ISSCC – Solid state circuits take centre stage


The IEEE ISSCC (International Solid State Circuits Conference), which runs this year from February 17-21 in San Francisco, is an important gathering for the electronic engineering industry. It is the world’s show case for the best in circuit design for integrated circuits.

Latest ISSCC 2013 news on

ISSCC: Cortex-M0 sleeps on nothing and wakes in 400ns
Texas Instruments has developed an ARM Cortex-M0 that can sleep on zero power and wake in 400ns, intended to run on harvested power. Key to the chip is ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) non-volatile logic (NVL), where the state of flip-flops is held without power.

ISSCC: Class-G and H vie to track 4G RF envelopes
Latest-generation mobile phone modulation schemes like WCDMA and LTE-Advanced produce very peaky RF signals that need transmit power amplifiers that are linear, wideband and low power.

ISSCC: IBM’s 5.5GHz 36 core processor
IBM revealed details of its 5.5GHz System z microprocessor chip in 32nm high-k CMOS at ISSCC this year. Each chip has six processor cores, compared with four in its 45nm predecessor and, to form a plug-in processing element, six chips are mounted on a 96x96mm ceramic tile, along with two memory chips.

ISSCC: Power is king at ISSCC this year
ISSCC 2013 – 60th Anniversary. Held every year in February in San Francisco, the IEEE’s International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) is the world showcase for innovative circuit design. This is the 60th conference, and year’s theme is 60 years of (em)powering the future. Amongst power supply papers, three papers on high-frequency operation stand out, two using on-chip energy storage and the third employing GaN transistors.


Previous ISSCC 2012 news

Wednesday 22 February 2012

ISSCC: 5.8GHz wake-up radio needs only 15µA
Korean engineers have implemented a 15µA 5.8GHz active wake-up radio using mixed signal processing.

ISSCC: ‘Fast’ organic transistor DAC works at 5V
Researchers in Stuttgart have made a 6bit DAC using organic semiconductors, claiming that it is “1,000 times faster and 30 times smaller than the currently fastest 6-bit DAC in organics”.

ISSCC: 3GPP-LTE radio needs no SAW filters
Belgian research lab IMEC and Renesas have revealed a reconfigurable transceiver that eliminates the need of surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters.

ISSCC: TI and MIT see DSP running off 0.6V
Texas Instruments and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) presented the design of 28nm mobile applications processor at the 2011 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).


ISSCC: IMEC and Holst bio chip gets accolade
A biopotential acquisition chip from IMEC and its Netherland partner Holst Centre has been singled out for praise at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.



Previous ISSCC 2010 news

Toshiba enables low-power SOC
Toshiba is showing a low-voltage SRAM technology at the ISSCC this week which reduces memory cell failure rate by four orders of magnitude at 0.7V, so overcoming the main challenge in achieving practical, low voltage SRAM.

IMEC unveils plastic electronics at ISSCC
Belgian research lab IMEC is unveiling a flexible organic ADC at ISSCC this week, and the fruits of other development programmes.

Intel, AMD detail 32nm high-k metal gate MPUs at ISSCC
Intel and AMD will present details of their 32nm high-k metal gate x86 microprocessors at the IEEE’s International Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC), which opens this week in San Francisco.

Previous ISSCC 2009 news

ISSCC: Fujitsu shows 77GHz CMOS RF chip
Fujitsu Laboratories has described the development of a RF transceiver fabbed on 90nm CMOS process technology.

ISSCC: IMEC attempts universal phone chip at 45nm
At the ISSCC, Belgian research lab IMEC reveals a receiver chip that can handle just about every mobile phone standard.

ISSCC: IMEC demonstrates 45nm CMOS transceiver
Belgian lab IMEC has developed a 60GHz front-end receive chain, phase-locked loop and power amplifier in 45nm digital CMOS.

ISSCC: Chip developments in processors, memory and RF
Once a year at the ISSCC in San Francisco, the IEEE pulls together the best of recent chip-based circuit designs both analogue and digital. Our technology editor Steve Bush picks a few of the most interesting ideas from hundreds of papers.

