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Bill Priesmeyer CEO of Cymbet



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eGaN FETs in High Frequency Buck Converters

How to implement the optimum GaN FET layout in a high frequency buck converter.

Bill Priesmeyer CEO of CYMBET

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PULSE Octal D-Type Transparent Latch

High-Voltage LED Driver

The 74LVC573A consists of eight D-type transparent latches, featuring separate Dtype inputs for each latch and 3-state true outputs for bus-oriented applications. A Latch Enable (LE) input and an Output Enable (OE) input are common to all internal latches. When LE is HIGH, data at the Dn inputs enters the latches. In this condition, the latches are transparent, that is, a latch output will change each time its corresponding D-input changes. When LE is LOW, the latches store the information that was present at the D-inputs one set-up time preceding the HIGH-to-LOW...Read More

The IX9908 is a quasi-resonant controller optimized for phase-cut dimmable, off-line LED applications. Precise PWM generation supports phase-cut dimming and power factor correction. The product features a wide operating range, up to 600V, and low power consumption. Multiple safety features ensure full system protection in failure situations. The IX9908, with its strong feature set and low cost, is an excellent choice for quasi-resonant flyback LED bulb designs. Features

High-Performance OIS Driver IC With the RAA305170GBM, product developers can bring high performance on par with that of standalone digital cameras to the smartphones or tablet PC camera modules. This level of performance allows smartphones and PCs to meet general consumer demand for camera functionality that enables them to capture highquality video and still photos without ever missing a good shot, while uploading these videos and still photos to the web immediately without any need for image processing. Smartphones and tablet cameras need optical image stabilization...Read More

CXP Pluggable Module Evaluation Kit The AFBR-83PDZ is a Twelve-Channel, Pluggable, Parallel, Fiber-Optic CXP Transceiver. It integrates twelve data lanes in each direction with greater than 120 Gbps aggregate bandwidth. Each lane can operate at 10.3125 Gbps up to 100 m using OM3 fiber and 150 m using OM4 fiber. These modules are designed to operate over multimode fiber systems using a nominal wavelength of 850 nm. The electrical interface uses an 84 contact edge type connector. The optical interface uses a 24-fiber MPO/MTP connector (not included)...Read More

Stepper Motor Driver with Stall Detect The DRV8711 device is a stepper motor controller that uses external N-channel MOSFETs to drive a bipolar stepper motor or two brushed DC motors. A microstepping indexer is integrated which is capable of step modes from full step to 1/256-step. An ultra-smooth motion profile can be achieved using adaptive blanking time and various current decay modes including an auto-mixed decay mode. Motor stall is reported with an optional back-EMF output...Read More

SoC for Smart Card Reader Applications The Teridian 73S1215F is a self-contained SoC smart card reader IC that is an ideal solution for any USB-connected ISO 7816 design. Any USB-connected or stand-alone smart card reader can benefit from the unique feature-set the Teridian 73S1215F offers. With the 73S1215F products like the personal PINPads, transparent smart card readers, or smart card readers built into laptops, desktops, and peripherals (keyboards, etc.) can now take advantage of the USB connectivity with no impact on the cost compared to traditional unconnected solutions...Read More



• Single Stage, Primary Control with PFC and Dimming Features • >90% Efficiency • Power Factor >98% • Wide Operating Voltage Range: Up to 600V • Digital Soft-Start • Cycle-by-Cycle Peak Current Control Read More

Bridge IC Enables Wi-Fi Tuner Applications The Fujitsu MB86E631 bridge IC enables advanced Wi-Fi television tuner applications to control various interfaces among different equipment. The device is an ideal controller for video/graphic processors, such as the Fujitsu MB86M01/02/03 transcoder series. The new SoC combines a high-performance, dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 processor and more interfaces than any other single device: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Serial ATA, PCI Express, Ethernet MAC, transport stream (TS), UART, I2C, and two memory interfaces...Read More

Ultra-Low Lux Light Sensor The ISL29033 device is an integrated ambient and infrared light to digital converter with I2C (SMBus Compatible) interface. Its advanced self-calibrated photodiode array emulates human eye response with excellent IR rejection. The on-chip 16-bit ADC is capable of rejecting 50Hz and 60Hz flicker caused by artificial light sources. The lux range select feature allows users to program the lux range for optimized counts/lux. Power consumption can be reduced to less than 0.3µA when powered down...Read More

