Ferric and TSMCs partner on voltage regulators. In their paper “Package Voltage Regulators: An Answer for Power Management Challenges” Ferric describes their package voltage regulators (PVRs) that reportedly are the industry’s first single-chip power converters with on-chip thin-film magnetic power inductors, which eliminate the need for bulky external components. Ferric’s integrated thin-film inductors thus offer the advantage of smaller size, lower power consumption, and lower cost.
A full library of inductor designs spanning a broad range of current, voltage and density requirements is available through Ferric’s foundry partner, TSMC. Ferric’s patented thin-film magnetic core inductors are integrated on top of the chip or interposer as shown in featured image.
Ferric’s Integrated Voltage Regulator system designs are available for monolithic integrated voltage regulator (MVR) implementations in TSMC N28 and N7 (in development).
The conduction of power to a high-performance IC typically requires nearly 50% of package and IC I/O and is increasing with lower supply voltages and higher power density in more advanced CMOS nodes. By performing power conversion and voltage regulation in a package, the limitation can be mitigated. Ferrics integration of thin-film ferromagnetic inductors with CMOS technology enables power converters to be packaged with processors, HBM memory and other functions.
Since the integrated inductors in the PVRs are fabricated using CMOS BEOL layers, the power MOSFETS and control circuits of the power converter can be located directly below the inductors, leading to dense solutions, i.e as thin as 0.2mm. By decreasing the amount of current that must be delivered to a SoC package, PVRs can significantly reduce the number of package I/Os required for power and ground. Additionally, resistive losses in power distribution networks can be mitigated by the inclusion of PVRs.
In July 2018 Ferric was awarded $3.1M award as part of DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) to develop products in the area of integrated power management for novel compute, with focus on:
- New materials and component technologies that enable novel compute topologies
- Circuits prototypes and architectures that leverage unique components and functions