Contributed by: Sinjin Dixon-Warren
Chipworks has been collecting silicon art for many years, and our collection includes images gathered by Integrated Circuit Engineering of Phoenix Arizona, acquired by Chipworks in 2001.
As the density of integrated circuits has increased, the value of real estate on the wafer has also increased, thus reducing the space available for the creative engineer to leave his or her mark. However, from time to time, especially in analog circuits, Chipworks continues to find some splendid silicon art examples.
The first example is from the Infineon TLE8718SA smart 18-channels low-side switch in Smart Power technology. The device was fabricated using a 0.5 µm BiCMOS-DMOS (BCD) process technology and Chipworks has completed a full structural analysis of the die. The die markings featured the following markings with the text SUPA WIESNA. A Google search reveals various Polish music references.
A second example comes from Qualcomm. Recently, we completed a layout analysis of the QFE1100 enveloped tracking technology for 3G/4G application devices. Essentially, the QFE1100 provides antenna power management to give longer battery life, reduced heat dissipation, and improved transmit signals. Clearly, the device designers felt they were on to something, since they placed the markings “SHOW ME THE MONEY” on the die. The famous quote comes from Cameron Crowe's 1996 Oscar nominated film “Jerry Maguire” with Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Silicon Art continues to provide much enjoyment for the engineering community at Chipworks, and we hope the tradition continues for many years to come.