Programmable Power System Controllers The PS-Series Programmable Power System Controllers are integrated, configurable power supply controllers designed to control, monitor and measure up to four (PS-2406) or six (PS-2606) independent power converters, and monitor/measure the intermediate bus voltage. The power converters are monitored for overvoltage and undervoltage conditions and the status information is accessible to the host microcontroller via the I2C interface. All power converter configurations are fully user programmable. Startup and shutdown sequences are fully configurable and can be controlled through hardware and software inputs...Read More




PULSE Timing Chipset for BTS Radio Cards

Cost Effective Far Infrared Array

The IDT 8V19N4xx chipset is a flexible JESD204B-compliant radio frequency phase-locked loop (RF PLL) and clock synthesizer, designed to meet both the high frequency and low phase noise requirements for 2G, 3G and 4G LTE wireless infrastructure. Leveraging IDT’s proven FemtoClock NG technology, the low phase noise characteristics enable the system’s analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters (ADCs / DACs) to function with high precision and very low distortion levels. This results in improved signal integrity on transmission and enhanced signal sensitivity on reception, increasing data throughput via lower bit error rates (BER)...Read More

The MLX90620 FIRray is a 16X4 array of thermopile sensors suitable to detect thermal radiation and measure temperatures without making contact with the object. It utilizes innovative non-contact temperature measurement technology to create a highly cost-effective thermography solution. Covering a -20°C to 300°C temperature range, this 16 × 4 element far infrared (FIR) thermopile sensor array produces a map of heat values for the target area in real time, avoiding the need to scan the area with a single point sensor or the use of an expensive microbolometer device. MLX90620 can greatly simplify the thermal imaging system it is integrated into by immediately capturing 64 pixel images in 2D, thus keeping the price point in the range needed for high volume, low cost applications...Read More

Lighting Communication Platform Microchip Technology Inc. announced its Lighting Communications Development Platform. This full-featured, universal lighting development platform provides all of the components required to create a DMX512A or DALI lighting network, offering users a complete “out-of-the-box” experience. This enables lighting engineers to design intelligent lighting and control systems with a large array of Microchip’s 8, 16 and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers and analog, wireless, and human-interface solutions. The Starter Kit includes two main boards, two communications-interface adapters (DALI or DMX512A), one prototype board and the required cables/power supplies...Read More

Automotive-Qualified MCU Family Mouser Electronics, Inc. is now stocking a new series of automotive-qualified 8-bit Flash microcontrollers from Silicon Labs. C8051F85x and C8051F86x MCUs are AEC-Q100 qualified MCUs that operate over an extended temperature range to 125°C and offer up to 8kB Flash, up to 512 bytes of RAM, and a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter. These Silicon Labs MCUs include a host of communications peripherals and support three independently configurable enhanced resolution PWM channels. C8051F85x and C80651F86x devices are an ideal fit for low-memory, low-pin count applications...Read More

Ultra Low Capacitance Thyristor Littelfuse, Inc. has introduced an ultra-low capacitance protection thyristor. The SDP Series SIDACtor® Protection Thyristor in the SOT23-6 package provides robust overvoltage protection for broadband/xDSL telecommunications equipment with minimal effects on connection speed and reach. Patent-pending silicon crowbar technology allows for 45 percent lower capacitance than clamping devices like transient voltage suppressor (TVS) diodes. It also provides faster response to surges, ensuring lower overshoot voltages and improved electrostatic discharge (ESD), lightning and power fault protection...Read More



2-Way Radio Signaling LSI The AK2363 is a radio signaling LSI device into which an MSK modem and a DTMF Receiver are integrated on a single chip. The MSK modem supports 1200 and 2400 bit/s, and the demodulator has a 16-bit frame pattern detection function that allows any settings. The DTMF Receiver operates in two modes: Normal mode (AGD Disable) indicating input signal detection levels ranging from -27dBx to 0dBx and high sensitivity mode (AGC Enable) in which the receiver operates at –40dBx to 0dBx. The 24-pin QFNJ package (4.0mm ´ 4.0mm) is employed to realize compact, high-density packaging...Read More

Relay Driver for Automotive Applications Large numbers of relay-based applications require the use of a microprocessor which implements complex system control. In these systems, there is the need for microprocessor logic supply voltage, power-on reset circuitry, and watchdog capabilities. The Allegro® A2550 combines the functions of voltage regulator, watchdog, and reset, as well as three low-side DMOS relay driver outputs. Primarily targeted at automotive applications, this IC is designed to provide robust performance over extended voltage and temperature ranges...Read More

