Semiconductor process technology has played a significant role in advancing the technology behind motor drivers. Control ICs have improved as the silicon process has evolved from bipolar to the latest BiCD process that allows logic and high-voltage circuitry to be fabricated on a single chip. As a result, today’s controllers have smaller die sizes, lower power losses and are directly compatible with modern low-voltage logic devices such as the latest generation microcontrollers.
Successive BiCD process generations, moving forward from the 0.8um geometry of the late 1990’s, have driven up gate density from around 6,000 gates/mm2 to over 200,000 gates/mm2 in Toshiba’s advanced 0.13μm process. This allows significantly greater logic capability in the latest motor control ICs, allowing control and safety functionality to be offloaded from the host microcontroller resulting in simpler system software and circuit design.
Compared to bipolar technology, BiCD controllers save more than 80% of the power normally dissipated thereby significantly helping to improve energy efficiency.
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