April 23, 2013

Ti MAX3232 : Weekend die-shot

Ti MAX3232 is a RS232 transceiver with a charge pump on external capacitors for generating positive and negative supply voltages.
Die size 3113x1955 µm.

April 19, 2013

On Semiconductor MC33152 : Weekend die-shot

MC33152 is a dual MOSFET driver. Literally half of area is used by 4 large transistors (2 pull-up, 2 pull-down) able to deliver 1.5A with 14ns fronts.
Note how trace thickness changes near large transistors to match flowing current.

Die size 1765x1470 µm.

March 29, 2013

Simplest possible microchip - Ti SN74AHC1G00 : Weekend die-shot

Remember we said that the simplest possible microchip is 74AHC00? We were wrong.
Simplest possible microchip is it's 1-gate version, SN74AHC1G00 made by Texas Instruments. Die size 520x420 µm.

After etching 2(!) metal layers, we can see that chip area occupied mostly by pads, input protection, and output transistors. Funny rainbow things below pads - partially etched insulating dielectric masked by what's left from gold bond wires.

March 28, 2013

NXP 7555 : Weekend die-shot

7555 is a CMOS version of 555 timer.

There are number of interesting things on the chip: see "unused" via's on the folded resistors at the top and at the center of the chip? They are here to trim resistance by modifying only 1 metal layer mask. Also, note large multifingered "power" transistors.

March 24, 2013

GLONASS module Geos-3 : Weekend die-shot

Geos-3 - GLONASS module, designed by R&D Center "GeoStar navigation" Ltd..
PCB has 3 chips: K1905VM1JA designed by Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Microelectronic Research Institute "Progress", SiGe RF-frontend GEOS2RF designed by Saphyrion and 4-mbit serial flash memory MX25U4035Z.

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February 21, 2013

Part II: How to «open» microchip and what's inside? Z80, Multiclet, MSP430, PIC and more

In this article we'll continue cracking microchips open. If you've missed first article - it's here.

«Canonical» way of opening microchips:

Cut a small hole in the center of the chip with a dremel:

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February 21, 2013

PIC16C505 : Weekend die-shot

PIC16C505 - another "old" PIC, again 1200nm.