7-42V 3A 1ch Buck Converter Output 3.0A and below High Efficiency Rate Step-down Switching Regulator Power MOSFET Internal Type BD9876EFJ mainly used as secondary side Power supply, for example from fixed Power supply of 12V, 24V etc, Step-down Output of 1.2V/1.8V/3.3V/5V, etc, can be produced. This IC has external Coil/Capacitor down-sizing through 300kHz Frequency operation, inside Nch-FET SW for 45V “withstand-pressure” commutation and also, high speed load response through Current Mode Control is a simple external setting phase compensation system, through a wide range external constant...Read More





Alex Lidow

CEO of Efficient Power Conversion (EPC)






PULSE To read last month's column, click below:

IMPACT OF DEAD TIME When both upper and lower devices are switched off in a buck converter (dead time), the energy in the output inductor circulates through the lower eGaN FET in the reverse direction. The typical buck converter switching waveform in figure 1 shows the reverse body diode conduction intervals during this dead time. The forward drop of the body diode dissipates power during this part of the cycle. These losses can be expressed as follows: PDiode = ID x VF x tD / TSW

The previous column in this series discussed driver and layout considerations to improve the performance achievable with eGaN FETs. In this installment the optimum layout will be implemented in a high frequency buck converter yielding greater than 96% efficiency switching at 1 MHz. In a buck converter, however, even with the optimal layout of the circuit, unnecessary losses can occur if the device’s reverse conduction is not minimized. This reverse body diode conduction occurs during the dead time between the conduction of the upper and lower devices. We will first explain this source of inefficiency and provide simple techniques for minimization.

Switch node Trailing-edge

10 A Inductor current (inverted)

where ID is the diode current, VF is the body diode forward drop and tD is the total diode conduction time (both sides) per switching period T SW. With increasing switching frequency the impact of dead-time switching losses becomes ever more important. This is especially true for high current, low output voltage applications where the efficiency impact of the dead-time diode conduction losses is magnified by both increased losses and reduced output power levels. For a buck converter, dead time does not automatically equate to diode conduction losses. On the trailing-edge of the switch node, the load current will self-commutate the switch node to ground if there is enough dead time to do so. This will allow zero voltage switching (ZVS) turn-on of the bottom device, thus reducing switching loss. The speed of this self-commutation is dependent on the load current and its impact with respect to dead time can be seen in Figure 2. A large amount of dead time will allow self-commutation at low currents, thus improving light load efficiency, but will increase diode conduction (and losses) at heavy load. A small amount of dead time, in contrast, will maximize full load efficiency but at the cost of increased switching losses at light load with the loss of ZVS switching. For the leading edge, there is very little load current dependence and minimizing dead time will minimize diode conduction.

ADDING A SCHOTTKY DIODE Diode conduction time - tD

Figure 1: Buck converter switching waveform showing dead-time diode conduction.



Figure 3 shows that for a 12 V to 1.2 V buck converter operating at 1 MHz, the addition of just 5 ns to each dead-time interval (10 ns of total diode conduction per cycle) can reduce the converter efficiency by more than

one percentage point when compared to optimized dead time (with no diode conduction). At these low voltages, the addition of a Schottky diode is effective in reducing eGaN FET diode losses. This is due to three important characteristics of eGaN FETs: •No reverse recovery losses, so even partial current commutation to the Schottky diode reduces the effective diode drop and reduces losses. •The relatively high diode forward voltage of the eGaN FET will increase the voltage difference between the eGaN FET ‘diode’ and the Schottky diode, thus increasing the speed of current commutation.


Light load Light load Loss of ZVS Full load ZVS

MINIMIZING DEAD TIME As much as the addition of a Schottky diode can help to improve buck converter efficiency, it is more effective to minimize dead-time conduction in the first place. An adaptive dead-time approach that controls the dead time based on load current would be ideal, but the speed and complexity required to implement this approach may only make this viable for very high frequency low voltage applications. In general it is much simpler to select a constant dead time at both the rising and falling switch node edges as shown in Figure 2(b). This simplification offers the same heavy load efficiency as an adaptive approach, but comes at the cost of decreased efficiency at below about 15% of rated load. A simple constant deadtime circuit that is implemented on EPC development boards using logic and RCD delay snubbers is shown in Figure 4. This dead time implementation also removes the need for high-side driver regulation.

Full load

t a) Large dead time


b) Small dead time

Figure 2: Impact of load current on falling edge diode conduction versus constant dead time. Circled in red is the region where the FET body diode is conducting.

•Low eGaN FET package inductance, coupled with a low inductance Schottky diode, will minimize the current commutation loop inductance, thus also increasing the speed of current commutation. Measured efficiency in Figure 3 shows that adding a Schottky diode will recover up to 70% of the potential diode conduction losses when correctly sized. Even when undersized, the current will still commutate to the Schottky and give an efficiency boost.

