October 7, 2014

Analog Devices AD558 - MIL-Spec 8-bit I²L DAC : weekend die-shot

Analog Devices AD558 is an 8-bit I²L DAC in ceramic package (MIL spec).

It is still an open question how this chip got into ex-USSR/Russia - anonymous reader left no comments on that (this smells like cold war...). It is not a secret that Russia had no extensive civilian IC assortment in manufacturing, hence all military IC's must have been designed and manufactured from scratch (i.e. all R&D, prototypes and masks must be paid by government). In such conditions providing all variety of domestic ICs is economically impossible, at least without government expenses comparable to whole world's expenses on IC R&D. So "temporary", "case-by-case" permit to use imported (both legitimately and not-so-legitimately) western ICs in military equipment "until domestic products are ready" is still here after 24 years despite numerous attempts to end this practice.

Die size 2713x2141 µm, 6µm manufacturing technology, trimming laser was leaving ~8µm diameter spots.

Oh, these rounded resistors are just beautiful... Autorouters in 2014, do you see this?
Note how amount of laser trimming on R-ladder is different for different bits.

PS. Could anyone share position of western engineers on plastic-vs-ceramic package for military/space-grade IC's? It appears modern plastic packages offer more benefits (like better G-shock/vibration reliability and obviously cost) without sacrificing anything (temperature range and moisture are less of a concern now, radiation was never a concern for a package).
September 7, 2014

74HC4094 - 8-bit shift register : weekend die-shot

74HC4094 is an 8-bit serial-in/parallel-out shift register.

August 25, 2014

Atmel AT90USB162 : weekend die-shot

Atmel AT90USB162 is an 8-bit microcontroller with hardware USB, 16KiB flash and 512B of SRAM/EEPROM.

August 18, 2014

Ti CC1100 (formerly Chipcon) : weekend die-shot

Ti CC1100 is a radio transceiver for 300-348 MHz, 400-464 MHz and 800-928 MHz ranges.

Apparently there are 30 initials of the people, involved in the design of this chip mentioned at the lower right corner. Although this chip was designed after Ti acquisition of Chipcon (that happened in January 2006), it is still marked as Chipcon.

August 4, 2014

Fairchild NC7SZ57 - universal 2-input gate : weekend die-shot

Fairchild NC7SZ57 (and 58) - are universal 2-input shmitt gates, which let us implement various 2-input logic functions by wiring pins in different ways.

Die size 416x362 µm, which is the smallest among microchips we've seen.

Comparing to 1-gate NAND2 Ti SN74AHC1G00 - die area here is 1/3 smaller because area below pads is not wasted and used for IO transistors and wiring. It is unclear though how they achieved decent yields (as things there might get damaged during wire bonding) - we can only tell that insulation before last metal is much thicker than usual.

Drop us a message if you have experience or knowledge on getting high-yield logic under pads - this is something we would be interested to have in our own product.

July 29, 2014

NXP PCA9570 - 4-bit IO expander : weekend die-shot

NXP PCA9570 is an I²C 4-bit IO expander, although there are 4 unused pads on the die: probably 8-bit version uses the same die. 800nm technology.

Die size 589x600 µm.

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July 27, 2014

KILAR KV1084 5A linear regulator : weekend die-shot

Remember good old times when you could feed CPU from single linear regulator? KILAR KV1084 came from this time.

Comparing to LM2940L or LM1117 there are more bonding pads per signal and obviously larger output transistors. Chip was soldered on copper heat spreader to help dissipate 10W+.

Die size 3075x3026 µm.