Ambiq shows interest in FinFET, FDSOI and an IPO

Ambiq shows interest in FinFET, FDSOI and an IPO

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

Ambiq is a private company founded in 2010 to commercialize circuits designed to operate at non-standard voltages down to around 0.3V – sub-threshold voltage operation – because of the energy efficiency the approach provides. The company is claiming to be market leader for the sale of microcontrollers into the wearables market and to be now shipping millions of units per month.

Ambiq works with foundry partner TSMC on manufacturing processes down to 22ULL, a 22nm planar CMOS, but the company is expected to move on to TSMC’s 12nm FinFET process for next generation designs.

In an interview with eeNews Europe, Scott Hanson, CTO of Ambiq, confirmed that the company is preparing a move to a 12nm manufacturing process (see The CTO interview with Ambiq’s Scott Hanson).

When asked if sub-threshold voltage operation could be applied to FDSOI manufacturing processes, Hanson replied: “FDSOI processes are indeed an interesting option for sub-threshold and near-threshold operations. Various characteristics, including the steep sub-threshold slope, are very attractive for low voltage operation. FinFET devices offer many of the same benefits as well. You should expect to see Ambiq using some of these more advanced processes in the near future.”

When asked to be more specific, Hanson declined to confirm or deny plans for FDSOI implementation for reasons of confidentiality.

The addition of FDSOI as a platform for its microcontrollers would likely require the addition of Globalfoundries, Samsung, or both, as foundry partners. TSMC does not at present offer an FDSOI option, and appears unlikely to do so.

But working with a second foundry could help Ambiq with supply issues which are affecting almost all application sectors at present.

When asked if Ambiq is preparing for an initial public offering of shares or looking to go public by way of a reverse take-over of a SPAC vehicle Hanson said: “An IPO is a very near-term possibility. There’s a real interest. I think we would do very well as a public company.”

Related links and articles:

News articles:

The CTO interview with Ambiq’s Scott Hanson

Ambiq offers ‘Always-on-Voice’ dev board

Ambiq gets Citizen watch design win

Ambiq launches Apollo4 SoC on 22ULL

Ambiq preps processor platform with NN support

Minima, ARM apply ‘real-time’ voltage scaling to Cortex-M3

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