VSW Dead time

Dead time

70% reduction in diode losses

At 20 A, forward drop of Schottky is >1 V

eGaN FET, 10 ns dead time

eGaN FET Optimum dead time

eGaN FET + Schottky, 10 ns dead time

MOSFET Optimum dead time

Figure 3: Impact of a 1 A Schottky diode on dead-time losses for buck converter efficiency. (VIN=12 V, VOUT=1.2 V, Fs=1 MHz, L=150 nH, eGaN FETs: T: EPC2015 SR: EPC2015, MOSFETs: T: BSZ097N04LSG SR: BSZ040N04LSG). Controller logic output for top switching device

Buffer A



To HI of LM5113 or equivalent eGaN FET driver

Dead time


Inverter A

22 SDM03U40


100 pF

Driver logic at HI


47 SDM03U40

RCD filters delay turnon but not turn-off

100 pF

To LI of LM5113 or equivalent eGaN FET driver

Figure 4: Implementation of a simple constant dead-time circuit for eGaN FETs.




~1.1 ns rise time ~20 V/ns

4 ns

5 V/ div

20 ns/ div

Figure 5: Switch node waveform of a 28 V to 3.3 V / 15 A, 1 MHz buck converter using eGaN FETs.

At EPC the constant dead-time control and optimum layout were implemented on a 28 V to 3.3 V buck converter operating at 1 MHz with a 15 A maximum output current, demonstration board EPC9107. The buck converter layout was done to approximate a power module with the complete power stage within a quarter square inch footprint. The switch-node waveform, in Figure 5, shows switching speeds in the one nanosecond range while having an overshoot of only 10% at 28 V in. The leading edge dead time has been minimized to near zero, while the trailing edge dead time has been minimized for around 10 A loads – this pushes the light load efficiency impact down below 1A, while adding about four nanoseconds of diode conduction at full load. The efficiency of this buck converter is shown in Figure 6 and compared to a MOSFET based ZVS buck power module with similar specifications. Even with the efficiency improvement offered by ZVS and operating at 2/3 the switching frequency, the MOSFET based converter is still 1.5% – 3% less efficient than the eGaN FET based hard-switching buck converter.

SUMMARY In this column we discussed the impact of dead time in high frequency buck converters and methods to mitigate this. A simple constant dead-time approach was implemented and the 1 MHz buck converter showed a significant improvement in efficiency over a MOSFET based approach that required soft-switching to effectively operate at close to the same switching frequency.

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eGaN is a registered trademark of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation. ■

Figure 6: Efficiency compared between hard-switching eGaN FET based buck converter and a soft-switching MOSFET based buck converter.



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Cymbet Bill Priesmeyer, CEO of Cymbet

The embedded AdvAnTAge


ymbet is a clean technology company based in Elk River, Minnesota. Their eco-friendly, rechargeable solid-state batteries provide engineers with an array of new embedded power

capabilities. With 33 employees, and about 90 patents granted and applied, Cymbet remains the only company in the solid-state battery space because of the business strategy they pursued. We spoke with Bill Priesmeyer, CEO of Cymbet, about the unique technology the company is developing, the new markets the company is pursuing, and how these solid-state batteries offer engineers the embedded advantage.







Could you give us an overview of Cymbet? The R&D facility was established in Minneapolis in 2001. The Company was started with the goal to commercialize solid state battery technology recently licensed from Oak Ridge National Laboratories, where it was developed. The technology received wide industry attention in the early days as a potential large battery replacement, but semiconductor technology did not really lend itself to these large format devices. Strategically, Cymbet took a different direction by targeting low power devices for embedded IC applications – a market that did not really exist at the time, but one that was clearly emerging. As a technology company, we built the business to address what we saw as fundamental trends that would not be met by current technology: 1) a trend towards ultra-low power processors and clocks, 2) wireless smart devices and sensors, 3) component integration and miniaturization, 4) the preference for ecofriendly and renewable battery technology. While all this certainly has taken longer than we expected to develop, these trends are now firmly in place and accelerating. Currently, Cymbet has 36 employees, about 90 patents granted/applied, two manufacturing facilities and are the leaders in the supplying solid state batteries for electronic systems applications. We are the only solid state battery company in commercial, high volume production that addresses many markets.



