Researchers at UL to pioneer software tool for the semiconductor industry

26 Jun 2012

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Senior research fellow Dr Mark Halton, who is based at the Circuits and Systems Research Centre at University of Limerick

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Researchers at University of Limerick (UL) have been awarded €346,600 in funding to develop a software tool suite for power semiconductor companies based in Ireland.

The research is being facilitated by a Commercialisation Fund award from Enterprise Ireland.

Dr Mark Halton, a senior research fellow based at the Circuits and Systems Research Centre at UL, will be leading the research project.

He said that with the drive to find more cost-effective energy-efficient power supplies, power semiconductor companies need capability to support rapid innovation and growth.

“We are developing a unique software tool suite that will allow companies to design, test and validate new power supply designs faster and more reliably,” said Halton.

He said the aim of the research will be to allow Irish and Irish-based companies operating in the power semiconductor area to maintain an edge in global markets.

According to analysis from iSuppli, the total available power management market is expected to reach US$45bn worldwide by 2014.

Irish power companies operating in this space include Ikon Semiconductor, Powervation and Chip Sensors, which was recently acquired by Silicon Laboratories.

And, as for multinational semiconductor companies that have set up Irish bases, these include the likes of Analog Devices, ON-Semi, Texas Instruments, which acquired the Irish start-up Commergy, and the German-based power company ZMDI.

Halton pointed out, however, that Irish industry could suffer from a lack of skillset and capability with the move from analogue-controlled to digitally-controlled solutions.

“This software tool suite aims to provide Irish power semiconductor companies with the expertise and capability in a software package to perform more efficient and more cost-effective R&D prototyping, thereby delivering a faster route to technology-driven global markets,” he added.

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Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com