ISSCC: MIT energy scavenging circuit for piezoelectric power sources
MIT has pulled out all the stops in an energy scavenging circuit for piezoelectric power sources.


Previous ISSCC 2008 news

TI cuts 3.5G mobile power with 45nm processor
At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) Texas Instruments has drawn its first roadmap for a 45nm mobile baseband processor which will address what it called the power challenges of 3.5G wireless designs.

Holst Centre presents system for low-cost high-volume RFID tags
At this year’s ISSCC, Holst Centre has presented a plastic 64-bit inductively-coupled passive RFID tag operating at 13.56MHz. According to the organisation, it claims a record 780bit/s data readout of 64 bits over 10cm and that the tag generates a 5-fold higher bit rate compared to state-of-the-art plastic RFID systems.

Harvard claims NMR system is smallest built
Harvard University and its medical school build the smallest complete nuclear magnetic resonance  (NMR) system. Described at the ISSCC in San Francisco, the NMR weighs 2kg and occupies 2.5 litres.

DC-DC converter wastes only 1.4µA – ISSCC
Belgian research organisation IMEC has described a thermo-electric power conditioner consuming only 1.4µA at ISSCC, aimed at tiny radio sensor nodes requiring between 50 and 100µW.

ISSC - News in brief
Quad band GSM phone on 24mm2 digital CMOS chip; 10-bit 1msample/s ADC operates at 1.9µw; Sandisk and Toshiba show 3bit/cell NAND Flash

MIT, TI develop proof-of-concept, energy-efficient microchip – ISSCC
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Texas Instruments (TI) will unveil a portable electronics-focused chip design, that they believe is up to ten times more energy-efficient than present technology.

Near-field phased array antenna is encrypted
Researchers at Cal Tech Pasadena have built an active 1.5×1.5mm near-field phased array antenna, with secure communication by spatial encryption in mind.

Programmable chip for mobile WiMAX on show
Dr Anders Nilsson and Professor Dake Liu of the Linköping University in Sweden outlined a programmable baseband processor for mobile WiMAX and DVB-T/H at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco this week.

Infra-red video camera for consumer use has thermal detector with low cost 64 pixel sensor
Seiko is working on an infra-red video camera for consumer applications.

Previous ISSCC news on

Last year’s events can provide a taster of what attendees can expect from the 2008 conference. At the 2007 conference, AMD
presented its first quad-core x86 processor
. The ‘Barcelona’ Opteron was subsequently released in September. Coinciding with AMD’s 2007 announcement, Intel showed an 80-core parallel processor array.


Previous conferences offered differing points of view regarding the future of SoC. Leading presentations at ISSCC 2006 proved that SoC integration is a long way away from the simple march to chip singledom that has often been predicted.

A highlight from the 2006 conference, Cornell University announced it had made a 20nW power source using micromachining and a radio-isotope with a half-life of 100 years.

Intel to reveal two billion transistor chip at ISSCC
Intel will take the wraps off its quad-core Itanium, the first processor to exceed two billion transis tors.

AMD describes first quad-core processor
A launch at ISSCC 2007 where AMD has described its quad-core x86 processor.

Intel shows 80-core parallel processor array
Intel has revealed a 1.28Tflop single-chip number cruncher at ISSCC 2007.

ISSCC offers divergent views of SoC future
Keynote addresses and papers at the 2006 ISSCC showed that SoC (system-on-chip) integration is far from the simple march to a single chip that has often been portrayed.

Highlight of ISSCC is 20mW power source
Cornell University have made a 20nW power source using micromachining and a radio-isotope with a half-life of 100 years.

Further information on ISSCC

International Solid State Circuits Conference
Contains further details about the ISSCC, including hotel and registration information for those planning to attend.

Green Electronics” push for ISSCC’s event (Fabtech)
A special evening discussion hosted by the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) will see “green” electronics manufacturing issues at the fore.

WEEE Directive in full force from Sunday
A major topic of conversation at the ISSCC will be environmentally conscious practice from electronics engineers and companies.

Tags: electronic engineering, International Solid State Circuits Conference, ISSCC, research, solid-state, systems-on-a-chip

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