Patents Assigned to SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
  • Publication number: 20040095488
    Abstract: Disclosed is a fault tolerant CMOS image sensor that includes circuitry for identifying defective pixels and masking them during image generation. Masking may involve, in one example, replacing the output of a given pixel with an average of the output of surrounding non-faulty pixels. Thus, while image sensors may be fabricated with some number of faulty pixels, the images produced by such sensors will not have undesirable bright or dark spots. The disclosed sensor includes (a) one or more pixels (active or passive) capable of providing outputs indicative of a quantity of radiation to which each of the one or more pixels has been exposed; and (b) one or more circuit elements electrically coupled to the one or more pixels and configured to identify and correct faulty pixels in the CMOS imager. The one more pixels each include a photodiode diffusion formed in a well and a tap to power or ground also formed in the well.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 3, 2003
    Publication date: May 20, 2004
    Applicant: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventors: Roberto Rambaldi, Marco Tartagni, Alan H. Kramer
  • Publication number: 20030190781
    Abstract: An integrated circuit memory fabrication process and structure, in which salicidation is performed on the periphery (and optionally on the ground lines) of a memory chip, but not on the transistors of the memory cells.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 26, 2002
    Publication date: October 9, 2003
    Applicant: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert Louis Hodges, Loi Ngoc Nguyen
  • Patent number: 6064109
    Abstract: A semiconductor device includes an emitter region, a contact region, and a resistive medium. The resistive medium is connected between the contact region and the emitter region. The contact region and the emitter region each include an edge facing each other. At least a portion of the emitter region edge and at least a portion of the contact region edge are non-parallel relative to each other. This configuration enables an emitter ballast resistance to be provided with varied emitter current flow along the injecting edge of the emitter. Furthermore, by including an additional contact and an additional resistive medium between the contacts, the ballast resistance of the semiconductor device can be increased without decreasing the figure of merit of the device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2000
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard A. Blanchard, William P. Imhauser
  • Patent number: 6014050
    Abstract: According to the present invention, by setting the logic state of one or more delay signals to appropriate values, the resistive value of a plurality of power supply delay elements throughout an integrated circuit having distributed circuit blocks may be modified to produce desired delay times or pulse width adjustments throughout the integrated circuit. Setting delay signals to desired logic states may be accomplished by a variety of means including forcing test pads to a logic level, blowing fuses, or entering into a test mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 11, 2000
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: David Charles McClure
  • Patent number: 5880015
    Abstract: A method is provided for making conductive structures whereby an insulating layer is formed over a substrate. A conductive layer is then formed over the insulating layer. A first photoresist layer is formed over the conductive layer, patterned and developed. The conductive layer is etched after which the first photoresist layer is removed. A second photoresist layer is formed over the integrated circuit, patterned and developed. The remaining regions of the conductive layer forming an interconnect or a gate are partially etched to form two-tiered stepped sidewalls.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 14, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 9, 1999
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: William Y. Hata
  • Patent number: 5862301
    Abstract: A motor control circuit, including a filter amplifier which includes a clamping circuit to limit the maximum voltage of the filter amplifier. The filter amplifier is clamped to essentially the same level as the following error amplifier, which drives the power transistor which drives the motor. Thus, the requisite control voltage is normally present anyway (since this voltage is used to limit the amount of maximum current in the motor). Since the corresponding level of current is selected to ensure adequate current during start up, this signal is therefore appropriate to limit the output voltage of the filter amplifier. This improvement adds very little circuit complexity, and reduces the settling time of the motor controller at startup.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 1993
    Date of Patent: January 19, 1999
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Walter S. Gontowski, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5849614
    Abstract: An isolation gate structure is formed between active areas on a P-type semiconductor substrate. The isolation structure includes a thick gate oxide layer over which is formed a P-doped polycrystalline silicon layer. The polycrystalline silicon layer is electrically connected to the substrate, by buried contact if desired, and can further be electrically connected to a source region formed within the active area. The polycrystalline silicon layer and substrate are connected to ground potential, thus preventing current flow between active areas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 15, 1998
    Assignee: SGS Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Tsiu Chiu Chan
  • Patent number: 5847464