Our product, the EnerChip™ rechargeable battery, is a new and unique silicon-based solid state device that works like a battery, lasts the life of the product, is small, thin, reflow tolerant for automated assembly and completely eco-friendly. We offer the EnerChip in bare die form for co-packaging with other ICs or packaged in plastic QFN/DFN style packages on tape and reel for SMT. The EnerChip CC is co-packaged with a Cymbet custom power management IC making it a “smart battery.” The EnerChip is available in range of capacities from 1uAh to 50uAh, with higher capacity devices coming soon. Just 10 years ago batteries of these capacities would not do much, but today they are a great fit with the “ultra-low power” revolution.

What are some of Cymbet's target markets? Our target markets are generally anyplace you would find a processor, a clock, or applications where the unique characteristics of small, permanently rechargeable battery are needed. The key segments are back-up power for processors and clocks, embedded energy that integrates power with other ICs, and energy harvesting or scavenging. Let me give a few examples. The EnerChip can be used to back-up microcontrollers and real time clocks replacing coin cells or super capacitors in many applications. We find the greatest utility in this application is where space is limited or life-time reliability is of particular concern. We like to think of this application as a “UPS in a Chip.” We have found that embedding or copackaging an EnerChip bare die has a particularly strong appeal in the implantable medical field where low profile and high reliability facilitates miniaturization. A big advantage also is that the EnerChip is completely non-cytotoxic, so for medical devices – it’s safe. The last area is energy harvesting or using available ambient energy to charge an EnerChip. Combining EH-powered EnerChips

with a microcontroller, sensor and radio will function as a “self-powered” system. While still early, the advancements in component power consumption and standards – Bluetooth Smart and IPV6 over 802.15.4 - are making these devices possible. We see a lot of interest in Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and other needs for a power source for these types of products in all market segments

Could you tell me a little bit about your strategy and some of the companies you've partnered with, in terms of providing Cymbet as part of a solution? Our three target applications—back-up power, embedded energy, and self-powered devices–are all applicable in the key vertical market segments we serve: industrial, consumer, wireless, agriculture, handheld, security & safety, building controls, medical, transportation, military and aerospace. You will find EnerChip batteries in products being introduced in all of these segments. For example, handheld devices, white goods, medical sensors and therapies, industrial locks, communications equipment, security sensors, airborne electronics, pretty much anyplace where you need to design a low profile, low cost integrated battery to protect against a power interruption, droop or even a main battery swap-out for a microcontroller or a clock. Aerospace applications are also an example where the EnerChip battery can be used since it is completely air-transport safe and legacy batteries and super capacitors cannot be used for safety reasons.

Lastly, we are investing heavily to be the preferred power supply for energy harvesting to support the coming revolution in IoT, wearables, self-powered sensors and devices, etc. Our ecosystems partners include the IC companies, providers of the various transducer technologies that turn light, heat, motion, vibration, or RF into energy that charge EnerChips, and of course our customers that want the competitive advantage of our technology.

On the operations side, where are your devices manufactured? We currently have two manufacturing sites for EnerChips – Minneapolis, MN and Lubbock TX. The Minneapolis facility is our headquarters, R&D center and the smaller of Cymbet’s two manufacturing facilities. At the Lubbock, TX facility we have a manufacturing and technical partnership with X-FAB Texas, a division of the German-based foundry company. Together we built a high-volume wafer manufacturing facility that utilizes a fab in a foundry concept. We do post-processing of the wafers in Asia, which is, as you might expect, is where most of the product actually is eventually destined.

"The EnerChip can be used to back-up microcontrollers and real time clocks replacing coin cells or super capacitors in many applications."

As a company, Cymbet partners in several ways. First off we partner with companies that make devices we support – the industry leaders in the IC space – like Texas Instruments, NXP, Microchip, Freescale, etc. Secondly, for a relatively new company, our distribution and sales partners around the world are extraordinarily important to us, such as DigiKey and Mouser in the U.S., Avnet Abacus in EMEA, GEC in Japan, Opto-sensor in China, and Seamax in Asia Pacific among them. Thirdly, we have longer term partnerships with customers that are innovating disruptive new products enabled by a unique application of EnerChip solid state battery technology, especially in the medical and military fields.

Cymbet's EnerChip




PULSE "As a company, we are focused on ramping the acceptance of this disruptive technology where Cymbet has a solid value proposition and the markets are—or will be—underserved by current solutions."

up application and particularly for very tight spaces and very high-reliability applications. Today, you might see a coin cell or a supercapacitor as one component, and a realtime clock chip as another component on a board. The Cymbet CBC34123 simplifies and combines all that. For the Cymbet CBC34123 EnerChip RTC product we've partnered with NXP for the RTC chip. We have are also introducing the CBC34803 and CBC34813 products where we partnered with Ambiq Micro for their ultralow power real-time clock chips that provide unique features our customers are requiring. We have had great customer feedback on these new EnerChip RTC solutions.

