SOI Technology Improves Smart Cards

Bernin, France – Silicon On Insulator Technologies (SOITEC), a manufacturer of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers, has announced a joint program with Gemplus, a smart card producer, to use integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing technology on SOI substrates for smart card applications. Smart card functions are increasingly requiring complex ICs featuring high-speed and low-power requirements, and SOI technology is said to be the key to achieving both qualities.

“For a given speed,” states Jean-Luc Ledys, industrial director at Gemplus, “a circuit manufactured on SOI substrates will consume 30 percent less power than a standard circuit. Conversely, at the same energy consumption, the speed of the circuit built on SOI substrates will double compared to a similar device made using bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Finally, SOI technology allows the manufacturing of circuits with supply voltages as low as 0.8 V while delivering the same performance of one running at 1.5 V.” Applications include contactless cards, electronic labels, microcontroller cards and microsystems cards. The contactless smart card is said to be the portable device of the future. Having no batteries, the ICs used consume very low power while sending data by radio frequency. For more information, contact or flavie.gil@


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