Semiconductor manufacturer, Sapphicon Semiconductor , deliberately set out do the hard stuff for their clients; designing unique chips and creating one of a kind technologies that are not available anywhere else. One service they provide is Compressed Reticle, a low cost integrated circuit prototyping service.
Many projects are simply not viable or too risky if hundreds of thousands of dollars have to be forked out for mask tooling - especially if there are iterations. Sapphicon Semiconductors' low cost integrated circuit prototyping service reduces these mask tooling costs so that it is more feasible to bring chip designs to life.
Compressed Reticle integrated circuit prototyping services overcome the prohibitive cost of mask tooling by arranging multiple images onto each photo mask thereby using only two or three masks instead of the15+ that are normally required.
This low cost integrated circuit prototyping service allows clients receive a complete 150 mm wafer dedicated exclusively to their design, and most importantly, not shared with other users. From there the clients' design can ramp up to full production semiconductor fabrication using Sapphicon's wafer foundry service.
Sapphicon Semiconductor use Silicon-on-Sapphire process technology to enable designs with lower power, higher frequency and lower noise specs compared to traditional bulk CMOS processes.
Silicon-on-Sapphire semiconductor process technology is ideal for a range of applications
- RF chips
- Integrated analog, digital, passives (R,C,L) and RF
- Very low noise amplifiers
- High Speed, Low Jitter VCOs (e.g. >10GHz)
- Low power, low voltage mixed signal chips
- High power MOSFETs
- Combined high and low power
- Photonics (Sapphire is optically clear).
In the past, chip designers have used Multi-Project Wafers to prototype their designs by sharing mask tooling and wafers with other customers. While Sapphicon did once provide this service, it has now been replaced with the new, Compressed Reticle low cost integrated circuit prototyping approach.
With Compressed Reticle integrated circuit prototyping, in many instances the quantity of devices supplied is sufficient for an initial production run, or may even totally fulfil the low volume demand. For example, an initial production run may yield 500 - 10,000 chips, depending on the chip size.