Is the battery included in the NXP package for instance? You have a few different solutions and products that you sell. Which product is your most recently released? Our standard product family today ranges from 5uAhr to 50uAhr in capacity - rechargeable >5000 times - with sizes from 1.7x2.25mm to 5.7x6.1mm (essentially the same product in different die sizes). We have also supplied 1uAhr bare die devices that are 1x1mm. Our products are available as a bare die, for high volume embedded applications, packaged with just the battery in QFM/DFM type plastic package, or co-packaged in a QFN/DFN with our custom power management ASIC that has the supply supervision, battery management and regulated output functions. That's what we'd refer to as the “smart, rechargeable battery.” So we offer different battery capacities with the option of integrated power management. As for new product offerings, we've recently announced a family of next generation systems level products we call the EnerChip RTC. The first product to the market is a 5x5 mm packaged device that integrates: a real-time clock chip, Cymbet solid state battery and a Cymbet custom power management ASIC. These EnerChip RTC devices are capable of supplying up to 100 hours of backup for a microcontroller or clock chip. What we've introduced is a tiny, low cost, all-in-one device that is reflow-tolerant, surface mountable chip package that's suitable for most any back-



It's actually the other way around. The NXP RTC is in the Cymbet package and is copackaged with the Cymbet EnerChip and the Cymbet power management IC - it's actually an all-in-one Cymbet system level product with integrated power backup. It’s a good example of how the EnerChip can improve a solution using our embedded energy approach. To that end, Cymbet is implementing embedded energy with our IC and module partners to include EnerChip bare die into their packages. We share the view that there is significant value by providing an all-in-one package that is reliable, small-space, and which provides extraordinary backup times for the size of the package. In 2014, our Partners will be releasing new products that integrate EnerChips with sensors, MCUs, timers, A/Ds, energy storage, and power management in a single package.

What future markets could you see Cymbet getting in to? I can give you a general idea of our thinking and what we are actually working on. We've tended to be realistic about large scale solid state batteries and the associated capital/ technology investment required to be successful. As a company, we are focused on ramping the acceptance of this disruptive technology where Cymbet has a solid value proposition and the markets are - or will be underserved by current solutions. That's why

our investors took the long view and bet on a silicon-based IC compatible format before the markets identified that a new power source would be needed to fulfill the requirements of the ultra-low power revolution. We still think those trends are right on, but we also recognize that we're really at the beginning of where this technology can go. Our product roadmap is based on our robust existing technology platform that we will continue to build on from the standpoint of solid-state battery technology, silicon processing and intellectual property. This will allow us to move the technology forward to increase battery capacity, improve battery performance, continue to lower costs and further integrate devices in new and more sophisticated ways with both partner products and a new generation of devices.

"The environmental disaster of routinely replacing batteries in billions of sensor nodes must be avoided."

We believe the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a significant application for ultra-low-power, selfpowered devices, particularly sensors that are highly-integrated, very low cost, and that serve functions from wearable medical monitoring to security to environmental building controls to asset tracking. The environmental disaster of routinely replacing batteries in billions of sensor nodes must be avoided. We are spending a fair amount of our effort helping our partners and customers accelerate their IoT projects. Continued improvement of all the components must happen to realize the full potential of self-powered devices. We actually have about a quarter of our opportunities that wants devices like these in the marketplace.

What is a realistic storage capacity on the high-end of solid-state batteries? The 50 micro amp hours is currently our highest capacity standard device although the design engineer can scale these by using multiple devices. We do expect to continue to add battery capacity as the market indicates the need. Since we know there is no Moore’s law for batteries, but there is tremendous need for improved technology, we have protected a few ideas along the way for making large format solid state batteries. Given the focus of our business and the economics of the marketplace, the intersection of single device capacity for us is about 500uAh and perhaps to as much as 1 milliamp hour. At the low end of this range we believe 80 percent of our target markets can be addressed from a performance and economic standpoint. We actually think the volume opportunity is great for Cymbet. By our analysis, when you think about the number of portable batteries sold in smart phones for example, those are in the low billions per year. When you think about the number of backup devices and primary power devices that serve a variety of existing markets today and what we see evolving, it's really in the hundreds of billions. That is why we believe we are very well positioned in a large and growing market with the growing need for a new power source. We find there are many applications where legacy coin cell batteries and supercapacitors do not meet the design requirements of new innovative devices such as: small footprint, easy and cheap to assemble, superior electrical characteristics, safe to transport, safe disposal, and life of product energy storage. We created EnerChip rechargeable solid state batteries to meet exactly those types of design requirements and our customers are thrilled that we did. ■



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Radiation Hardened Ultra Low Noise, Precision Voltage Reference ISL71090SEH12


The ISL71090SEH12 is an ultra low noise, high DC accuracy precision voltage reference with a wide input voltage range from 4V to 30V. The ISL71090SEH12 uses the Intersil Advanced Bipolar technology to achieve sub 2µVP-P noise at 0.1Hz with an accuracy over temperature and radiation of 0.15%.

