What Is Z-Platform?
Semtech’s Z-Platform is a proprietary circuit protection technology platform engineered to deliver optimal circuit protection for safeguarding today’s consumer and portable electronics devices from electrostatic discharge (ESD) and overvoltage threats. The Semtech Z-Platform helps our customers achieve a smooth and successful launch by exceeding the industry’s toughest ESD immunity requirements. As today’s integrated circuit transistor geometries continue to scale to smaller feature sizes, the Z-Platform ESD protection devices provide industry leading ESD protection margin to safeguard even the most sensitive data circuits.
Using Z-Platform Technology
Semtech’s Z-Platform leverages multiple technology enhancements to reduce device capacitance, lower ESD clamping voltage and increase surge immunity while also delivering the most efficient package design in the industry. This platform of devices optimizes ESD and surge voltage clamping performance while utilizing only a fraction of the PCB space required on traditional transient voltage suppressor (TVS) devices.
As today’s high-speed digital interfaces are routinely exposed to external ESD events, the TVS protecting those devices must exhibit very low ESD clamping and extremely low junction capacitance. High speed data interfaces can be sensitive to even less than 1 picofarad (pF) of added junction capacitance on the interface. The Z-Platform ESD protection devices use advanced processes to achieve inherently lower TVS junction capacitance. The lower capacitance achieved on Semtech’s latest advanced process technology ensures that signal integrity of the end product design is preserved.
Improved Signal Integrity
A commonly used measurement tool is the Eye Diagram test. This test is used to validate a component’s impact on an interface’s signal integrity. The diagram shows an eye pattern test in which a Semtech Z-Platform device is protecting the latest Thunderbolt transceiver. Thus, this TVS is safeguarding an interface delivering data at a rate of 20 Gbps per channel. As the image shows, the open eye pattern around the test mask validates that the TVS is not adversely impacting the signal integrity.
ESD Clamping Performance
Perhaps the most important performance metric that sets the Z-Platform apart is the ESD Clamping voltage that these devices achieve. One test methodology used to measure the ESD clamping performance is the Transmission Line Pulse (TLP) test. A notable improvement in ESD clamping is seen in the TLP image by the pronounced shift of the red clamping curve to the left. With Z-Platform, a near vertical TLP curve is achievable, demonstrating very low dynamic resistance (Rdyn), a measure of how efficiently a TVS device is clamping an ESD transient. The superior ESD clamping performance of the Z-Platform gives designers protection components that protect even the most sensitive data transceivers on the market.
Better Surge Handling
In addition to safeguarding ESD transients, consumer electronic devices also need to have robust surge immunity. Today’s portable electronics can be exposed to rogue transients from non-compliant power charging sources. To protect these devices from hostile power sources, Z-Platform delivers protection devices with improved surge handling. As can be seen in the image, the Z-Platform devices can significantly reduce the level of surge transient to safer levels while minimizing the PCB space.