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28 July 2008


Rubicon starts producing 8” sapphire for Peregrine

Rubicon Technology Inc of Franklin Park, IL, USA has begun initial production of 8-inch sapphire wafers for supply to Peregrine Semiconductor Corp of San Diego, CA, USA, which designs and manufactures RF communications ICs, for its proprietary UltraCMOS mixed-signal silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) processing, a patented variation of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology on a sapphire substrate that, Peregrine claims, provides high yields and competitive costs.

“Rubicon aggressively ramped 6-inch sapphire substrates to support our high-volume production requirements throughout 2007 and the first half of 2008,” says Peregrine’s CEO Jim Cable. “Last year we nearly tripled our unit volume with key design wins in the rapidly growing wireless marketplace in some of the world’s most demanding RF applications.

“Rubicon has leveraged its unique crystal growth technology platform to rapidly develop very high-quality 200mm sapphire wafers that represent the next-generation substrates for SOS RFIC technology,” says Rubicon’s president and CEO Raja Parvez. “As we migrate to 8-inch wafers and smaller geometries, our customers will benefit from unprecedented product performance and cost-effectiveness,” reckons Peregrine’s Cable.

The expansion to 8-inch sapphire wafers reflects the growing demand for UltraCMOS SOS RFICs, Peregrine says. In recent years the firm has brought to market a variety of devices that, the firm claims, deliver performance objectives set by customers with highly stringent RF design requirements including global cellular, navigation/communications, and cable/digital TV (CATV/DTV) firms. UltraCMOS devices are becoming increasingly critical in high-performance RF designs, Peregrine claims. Continued enhancements to the fundamental design technology, such as HaRP technology (which enables improvements in harmonic results, linearity and overall RF performance; specifications required by the 3GPP standards body for GSM/WCDMA applications), combined with the insulating sapphire substrate, result in an extremely linear FET with exceptional RF performance, the firm adds. Peregrine says that the ability to integrate high-performance RF, analog, digital, passive elements and non-volatile memory on a single, standard CMOS IC differentiates UltraCMOS devices from compound semiconductor and other mixed-signal processes.

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