•• Reference output voltage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.25V ±0.05% •• Accuracy over temperature and radiation . . . . . . . . . .±0.15% •• Output voltage noise . . . . . . . . . . 1µVP-P Typ (0.1Hz to 10Hz) •• Supply current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 930µA (Typ)


•• Tempco (box method) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10ppm/°C Max


The ISL71090SEH12 offers a 1.25V output voltage with 10ppm/°C temperature coefficient and also provides excellent line and load regulation. The device is offered in an 8 Ld Flatpack package.

•• Output current capability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20mA


The ISL71090SEH12 is ideal for high-end instrumentation, data acquisition and applications requiring high DC precision where low noise performance is critical.

•• Operating temperature range. . . . . . . . . . . .-55°C to +125°C

Applications •• RH voltage regulators precision outputs

•• Line regulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8ppm/V •• Load regulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35ppm/mA

^^^7*)>LI JV T

•• Radiation environment - High dose rate (50-300rad(Si)/s) . . . . . . . . . . . 100krad(Si) - Low dose rate (0.01rad(Si)/s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100krad(Si)* - SET/SEL/SEB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86MeV•cm2/mg *Product capability established by initial characterization. The ““EH”” version is acceptance tested on a wafer by wafer basis to 50krad(Si) at low dose rate

•• Precision voltage sources for data acquisition system for space applications •• Strain and pressure gauge for space applications

•• Electrically screened to SMD 5962-13211

Related Literature •• AN1847, ““ISL71090SEHXX Evaluation Board User’’s Guide”” •• AN1863, ““SEE Testing of the ISL71090SEH12”” •• AN1864, ““Radiation Report of the ISL71090SEH12””



VIN 0.1µF

3 4









8 7 6 5







NOTE: Select C to minimize settling time.










1.2505 -40












August 8, 2013 FN8452.1



1.2500 -60




1µF VOUT (V)

















Intersil (and design) is a trademark owned by Intersil Americas LLC. Copyright Intersil Americas LLC 2013. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

Copyright 2013, Silicon Frameworks, LLC

P C B We b . c o m









Trends in Energy Production

Because of shale gas, the price of electricity at the wholesale markets are down substantially, forcing earlier retirements of coal plants as well as nuclear ones.

Shale gas drilling tower in Pennsylvania

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia user Ruhrfisch)



Shale gas is a natural gas found trapped within rock shale formations and its extensive use in power generation ranks as the most significant development in energy production in the past decade. As Nicholas indicated, “In 2000, shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production; by 2010, it was over 20% and estimates that I have seen from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration predict that by 2035, 46% of the United States’ natural gas supply will come from shale gas.” The abundant new supplies of natural gas, coupled with the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas-fired powered plants, have propelled a paradigm shift in how electric energy is produced in the U.S.; besides being cheaper to construct and faster to put on the grid, natural gas-fired powered plants use less water and emit less carbon than their coal-fired counterparts. Given these benefits and the amounts of shale gas reserves in the U.S., “this trend, this time, will be a lasting one,” Abi-Samra noted. In addition, Abi-Samra indicated that because of the shale gas, the price of electricity at the wholesale markets are down substantially ,forcing earlier retirements of coal plants as well as nuclear ones. Case-in-point, just this month, it was announced that Vermont Yankee Nuclear will retire in 2014, though its operational license is good for another eight years. This is mainly due to the drop of the wholesale power prices of the electricity it generates: $40 to $50 a megawatt hour today to about $90-$100 in 2008. This phenomenon could lead to further changes in the power generation mix in the USA, he added.

