TDK Semiconductor Unveils Low-Cost Smart Card Interface Chips

11/14/2003 - TDK Semiconductor Corp. now offers three new low-cost smart card interface ICs with outstanding noise and current performance for use in conditional access, payment and identification environments. Designated 73S8024R, 73S8004R, and 73S8010R these mixed signal devices provide a stable, low-noise interface compliant with the ISO-7816 standard between any host microcontroller and a smart card. The 73S8024R and 73S8004R implement the control interface between card and host as dedicated digital I/Os, while the 73S8010R implements a standard I2C interface bus for interfacing with the host.

All three new smart cart interfaces ICs translate the digital signals from the host to analog signals recognized by the smart card, and vice versa. These devices also provide a stable 3V or 5V VCC power source to the smart card from an on-chip low drop-out voltage regulator, yielding a 10x improvement in noise performance over existing solutions in the marketplace that employ step-up DC-DC converters. Use of the LDO regulator also results in much a smaller die size than is currently available with competing devices, leading to smaller packages that reduce board space requirements and ultimately lower interface IC costs.

"As security concerns increase around the world, there has been a significant acceleration in smart card technology leading to increasing requirements for improved card terminal characteristics," said Jean-Christophe Doucet, product manager at TDK Semiconductor. "Our new smart card interface ICs set a new noise and current performance standard in the marketplace and enable the high frequency operation (up to 20MHz) and high current draw (at least 90mA) that match the performance demanded by 32-bit processor cards or SAMs (Secure Access Modules) that are becoming increasingly common in the smart card world."

Doucet noted that the new TDK Semiconductor smart card interface ICs would find immediate application in advanced Set-Top Boxes, Digital TVs and Personal Video Recorders for conditional access to audio/video content, pay-per-view events or movies, and other premium services. "We see the same increases in capability being demanded in new generations of high-performance smart card terminals used in payment and digital identification systems," he added.

Smart Card Interfaces
These three new TDK Semiconductor smart card interface ICs support ISO-7816-3 and EMV-2000 (EMV4.0) electrical requirements and are the most protected devices of their class in the market. Additional card protection features are provided to guard against hardware faults and guarantee emergency card deactivation in the event of card extraction, card over-current, supply voltage failure, LDO regulator failure and device overheating. Supply voltage fault can optionally be adjusted to match same operating voltage range as the host microcontroller. Other on-chip resources include a crystal oscillator and circuitry for card clock generation up to 20MHz; an LDO voltage regulator capable of supplying a high current of up to 90mA; and a complete set of buffers for data I/O. Only a single external capacitor is required for operation.

Availability Samples
are available now for the 73S8024R, 73S8004R and the 73S8010R smart card interface ICs in either SO28 or MLF32 packages - the latter providing the smallest footprint for this type of device on the market. Production quantities will be available in Q1 2004. Prices for the devices start at $1.20 each in 25k quantities. A demo board is also available.

About TDK Semiconductor
TDK Semiconductor, part of $5 billion TDK Corporation (NYSE: TDK), provides advanced ICs for communications and consumer markets worldwide. The company produces analog and mixed-signal products for applications such as digital cable and satellite set-top boxes; local, metro and wide area networking; point of sale terminals, payphones, meters and smart card readers. Additional product information and the name of a local TDK representative can be obtained by visiting the company's web site at, sending an e-mail to support@tdksemiconductor or by calling (714) 508-8800.

I2C is a registered trademark of Philips Corporation.

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