February 8, 2022

First CSEM inventor award

The first CSEM Inventor Award has been given to Dr. Franz Xaver Pengg for a remarkable invention that he developed and patented at CSEM. His technology forms a key component of icyTRX – an ultra-low-power transceiver that can be integrated into Bluetooth chips, enabling greater miniaturization and a longer battery life for portable devices such as Bluetooth earbuds and hearing aids.


Dr. Pengg’s patent, “A two stage single-ended input differential output reuse low noise amplifier,” which he filed in 2013, covers a technology that’s behind a breakthrough CSEM innovation: icyTRX. This system allows engineers to design Bluetooth devices that are not only smaller but also require substantially less power, meaning their batteries can last a lot longer. icyTRX has been sold under license agreements to numerous manufacturers including EM Microelectronics, onsemi and Oticon. It’s one of CSEM’s biggest commercial successes and has been integrated into millions of chips fabricated by CSEM partner companies.

The judges for the CSEM Inventor Award saw Dr. Pengg as the obvious choice for this prize, which will henceforth be awarded annually. “The idea behind the CSEM Inventor Award is to stimulate our engineers’ creativity and pioneering spirit,” says Alexandre Pauchard, CEO of CSEM. “Their original ideas will be key to enhancing the range of technology we offer to businesses. Through his hard work and ingenuity, Dr. Pengg has helped develop a system that’s had a major impact for both CSEM and our customers. It also brings benefits to society as a whole because it reduces the power consumption of portable devices.” 

A global leader in ultra-low-power circuits 

With icyTRX, manufacturers can incorporate Bluetooth Low Energy technology into their own circuits and equip the next generation of connected objects. icyTRX is also available in a format compatible with both Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth Classic, meaning it can work with earlier versions of devices. CSEM’s system can double the battery life of headsets and hearing aids without compromising on the quality of audio transmission. 

“icyTRX is the result of many years of R&D by an entire CSEM research group and has led to the filing of several important patents, including Dr. Pengg’s,” says Alain-Serge Porret, Vice President, Integrated and Wireless Systems at CSEM. “Thanks to the know-how our engineers have built up in ultra-low-power circuits over the years, our center is a global leader in this field and attracts companies from Switzerland and abroad.”

The CSEM Inventor Award, along with CHF 5,000 in prize money, will be handed out annually. “We’re already looking forward to honoring the next innovative, disruptive technologies that our colleagues here at CSEM will come up with,” says Pauchard. 

Press release