Case Study: Three-Channel ASIC

Incorporated in 1994, Clairex Semiconductor is an internationally-recognized leader in semiconductor packaging that specializes in the design and manufacture of precision optoelectronic products used across a wide range of industries, including the aerospace, motion control, medical, encoding, transportation, commercial, and consumer electronics sectors.

Based in Plano, Texas, Clairex Semiconductor manufactures hybrid components, arrays, infrared and visible LEDs, photo-IC design, emitter-detector assemblies, custom optics, and custom assemblies. We are known for our capability to design and manufacture custom components that strictly adhere to customer specifications.

A customer in the motion control sector was referred to us after seeking a solution through one of our reps in the US. This client needed a replacement for the three standard Opto-ICs they were using in their three-channel encoder. The customer could not find anything on the market that could meet their unique needs and their encoder’s production volume, and their customers for that part depended on having a suitable replacement.

Creating the Custom Sensor

Clairex met with the customer briefly in their lobby conference room and determined that they did not need to replace the ICs they had been using, rather they needed an ASIC that would replace the function of the three ICs, but with a single chip. In addition to having only one chip to mount, there were four fewer bonding operations since VCC and Ground had only to be bonded to one chip, not three. The icing on the cake proved to be that all three active areas were located on a single silicon chip, eliminating the need for the precision registration of the three chips, one to another.

Given that this customer was not fully-conversational with IC design techniques, we committed to a detailed proposal, keeping the specifics of IC design as much in the background as business ethics would allow. The Proposal was met with some enthusiasm, but an Engineering study was requested to assure that there were no details overlooked in the design of the new chip.

The Engineering Study was completed and accepted along with a Proposal for the development of the ASIC, which was completed within about six months of the start date. The ASIC performed exactly to their specifications and has been in continuous production for over 22 years.

Learn More

Prior to this project, Clairex’ Engineering already had extensive experience involving a wide range of custom-designed optoelectronic components. However, this project was different from the normal projects our engineering teams handle since optoelectronic ASICs were relatively new to the Electronics markets. It required us to develop a close relationship with the customer’s Engineering and production teams to assure that there would be no surprises on the delivery date. Subsequently, Clairex Engineering was called upon to assist in production process improvements to compensate for the difference in the size of the ASIC to the size of the previous three chips.

Clairex Semiconductor’s engineering team can develop custom solutions with the tightest tolerances under the strictest, but reasonable, timetables. To learn more about Clairex Semiconductor’s custom design and fabrication capabilities, contact us today.