, significantly extending battery life."

Dr. O Mathuna said, "The technology, which has become known as Power Supply on Chip (PwrSoC) will also, for the first time, allow the bulky magnetic components to be miniaturised to such an extent that they can be integrated with the silicon chip into a PwrSoC component with a profile as small as 1mm."

Joe Madden, Enterprise Ireland Manager, said the global power supply industry could be transformed through the commercialization of the Tyndall technology. He added that "the power supply industry in Ireland is benefiting greatly from the close cooperation between it and Enterprise Ireland-funded research collaborations with the third level sector. The last 12 months have seen a dramatic transformation of the power supply industry in Ireland with significant growth in the number and scale of indigenous companies such as E&I Engineering in Donegal, Convertec in Wexford, AMS in Limerick, Excelsys in Cork and a new start-up Powervation based both in Limerick and Cork and California. These companies have a strong focus on R&D for next generation products. The growth in this sector has been further enhanced by multinational companies such as On Semiconductor and Texas Instruments setting up R&D groups in Limerick and Cork, respectively. Tyndall’s research and the organisation of this workshop will promote the establishment of more indigenous and international companies in power supply R&D in Ireland."

Over the last 5 years, the power supply industry in Ireland has moved to the new industrial paradigm predicted by government and accommodated by Enterprise Ireland policies, emphasising investment in higher value employment in R&D and export sales. The Enterprise Ireland sponsored PEIG industry network has made a significant contribution to this transformation. Commercializable technologies being researched in Ireland to meet the challenges facing the power supply industry will be presented at the workshop by researchers from University College Cork, University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Tyndall. This research, being funded by Enterprise Ireland, through the PEIG Industry-Led Research Program, has been defined by the power electronics companies under the auspices of PEIG with a view to developing the next generation of technologies which will be strategic to the long term development and sustainability of this high value industry in Ireland.