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More Memory, Please

John Day

John Day

Posted Feb 21, 2014

Renesas Electronics announced this week that it has developed what it said is the industry’s first 28-nanometer (nm) flash memory intellectual property (IP) for microcontrollers (MCUs), using a 28 nm process technology. Automotive applications are among the technology’s targets.

Renesas’ current 40 nm process technology supports up to 8MB of on-chip flash memory for MCUs; however, Amrit Vivekanand, Vice President of Renesas Electronics America’s Automotive Marketing Unit, says that on-chip MCU flash memory modules as large as 10 MB will be required to support the increasing sophistication of the automotive control systems implemented with MCUs.

He said single-chip MCUs developed using the new 28 nm process technology will be able to support a maximum capacity of over 16MB flash memory on chip. In its prototype chip Renesas achieved a readout speed of 160 MHz (versus 120 MHz in its 40 nm process devices) from program storage flash memory – sufficient to implement complex real-time processing.

Moving to a finer process also enables about twice as many high-speed/low-power transistors to be included in the logic blocks compared with the 40 nm process. This makes it possible to develop MCUs with support for multiple CPU cores and multiple interface standards.

In ADAS (advanced driver assistance system), the increased memory capacity and performance can support the complex data processing needed for an application like 3D radar. For powertrains, the new technology will enable even finer-grained control of fuel injection and ignition through increases in the amount of mapping data used for fuel injection, and increased data processing capability. That translates to increased fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and lower current consumption.

Renesas leveraged MONOS (Metal Oxide Nitride Oxide Silicon) structure flash memory, used previously in 150 nm process MCUs in 2004, 90 nm MCUs in 2007, and 40 nm MCUs in 2012. It expects to be first to market with 28 nm flash MCUs for automotive applications.

40 nm process, advanced driver assistance system, 28 nm process, Renesas Electronics, MONOS (metal oxide nitride oxide silicon), powertrains

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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