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A Brief History of Sidense

A Brief History of Sidense
by Daniel Nenni on 01-24-2013 at 9:00 pm

Sidense Corp. is a leading developer of embedded non-volatile memory (NVM) intellectual property (IP) for the semiconductor IC market. The company is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and has a global presence with sales offices worldwide.

The company was founded in 2004 by CTO Wlodek Kurjanowicz, a MoSys fellow and co-founder of ATMOS Corporation. Wlodek saw a need in the market for a more area- and cost-efficient, and better performing NVM solution than provided by existing embedded NVM IP offerings or traditional EEPROM and flash. With this goal in mind, he developed the antifuse-based 1T-Fuse™ one-time programmable (OTP) bit cell, using a single-transistor split-channel architecture, for which Sidense has been granted several patents.

The 1T-OTP macros introduced definite advantages for chip developers by providing a small footprint, secure and reliable NVM solution using standard CMOS logic processes. Sidense quickly gained traction in the market, securing its first design wins for its SiPROM 1T-OTP macros by 2006 for code and encryption key storage in processor SoCs – the inherent security of the 1T-Fuse bit-cell and cost-effectiveness as a field-programmable solution being proven in the market.

 By 2008 Sidensemarked its 50[SUP]th[/SUP] customer tapeout with 1T-OTP and the first customers in production using this technology. Additionally the early innovative work done by Sidense resulted in several prestigious awards, including a Red Herring Canada 2008 Top 50 Award, a Companies-to-Watch Award in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards in 2008, and inclusion in EE Times 60 Emerging Startups list for 2008. As the development and support team grew to support its success, the company moved into larger offices in Ottawa.

Since then,Sidense has broadened its product offering to address NVM needs in different applications across many technologies. As the 1T-Fuse technology provides a small footprint solution, it is compact enough to support field programming of code and data updates, emulating multi-time programmable memory. With fast access time and wide I/O bus configurations, code can often be run from OTP memory without copying to RAM, fitting well with ROM replacement and mobile SoC code-storage applications. To address other trimming and fuse-replacement applications, the company introduced the ULP 1T-OTP macros in 2010, providing ultra-low power operation, fast power-on read of bit settings and small footprints for very power-sensitive analog and mixed-signal designs.

Embedded 1T-OTP for Code Storage

Focusing on customer and foundry requirements for manufacturability and reliability, the company has developed strong relationships with the top-tier semiconductor foundries and key IDMs, working closely to put 1T-OTP products through their qualification programs. In addition to implementing 1T-OTP in leading-edge, small-geometry CMOS logic processes, Sidense has introduced products for high-voltage and power/BCD technologies. These support NVM needs in such applications as power management and analog devices for high reliability and “under the hood” 150°C operation for automotive and industrial subsystems.

The company has grown to support increasing demand for its 1T-OTP products and broad market adoption of the technology. Sidense 1T-OTP is now licensed to more than 100 customers worldwide, including many of the top fabless manufacturers and IDMs, and is on devices in production across all major semiconductor market segments.

A wide range of 1T-OTP macros are now available in many variants at process nodes from 180nm down to 28nm, and the technology has been successfully tested in 20nm. The company’s focus looking ahead is on maintaining a leadership position with NVM at advanced process nodes and solutions focused on customer requirements in the major market segments, including mobile and handheld devices, automotive, industrial control, consumer entertainment, and wired and wireless communications. Sidense will continue to work with its foundry and other partners to develop new products and product enhancements to meet the evolving needs of its customers as they take advantage of migration to the latest generation of advanced process nodes and of new market opportunities.

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