    Abstract: A method of forming a thick interlevel dielectric layer containing sealed voids formed in a controlled manner, over a substantially planar surface in semiconductor device structure, and the semiconductor structure formed according to such a method. The sealed voids are used to reduce interlevel capacitance. A plurality of metal signal lines are formed over a globally planarized insulator. A thick layer of first conformal interlevel dielectric is deposited over the metal signal lines and over the intermetal spacings formed between the metal signal lines. Because of the thickness, flow properties, and manner of deposition of the interlevel dielectric and the aspect ratio the intermetal spacings, voids are formed in the first conformal interlevel dielectric, in the intermetal spacings. This interlevel dielectric is then etched or polished back to the desired thickness, which exposes the voids in the wider intermetal spacings, but does not expose voids in the narrower intermetal spacings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 8, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventors: Abha R. Singh, Artur P. Balasinski, Ming M. Li
  • Patent number: 5837587
    Abstract: A mask is used for lightly doped drain and halo implants in an integrated circuit device. The mask exposes only portions of the substrate adjacent to field effect transistor gate electrodes. Since the halo implant is made only near the transistor channels, where it performs a useful function, adequate device reliability and performance is obtained. Since the halo implant is masked from those portions of the active regions for which it is not necessary, active region junction capacitances are lowered. Such lowered capacitances result in an improved transistor switching speed. The mask used to define the lightly doped drain and halo implant region can be easily formed from a straight forward combination of already existing gate and active area geometries.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 3, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 17, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Che-Chia Wei
  • Patent number: 5828242
    Abstract: A comparator with a built-in offset is disclosed. The comparator includes a bias current circuit, a differential input stage with the built-in offset, and a hysteresis circuit. The built-in offset is generated by using a resistor in the differential input stage of the comparator such that the resistor is driven by the bias current as well as the current generated by the hysteresis circuit. Additionally, a reset circuit which uses the comparator with the built-in offset is described. The reset circuit uses a voltage divider circuit to divide a first input voltage to the comparator. A band-gap voltage reference is used to provide a second input voltage to the comparator. Therefore, the reset circuit generates a reset signal when the divided voltage reaches the value of the band-gap voltage plus the offset. In another embodiment, a comparator having a differential input stage, an output stage, and a bias circuit with a hysteresis circuit is disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 27, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Eric J. Danstrom
  • Patent number: 5825167
    Abstract: An integrated transconductor circuit in which the input transistor(s) passes a current across a reference resistor. This conventional arrangement produces current error terms of Vbe/R and Ib. According to the present invention, these terms are compensated by providing a compensation resistor which is matched to the first resistor, and a compensation transistor which is matched to the input transistor, interconnected to feed the appropriate current components to the output. For even better compensation, an additional transistor is optionally added to remove the effect of base current of the compensation transistor. In differential embodiments, the compensation resistor may be bridged or split. Zero, one, or more stages of current mirroring can optionally be used to provide the desired output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 20, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Marc Ryat
  • Patent number: 5825060
    Abstract: A resistor structure suitable for use in an SRAM cell is formed from polycrystalline silicon elements. These elements have a cross-section which is less than is normally available for polycrystalline silicon interconnect lines, allowing increased resistance values to be implemented using a lesser amount of surface area. In one embodiment of a resistor, sidewall spacers are formed in a cavity within an insulating layer, and polycrystalline silicon resistive elements are formed in the narrowed region within the cavity. In another embodiment, polycrystalline silicon resistors alongside vertical sidewalls of a cavity are formed using sidewall spacer technology. In either event, the cross-sectional area of the resistors is less than that normally available for a given processing technology, resulting in enhanced resistor values.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 1992
    Date of Patent: October 20, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles R. Spinner, III
  • Patent number: 5818292
    Abstract: According to the present invention, a circuit, utilizing a minimum number of bipolar devices and current mirror scaling devices, generates a bandgap reference voltage. The bandgap voltage generated by the bandgap reference circuit is a function of a plurality of sized current mirror devices, the ratio of a first resistor to a second resistor, and the number and relative sizing of bipolar junction transistors used. The bandgap reference circuit generates a bandgap reference voltage which is suitable for use in a variety of integrated circuit devices, such as a zero power static random access memory (SRAM). If used in a zero power SRAM application, the bandgap reference voltage may be utilized to determine when the primary power source of the zero power SRAM has fallen below a predetermined voltage level and a secondary power source must be substituted for the primary power source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 6, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: William Carl Slemmer
  • Patent number: 5813893
    Abstract: A method for fabricating a field emission display and the resulting display device are disclosed. The method includes the steps of arranging a sealing layer between a face plate and a substrate, heating the sealing layer until the substrate layer adheres to the face plate, and then pulling the face plate away from the substrate so that the vacuum is improved. The sealing layer may be constructed from glass and heated with a heating coil made from Ni-chrome wire. The elements can be positioned using industrial robots using common manufacturing techniques.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 29, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Richard K. Robinson
  • Patent number: 5808947
    Abstract: An integrated circuit is formed on a die that is formed as a detachable part of a semiconductor wafer. The wafer includes both a wafer test-mode path that is operable to carry a wafer test-mode signal and a wafer power-supply path that is operable to carry a wafer power-supply signal. The integrated circuit includes functional circuitry that supports normal and wafer-test modes of operation and that is coupled to the wafer test-mode path before the die is detached from the wafer. The functional circuitry is operable to function in the wafer test mode of operation when the wafer test-mode signal has a first state. The integrated circuit also includes a wafer test-mode power circuit that is coupled to the functional circuitry, and that is coupled to the wafer power-supply path and the wafer test-mode path before the die is detached from the wafer. The power circuit is operable to couple the wafer power-supply path to the functional circuitry when the wafer test-mode signal has the first state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: David C. McClure
  • Patent number: 5808960
    Abstract: A circuit and method for determining the exact time at which data begins to be written to a memory cell. A write sensing circuit is connected to a data input line. When data is presented on the data input line for writing to the memory cell, the write sensing circuit outputs a write start signal indicating that data is being presented to memory cells for writing. The actual start time of a write to a memory cell is therefore accurately timed based on the start of the write to the memory cell itself. This provides the advantage that the change in state of the data is directly sensed as the factor for measuring the start time of a write to a memory cell. The data can be sensed either directly from the bit lines or, alternatively, from a write data bus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: David C. McClure
  • Patent number: 5804994
    Abstract: A comparator with hysteresis which has a bias current circuit, a differential input stage, and an output stage is disclosed. The differential input stage uses a parallel transistor and an enabling transistor connected in parallel to one of the differential pair transistors to create hysteresis. The parallel transistor and enabling transistor are used to generated an effective offset voltage which must be overcome for the comparator to switch states.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 8, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventors: C. Allen Marlow, Eric J. Danstrom
  • Patent number: 5805523
    Abstract: The decoded address signal is stored in the slave latch. The output of the slave latch is a column select signal. The slave latches are organized in a slave latch circuit which is connected as a counter. Each of the slave latches is treated as a register and four slave latches are combined to permit the sequential addresses selected to be in count up or count down as the slave latch circuit is clocked. In addition, a burst counter control circuit selectively controls the counter to produce a count in an interleaved mode or a count up mode. The least significant bit of the address is stored within the burst control circuit for indicating whether the count should be an up count or a down count when operating in the interleaved mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 8, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventor: Mark A. Lysinger
  • Patent number: RE37477
    Abstract: To protect integrated circuits as efficiently as possible against electrostatic discharges, by putting a diode in avalanche mode without untimely triggering of this avalance mode by overvoltages of non-electrostatic origin, the following solution is proposed: through an insulated gate surrounding the cathode of the diode, the threshold for transition into avalanche mode of the diode is modified according to the slope of the overvoltages appearing at the terminal to be protected. The gate is connected to the terminal by an integrating circuit in such a way that the overvoltages are applied to the gate with a certain delay, inducing a potential difference between the cathode and the gate which is all the greater as the front of the overvoltage is steep. The avalanche triggering threshold is higher in the latter case than in the former one, and it is thus distinguish between overvoltages of diverse origins.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 18, 2001
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventors: Francois Tailliet, Jacek Kowalski
  • Patent number: RE36443
    Abstract: An option select circuit for a dialer includes an internal address generator (20) for generating an address pattern, which, in a set up mode, is output from a multiplexer (14) to I/O pins (10). The pins (10) are selectively hardwired through an interface circuit (24) back to address input pins (50) and (52) for input to a decorder (28). The decoder (28) decodes the selected address for input to a PLA (30). This allows selection of various functions in a function generator (12) for operation in the normal dialer mode. The interface circuit (24) comprises hardwire connections (54) and (56).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 14, 1999
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Inc.
    Inventors: Herman Ma, Darin L. Kincaid, David N. Larson