Z80 8-Bit CPU Formed on Glass Substrate - A World First
Sharp Corporation (headquarters: Abeno-ku, Osaka; Katsuhiko Machida, President; "Sharp" below), and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture; Shumpei Yamazaki, President; "SEL" below), have successfully integrated an 8-bit Z80*1 CPU onto a glass substrate designed for LCD displays, based on their jointly developed CG- Silicon*2 technologya world first.
CG (Continuous Grain) Silicon technology is the core technology behind System LCDs, next- generation functional devices developed jointly by the two companies in 1998. CG-silicon maintains atomic-level continuity at the crystal grain boundaries, thereby enabling electrons to travel through the semiconductor approximately 600 times faster than conventional amorphous silicon and approximately three times faster than low-temperature polysilicon. This technology allows digital logic, including LCD driver and power supplies, I/O interfaces, and signal processing circuitry, to be integrally formed on the same glass substrate as an LCD display. This achievement is expected to lead to dramatic reductions in component mounting area and the number of external parts, and will also contribute to lighter weights and thinner profiles as well as greater reliability in assembled systems.
Sharp and SEL have now succeeded in forming an 8-bit CPU on a glass substrate, a world first. This achievement is based on further improvements in the level of crystallinity of the CG-silicon and the introduction of innovative process technology, and opens up the possibility of integrating on the same glass substrate not only functional peripheral components, particularly LCD display components and LCD driver ICs, but also a wide range of data processing circuit logic, including CPUs, memory, image compression/decompression circuitry, and the like. This new success based on CG-Silicon technology represents the first step on the road toward the development of futuristic ultra-thin "sheet computers" and "sheet TVs."
In October of this year, Sharp launched mass production of System LCDs designed for use in mobile devices such as cellular telephones and PDAs.
Both companies are now forging ahead with technology innovations aimed at developing full- fledged systems-on-a-panel appropriate for the "ubiquitous network" world we live in.
*1 he Z80 microprocessor was the main CPU used in 8-bit PCs. ZiLOG, Inc., manufactured the Z80 in 1976 and Sharp manufactured it in 1977.
*2 CG (continuous grain) silicon