October 22,2008 -- e2v, the leading designer, developer and manufacturer of specialised components and subsystems, has announced the selection of the CORTUS APS3 CPU core for sensor interface mixed signal ASICs, fulfilling e2v’s exacting system-on-a-chip requirements in terms of high performance, size, and power processing.
e2v's Mixed Signal ASIC (MSA) business unit specialises in providing customised solutions for sensor data acquisition for automotive, medical and industrial markets, specifically in safety and security, energy management, pollution reduction, health and sport applications.
e2v’s approach to designing mixed signal ASICs has been to deliver more intelligence on the chip by embedding increased processing performance, and focusing on reducing unit cost and power consumption.
“In the mixed signal IC domain, power and cycle efficiency are even more critical than in full digital SOCs with their very high gate counts. This is why e2v has selected the CORTUS APS3 32-bit CPU core for mixed signal ASICs, or ASSPs”, said Franck Berny, marketing and applications manager at e2v's MSA business unit.
The efficiency of the APS3’s instruction set, and associated tool chain, allow much denser code, requiring a significantly smaller code memory area. Increased code density also leads to fewer clock cycles and hence a lower power requirement and less noise. Equally, in terms of efficiency, the 32-bit architecture is well suited for high dynamic range calculations such as those typically performed in sensor applications. The coprocessor interface and software tool support, comprising advanced GNU based compilers and debuggers, including the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) “Eclipse” framework, allow further optimisation through the integration of hardware accelerators.
e2v recently announced the availability of its new Mixed Signal ASIC Development Kit, CAPRI2, a leading edge toolset for pre-developing and validating entire sensing systems and improving new product time-to-market. This great plug-and-play tool for e2v’s customers comprises several daughter boards each containing an analogue front-end specific to a particular sensing element (resistive, capacitive etc.), and a shared mother board representative of the future ASIC digital partition, which can embed the APS3’s small footprint 32-bit CPU within an FPGA .
This Development Kit approach gives e2v designs the full benefit of the ultra high performance APS3 CPU, associated to fast and first-silicon-right designs, thanks to proven silicon and reusable building blocks.
“With a silicon footprint as small as 8 bit cores, the 32 bit APS3 CPU gives e2v a twofold competitive advantage over legacy 8 bit cores traditionally used in sensor interface mixed signal ICs”, added Philippe Kuntz, embedded systems team manager at e2v.
Cortus S.A. is the developer of compact low power 32-bit RISC processor IP for cost sensitive embedded applications. The processors have excellent code density and good performance which can be further enhanced with specialised instruction set extension through coprocessors.
A complete IDE for Windows and Linux is available which includes C and C++ compilers, debugger, instruction set simulator etc. The IDE supports multi core implementations.
The fact that the processor needs only 10K gates means that there is no reason to use an 8 or 16 bit processor any more. Applications are very varied and range from consumer devices to smart cards to military circuits. About e2v
e2v’s objective is to be a global leader in the design and supply of specialised components and sub-systems that enable the world’s leading systems companies to deliver innovative solutions for medical and science, aerospace and defence, and commercial and industrial markets.
e2v has 4 major product groups:
- High performance electron devices and subsystems for applications including defence electronic countermeasures, radiotherapy cancer treatment, and radar systems
- Advanced Imaging sensors and cameras for applications including industrial process control, dental X-ray systems, space science and life sciences
- Specialist semiconductors, including logic, memory and microprocessors for high reliability mission-critical programs in avionics, defence and telecommunications, sensor data acquisition, and high speed data conversion
- A range of professional sensing products for applications including fire, rescue and security thermal imaging, X-ray spectroscopy, and military surveillance, targeting and guidance
For the year ended 31 March 2008, e2v achieved sales of £205m and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. In October 2008 e2v acquired QP semiconductor, a leading US-based designer and supplier of specialty semiconductor components used in military and aerospace applications, establishing e2v’s first US manufacturing base.
The Company is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has approximately 1800 employees in six production facilities across Europe and North America. e2v also operates a global network of sales and technical support offices, supported by local distributors and resellers.
Further information is available from www.e2v.com