The success of gas-fired plants in the U.S. has had a ripple effect around the world. But, despite their widespread development throughout Europe, the displacement of coal by gas in the U.S. has resulted in an abundance of cheap fuel, forcing many gasfired power plants in Europe to shut down, while some coal-fired plants, which had been “mothballed,” to be fired back up. “So while carbon emissions from conventional power plants in the U.S. went down (2012, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped to a 20-year low), they actually increased in Europe,” said Abi-Samra. While an abundance of cheap coal continues to feed a burgeoning coal power plant industry in Europe, Europe has made significant strides towards the use of renewable energy as a means to meet their energy demands. “To give you an example,” cited Nicholas, “On July 8 Germany saw power generated from rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems peak at an all-time high of 24 GW.” According to Nicholas, this corresponds “to about 200 GWh in a single day, or 20% of Sunday’s total electricity needs in Germany.” To put in perspective, is equivalent to the total summer morning load for the California System Operator (CAISO).” Efforts to increase the use of renewable energies have not been limited to Europe either. California is currently leading the U.S. in this endeavor, “with over 150,000 solar projects, California just hit a record of almost 2 GW from solar generated power in June,” said Abi-Samra. Over the last couple of years, the price of the prevailing polysilicon-based photovoltaic (PV) cells plummeted Reductions in the cost of manufacturing PVs, driven by new engineered manufacturing techniques, lower labor costs in Asia, and government subsidies have contributed to the upswing in PV installations. But the demand for cheaper PVs has compromised their quality. Consequently, a lot of the focus today is being channeled towards slowing the “aging” of solar panels, and the application of nanotechnology films to keep the panels cleaner and more efficient. And, as AbiSamra indicated, “At DNV KEMA, we are very well entrenched in the PV field, from planning, operation, grid interconnections, innovations, etc. On the latter, we are

Photovoltaic Array

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia user Mhassan Abdollahi)

investigating floating solar with our SUNdy extraordinary innovation project for reservoirs, combining solar power with evaporation reduction.” On the future of PV systems, Abi-Samra added “When PV become economically viable, without subsidies (in terms of owning costs), and the energy produced by them is at price parity to traditional generation sources, then decentralized energy generation can become a reality. This can be expected to be a reality in the next ten years, or even sooner in the USA. Their use can be further propelled by the development of cost-effective, scalable, technological breakthroughs in battery energystorage technology. Inexpensive and reliable storage of energy will create new possibilities in managing intermittent power and enabling new power delivery and consumption business models.”

Photovoltaic cells can be further propelled by the development of cost-effective, scalable, technological breakthroughs in battery energy-storage technology.



PULSE Microgrid in Sendai, Japan

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia user Essicajay)

“A dynamic microgrid,” according to Abi-Samra, “will be capable of expanding or contracting the load requirements it can serve depending on the available generation and the priority of load to be served.”

Implementing New Energy Technologies and the Future of Transmission Grids Underlying the widespread implementation of new energy technologies is the need for flexible, communications enabled, highly automated transmission grids. Abi-Samra predicts that grids in upcoming years “will simplify more participation by different grid players who are partaking in different markets. Its intelligent technologies will have features to minimize the impacts of disturbances and extreme weather, and provide optimal levels of utilization and predictive maintenance of its assets.” Microgrids are especially suited for meeting these needs and circumventing the challenges new energy technologies, especially renewable energy resources such as solar or wind, pose.



Microgrids are essentially just miniature versions of the larger utility grid, but retain the ability to operate either islanded or interconnected with the larger utility grid. Because of this feature, microgrids can offer a greater degree of reliability. As Abi-Samra explains, “During Superstorm Sandy, a number of locations in the affected areas reported that on-site power generation and the ability to operate independently of the grid allowed them to have electricity. This propelled the ideas that microgrids can play a major role in system resiliency in the future.” In addition to enhanced reliability, microgrids can also serve to balance the load on the larger grid. The use of on-site sources of distributed generation (DG) to provide energy to the microgrid creates two-way power flows. The integration of new forms of DG, especially variable renewable energy resources such as PVs, is creating an increasingly complex dynamic network requiring a greater reliance on smart grid solutions, such as microgrids. “A dynamic microgrid,” according to Abi-Samra , “will be capable of expanding or contracting the load requirements it can serve depending on the available generation and the priority of load to be served.” In the future Nicholas envisions a grid that can ultimately be split into a controlled set of independently survivable islands, and then stitched back together as needed to create a balanced network of supply and demand. DNV KEMA has been working in this area for some time and has developed many analytic and financial tools to study and implement microgrids that promise to transform the electricity transmission and distribution industry. Nicholas Abi-Samra, DNV Kema, Senior Vice President, Electricity Transmission and Distribution at DNV KEMA, is experienced in power systems, planning, operations and maintenance. AbiSamra served as the General Chair and Technical Program Coordinator for the IEEE General Meeting of 2012. He is a professional engineer. ■

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