CSS Mixed Signal ASIC Solutions

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The Engineers of CSS – Jeanne Bishop

April 9th, 2014 by Keith

CSS has a great staff of engineers, but since they are often working “behind the scenes” they may not be well known outside the company.  This article is the second of a series of interviews titled “The Engineers of CSS” which will hopefully help everyone to know them much better.

Jeanne Bishop came to work for CSS last year as a result of the merger with between CSS and Chronicle Technology.  Prior to the merger, Jeanne had worked for Chronicle for 16 years. Jeanne is a design engineer with a strong layout background. She has helped design large scale CMOS imaging devices for military and space applications including a full wafer stitched imager. She has also been involved with a 5.5 billion transistor digital design as well as many mixed signal projects.  Prior to working for CSS/Chronicle, Jeanne has worked for Adaptec, Western Digital and Independent Design Consultants.  Jeanne has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from California State University Long Beach.

Jeanne Bishop

Jeanne Bishop


CSS:  From your job history, it appears you have had a wide variety of design experiences.  What has been the most interesting or challenging design you have worked on?

Jeanne:  It has been exciting to work on a huge variety of projects over my career, all unique in some way. Some are interesting from an application sense, such as the CMOS imaging chip that (with luck and funding) should fly in a solar orbiter soon. It”s so awesome to think that something you helped create may fly in space.  Or the challenge of a 5.5 billion transistor design. Let me tell you, that is a lot of transistors to keep track of!  In the area of cutting edge technology, an upcoming 14nm FinFet design is real interesting.  This one turns traditional CMOS technology on its ear – so to speak.   My job is never dull. There are always new and interesting challenges.

CSS:  You were a long time employee of Chronicle before the merger.  I felt that the merger brought together talent and experience from both companies that resulted in a stronger company having more depth in engineering and more production experience.  What do you think has been the advantages of the merger?

Jeanne:  I completely agree. The merger seems to be a really good fit. It”s always good when designs are looked from different perspectives, everyone bringing their own experiences to the table. The strengths of the two companies have blended well. Collaboration between the two companies started right away. I can”t wait to see where we will be even a year from now.

CSS:  I know you are a working mom.  What advice would you give to a woman like yourself who wants to have a professional career and a family?

Jeanne:  Having a career and raising kids has been a challenge at times, but for me, the rewards are worth it. I have been very fortunate during my career to work for companies that support families and are flexible when “life” happens. With all the advances in technology these days, it makes things such as telecommuting a viable alternative to working full time in the office. I was able to take advantage of telecommuting while my girls were young, gradually adding more “in office” hours as they got older, they are 20 and 16 now. Splitting my time between home and work was a good fit for our family. It certainly meant some late nights, but definitely worth it. My advice would be to look at a company”s policy regarding leave, telecommuting, job share, etc. during the hiring process, even before you have kids. It”s important to remember that you are interviewing the company to make the right fit just as much as they are interviewing you.


Automotive ASICS

April 9th, 2014 by Keith

CSS is currently developing ASICs for automotive applications.  These devices present unique requirements for both the IC designer and the fabrication process – especially in the mixed-signal arena.  Some of our designers are familiar with these requirements via prior experience at Hughes Microelectronics Division in Newport Beach, California.  These designs were primarily for automotive dashboard applications (odometers, engine monitors, warning light indicators) or for related sensor applications.  See the Automotive ASICs page and Sensor ASICs page of the CSS website for examples.
Over the years, automotive electronic systems have become very sophisticated and complex as can be observed in the following picture.

Automotive Electronic Systems

Automotive Electronic Systems (Click to Enlarge)

The electronic content in vehicles is expected to continue to grow in the coming years and the market will be a driver for some electronics devices, especially micro-controllers and sensors.
Recent work at CSS has involved vehicle system interface and communication electronics.  Engine and other automotive diagnostic equipment must interface to the complex automotive systems that are subject to harsh electrical conditions (high voltage and electrical transients).  The diagnostic equipment, although outside the automobile, is still exposed to that tough environment.  For ASICs operating in these systems, this may mean special design techniques and protection circuits to survive the ESD and EOS transients commonly found in vehicle electronics.  As vehicles migrate to 24 volt systems, IC designs must accommodate higher supply voltages, typically 40 to 50 volts.  Special silicon processing capabilities is certainly a must!

Challenging, mixed-signal ASICs, such as automotive applications, are typical of CSS designs.  We specialize in systems that require custom designs and advanced fabrication processes.  If you require a custom IC that has special needs we would be pleased to review your requirements and help you make an informed decision on how to proceed.  You can get more information or ask questions via email – just go to the CSS website home page and under “Ask us about your ASIC needs” click “email”.