Actel Corporation
IndustryIntegrated Circuits
United States
ProductsFPGAs, Embedded Processors
RevenueIncrease US$191 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Decrease US$-21.3 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Decrease US$-46.2 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Total assetsDecrease US$307 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Total equityDecrease US$233 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Number of employees

Actel Corporation (formerly NASDAQ:ACTL) was an American manufacturer of nonvolatile, low-power field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs),[4] mixed-signal FPGAs,[5] and programmable logic solutions.[6][7][8] It had its headquarters in Mountain View, California, with offices worldwide. In November 2010, Microsemi acquired Actel for $430 million.[9][10][11][12]

History and competition

Actel was founded in 1985 and became known for its high-reliability and anti-fuse-based FPGAs, used in the military and aerospace markets.[13]

Actel acquired GateField in 2000, which expanded Actel's anti-fuse FPGA offering to include flash-based FPGAs. Actel announced in 2004 that it had shipped the one-millionth unit of its flash-based ProASICPLUS FPGA.[14]

In 2005, Actel introduced a new technology known as Fusion to bring FPGA programmability to mixed-signal solutions. Fusion was the first technology to integrate mixed-signal analogue capabilities with flash memory and FPGA fabric in a monolithic device.[15]

In 2006, to address the tight power budgets of the portable market, Actel introduced the IGLOO FPGA. The IGLOO family of FPGAs was based on Actel's nonvolatile flash technology and the ProASIC 3 FPGA architecture.[16] Two new IGLOO derivatives were added in 2008: IGLOO PLUS FPGAs with enhanced I/O capabilities, and IGLOO nano FPGAs, a low power solution at 2 μW. A nano version of ProASIC3 also became available in 2008.

In 2010, Actel introduced the SmartFusion line of FPGAs. SmartFusion includes both analogue components and a programmable flash-based logic fabric within the same chip. SmartFusion was the first FPGA product to additionally include a hard ARM processor core.[17]

Altera and Xilinx are the other key players in the market, however, their main focus is on SRAM FPGAs. Lattice Semiconductor is another competitor.[18][19]


Actel's portfolio of FPGAs is based on two types of technologies: anti-fuse-based FPGAs (Axcelerator, SX-A, eX, and MX families) and flash-based FPGAs (Fusion, PolarFire, IGLOO, and ProASIC3 families).

Actel's anti-fuse FPGAs have been known for their nonvolatility, live-at power-up operation,[20] single-chip form factor[clarification needed][citation needed], and security[citation needed]. Actel's flash-based FPGA families include these same characteristics[citation needed] and are also reprogrammable and low power.[citation needed]

Actel also develops system-critical FPGAs (RTAX and ProASIC3 families), including extended temperature automotive, military, and aerospace FPGAs, plus a wide variety of space-class radiation-tolerant devices. These flash and anti-fuse FPGAs have high levels of reliability[citation needed] and firm-error immunity.[clarification needed][citation needed]


In March 2012, researchers from the University of Cambridge discovered a backdoor in the JTAG interface of the ProASIC3 family of low-powered FPGAs.[21] They defended their theory at a cryptography workshop held in Belgium in September 2012.[22]


  1. ^ a b c Actel (ACTL) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  2. ^ a b Actel (ACTL) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  3. ^ "Corporate Factsheet" (PDF). Actel Corporation. August 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  4. ^ Dylan McGrath, EETimes. "Actel FPGAs cut power drain to target mobile market Archived 2015-05-10 at the Wayback Machine." Aug 30, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  5. ^ Paul Buckley, EETimes. "Micrium supports Actel SmartFusion FPGAs Archived 2013-07-03 at the Wayback Machine." March 8, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  6. ^ EETimes India. "Actel designs IP core for nonvalatile FPGAs Archived 2015-05-10 at the Wayback Machine." Mar 23, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  7. ^ EETimes Asia. "Seiko Epson goes with Actel FPGAs for multimedia viewers Archived 2013-05-28 at the Wayback Machine." Dec 10, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  8. ^ EETimes Asia. "Free controller cores roll for Actel FPGAs Archived 2013-05-28 at the Wayback Machine." Feb 8, 2007. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Microsemi press release "Microsemi Completes Tender Offer for Actel Corporation Archived March 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine"
  10. ^ Mark Lapedus, EE Times. "Microsemi buys Actel for $430 million." Oct 4, 2010. Retrieved Jan 10, 2013.
  11. ^ MELISSA KORN, Wall Street Journal. "Microsemi to Buy Rival Actel for $430 Million." Oct 4, 2010. Retrieved Jan 10, 2013.
  12. ^ "Microsemi buys Actel for $430 million".
  13. ^ Andrew Hamm, SJ Business Journal. "The sky's the limit for Actel chips in planned European satellites." August 1, 2003. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  14. ^ Company Release. "Actel Achieves Key Milestone with its Cost-Effective, Flash-Based FPGAs; Company Ships More Than 1 Million Units Archived August 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine." March 29, 2004. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  15. ^ EETimes. "Actel Claims To Usher In Era Of 'Programmable System Chip'." July 18, 2005. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  16. ^ Company Release. "Actel Brings Portable Market In from the Cold With Industry's Lowest Power FPGA Family Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." August 28, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  17. ^ EETimes. "Actel rolls mixed-signal FPGA with hard ARM core." March 2, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  18. ^ Electronics Weekly. "FPGA / PLD." Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  19. ^ John Edwards, EDN. "No room for Second Place." Jun 1, 2006. Retrieved Jan 10, 2013.
  20. ^ "Introduction To Actel FPGA Architecture PDF | PDF | Logic Gate | Field Programmable Gate Array". Scribd. Retrieved 2023-08-30.
  21. ^ Sergei Skorobogatov. "Breakthrough silicon scanning discovers backdoor in military chip"
  22. ^ CHES 2012 "Workshop on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems"