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What is an ASIC?


An ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is a microelectronic integrated circuit (chip) designed specifically for an application or product. Since the ASIC chip is customized for that application or product, significant advantages are available compared to discrete electronics solutions which utilize numerous standard electronic chips and components.

Concorde has developed complex, fully-custom, mixed-signal, CMOS, ASIC chips for high-end, medium volume, medical imaging products as well as for low-cost, high volume, battery-operated consumer products.

"Fully-custom" refers to custom transistor-level design where size, cost, and performance are optimized versus semicustom or standard-cell designs where a limited collection of existing nonoptimal designs or cells are pieced together.

"Mixed-signal" refers to chips containing both analog functions (signal amplifiers, filters, etc., required for initial processing of physical sensors) and digital functions (algorithm, microprocessor, and digital-signal processing functions). The design of complex analog functions, as well as the integration of these functions with noisy digital functions, is very complex and inherently risky. Concorde has significant experience and strength in the codesign of complex analog and digital circuits.

"CMOS" refers to Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor which is the prevalent integrated circuit technology for minimal cost and optimum performance for merging analog and digital circuits.


 

Advantages of Concorde’s Custom, Mixed-Signal, CMOS Chips Over Existing Discrete Designs

Factor of 3 to 100 Savings (through elimination of discrete components) in Product

  • Cost
  • Size
  • Power Consumption
  • Complexity

                                   Improved Product

  • Reliability, due to fewer components
  • Performance, through added features impossible without ASIC chips
  • Protection, as ASIC chips are much more difficult for competition to copy
  • Image, as use of custom integrated circuits provides marketing advantages

In many cases, a product solution was only available through the use of Concorde’s custom, mixed-signal, CMOS chips as discrete circuit solutions would be far too costly and bulky, and consume extensive power.

Over one and one-half million of Concorde’s custom, mixed-signal, CMOS chips have been shipped in medical imaging and consumer products.

"ASIC Projects" outlines illustrations of custom, mixed-signal, CMOS chips developed by Concorde.

Please contact us to find out how Concorde can contribute to your product using an ASIC!


What is an ASIC?


An ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is a microelectronic integrated circuit (chip) designed specifically for an application or product. Since the ASIC chip is customized for that application or product, significant advantages are available compared to discrete electronics solutions which utilize numerous standard electronic chips and components.

Concorde has developed complex, fully-custom, mixed-signal, CMOS, ASIC chips for high-end, medium volume, medical imaging products as well as for low-cost, high volume, battery-operated consumer products.

"Fully-custom" refers to custom transistor-level design where size, cost, and performance are optimized versus semicustom or standard-cell designs where a limited collection of existing nonoptimal designs or cells are pieced together.

"Mixed-signal" refers to chips containing both analog functions (signal amplifiers, filters, etc., required for initial processing of physical sensors) and digital functions (algorithm, microprocessor, and digital-signal processing functions). The design of complex analog functions, as well as the integration of these functions with noisy digital functions, is very complex and inherently risky. Concorde has significant experience and strength in the codesign of complex analog and digital circuits.

"CMOS" refers to Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor which is the prevalent integrated circuit technology for minimal cost and optimum performance for merging analog and digital circuits.


 

Advantages of Concorde’s Custom, Mixed-Signal, CMOS Chips Over Existing Discrete Designs

Factor of 3 to 100 Savings (through elimination of discrete components) in Product

  • Cost
  • Size
  • Power Consumption
  • Complexity

                                   Improved Product

  • Reliability, due to fewer components
  • Performance, through added features impossible without ASIC chips
  • Protection, as ASIC chips are much more difficult for competition to copy
  • Image, as use of custom integrated circuits provides marketing advantages

In many cases, a product solution was only available through the use of Concorde’s custom, mixed-signal, CMOS chips as discrete circuit solutions would be far too costly and bulky, and consume extensive power.

Over one and one-half million of Concorde’s custom, mixed-signal, CMOS chips have been shipped in medical imaging and consumer products.

"ASIC Projects" outlines illustrations of custom, mixed-signal, CMOS chips developed by Concorde.

Please contact us to find out how Concorde can contribute to your product using an ASIC!


Shared Investment Service


 

Concorde will share in the investment and cost associated with the design of your analog or digital ASIC, as an effective option for smaller companies.

The cost to be assumed by Concorde includes the required engineering, the ASIC prototyping cost, the necessary circuit simulation, and the ASIC testing protocol. This minimum non-recurring cost ranges from approximately $100,000 to as high as several million dollars.

Concorde will assume this non-recurring cost and the corresponding risk that the ASIC will meet the required design goals including the specified performance and the improvements in cost, size, power consumption, and reliability.

The ASIC design must be of such significance to your product that a reasonable payback can be expected by Concorde in addition to a significant improvement in your cost or one or more of the other expected parameters.

Typically, Concorde will receive its payback in the form of overall cost savings created by the ASIC design. In many cases, the payback can be only a small percentage of the total cost improvement.

One the the designs by Concorde of an ASIC for a consumer product serves as a good example of the shared-risk service provided.

The cost improvement can be seen by comparing the final ASIC production cost of $1.50 to the original cost of the discrete circuit of $27.00 per unit.

The consumer product company paid Concorde $3.50 in addition to the ASIC production cost of $1.50, for a total of $5.00 per chip. This represented a company savings of $22.00 per unit. The break-even volume for Concorde was 100,000 units or $350,000.

For these 100,000 units, the company saved a total of $2,200,000 and this savings was accomplished in approximately six months of consumer product sales.

In addition to cost savings, considerable improvements in size, power consumption, performance, and reliability can be expected.


Company Profile


 

Concorde Microsystems, Inc. was founded in 1992 to provide services in the design of electronic systems and mixed-signal (analog and digital) Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). In mid-1997 Concorde initiated efforts to commercialize microPET, a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner designed for small animal imaging.

Over the past years Concorde has produced six mixed-signal ASICs and has developed two major products for the consumer market utilizing mixed-signal ASICs. Concorde has demonstrated designs that have reduced substantially product costs, size, and power requirements. In addition to improving the product features, the designs have maintained or improved critical performance parameters such as accuracy, stability and reliability. In each of its ASIC development projects Concorde's staff of engineers apply a wealth of ASIC design experience to produce  innovative and technically superior ASIC solutions.

Concorde has recently completed a system design for a wireless electronic pet containment product. This system is composed of a very sophisticated magnetic field transmitter and a miniature sensor receiver worn by the pet. This project was developed over a three year period and utilized approximately five man-years of engineering effort. The project began with the concept and has progressed through production of prototypes, detailed field testing, and the development of an ASIC chip set. The final chip set (three chips) was released in 1999. 

Another recently completed mixed-signal ASIC chip developed by Concorde was designed for use in Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Possessing extensive experience in PET, Concorde was the logical choice for Knoxville based CTI when revisions to its existing ASIC front-end processor were required. Phase II of this PET project will involve a complete redesign of the current chip set. In addition to being a key element in CTI's latest generation of clinical scanners this chip set will be utilized by Concorde in its own microPET small animal research tomograph products. The Phase II project is just now beginning and is estimated to be completed within two years. 

microPET is a high resolution positron emission tomography (PET) scanner designed for imaging small laboratory animals. Demand for such  scanners comes from a range of biomedical research disciplines with an interest in using PET to study animal models of human disease. The first tomographs are due to ship in 1999.


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