Next-generation automotive systems will increasingly require microcontrollers (MCUs) with more computational performance, better power efficiency, and greater memory content to meet new requirements in areas such as safety, emissions, and driver-assistance systems, according to STMicroelectronics.
Having made that assessment earlier, the company in February announced its 55-nm embedded flash (eFlash) process technology. It is an evolution of the company's 90-nm eFlash technology and will serve as the basis for ST's future automotive 32-bit Power Architecture-based MCU roadmap.
The 55-nm technology—to be manufactured at a company's facility in Crolles, France—currently is being tested in vehicles. Targeted for applications including engine and transmission management, car body control, and safety, the chip will be available for customer sampling in mid-2011 and automotive qualification in 2013.
Fifty-five nanometers is the width of the channel through which electrons flow in the transistors on the device. About 2000 of these electron channels could fit within the width of a human hair.