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TI acquires power management start-up

Posted: 13 Feb 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MOSFET  analogue power  power management 

Expanding its analogue power management lines, Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc. has acquired Ciclon Semiconductor Device Corp. for an undisclosed price.

With Ciclon, TI gains quick entry into the power MOSFET and other analogue-oriented IC businesses. Ciclon makes power MOSFETS and RF-based laterally-diffused metal oxide semiconductor (LDMOS) power transistors.

Power MOSFET suppliers include Infineon, Renesas and a number of others. But Ciclon claims to have an advantage over its rivals in several applications, such as the computer, server and other power-hungry market segments.

The company's MOSFET technology, known as NexFET, attains performance and size improvements by delivering a reduction in gate charge, said Mark Granahan, Ciclon's CEO.

Ciclon's power management technology is said to double a power system's operating frequency. It is said to be able to achieve greater than 90 per cent power efficiency in a footprint up to 20 per cent smaller than current power supplies, according to the companies.

Steve Anderson, senior vice president for TI's Power Management business unit, said the deal gives TI a one-stop shop in the analogue power managment market.

TI solves complex power design challenges with DC-to-DC controllers and IC drivers, Anderson said. Now, it can offer the missing piece in power MOSETs for OEMs, Anderson said.

"We always had the Power Supply Controllers and now we will have the Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors (MOSFETs). This will help us deliver the complete energy efficient solution. The IP in terms of patents and ease of manufacturing of the MOSFET devices will add value to Texas Instruments' strong position in the power domain," says Ramprasad Ananthaswamy, director – Power Management Products, Texas Instruments India.

Ananthaswamy added that the announced acquisition would not impact India-based design activities. "The India based design activity will continue as usual."

Under the terms of the deal, Ciclon will be folded into TI. Granahan will become general manager of the Power Stage business unit.

Ciclon has 50 employees. Ciclon's roots can be traced back to Agere Systems, which was acquired by LSI Corp. in 2006. In 2005, Agere exited the RF LDMOS chip market, selling its product line to Ciclon.

The deal is TI's latest acquistion in the analogue arena. In 2007, TI, the world's largest analogue vendor, acquired Integrated Circuit Design Inc., a supplier of RF and power management technology.

Also in 2007, TI bought Powerprecise Solutions, a supplier of battery management technology. Last year, TI bought Commergy Technologies, which develops power supply technology. And also last year, it bought Innovative Design Solutions, which has expertise in integrating high-speed analogue devices for markets like test and measurement, communications and medical.

-Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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