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eFuse IP Core

July 24, 2019, anysilicon

eFuse stands for electronic fuse. Developed by IBM in the early 2000s, the purpose of an eFuse is to allow you to change and modify functions or performance of a chip and allow designer to tune it to perform better. Normally, it is not possible to alter chip hardware because the design or logic of the chip is etched onto the chip permanently. Today, it is possible to install eFuses across the integrated circuit which can be altered to change the performance of the chip.

 

An eFuse IP core has the ability to detect and react to irregular voltage and current influxes in very rapid time, reverting the value back to the safe range that has been determined beforehand by the user. This function of the fuse allows the chip manufacturers to alter the performance of the chip while it is in operation. If a particular subsystem of the chip is not performing the way it is supposed to or is consuming too much power, it can be disconnected from the rest of the chip by simply blowing out the connecting eFuse. In the same manner, analog and RF engineers use eFuse to tune analog performance by adding or removing resistor or capacitors by “blowing” and eFuse.

 

Blowing out certain eFuses on the chip at a particular point in time, you can create new lanes on the chip and alter the functionality of the chip, subsequently impacting its performance. Not only did this invention help to protect computer systems from the hazardous effects of overcurrent and overvoltage as well as faulty power consumption by the circuits, but it also helped to mitigate the costs of having to invest heavily in a redesiging and taping out a new chip.

 

How Does an eFuse Work?

 

The eFuse employs the use of a sensor resistor in order to detect the voltage that is running across the circuit. Comparing it to a predetermined threshold current, the influx of current and voltage is appropriately managed, with the fuse being blown out if the magnitude of the incoming current or voltage is too large. Thermal eFuses are used very commonly across a host of devices.

 

However, everything comes with some downsides and fuses are no different. One of the main issues with electronic fuses used in integrated chips is that these are largely inflexible and irreversible, meaning once a fuse has been blown out, repairing or replacing it is a complicated and very physical process.

 

Additional Applications

 

Some of eFuse IP applications include storing small amount of data on the chip such as serial number or production date information.

 

eFuse IP Cores

 

Click here to find companies providing eFuse IP core.

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