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9 June 2009


NXP boosts QUBIC4 BiCMOS technology with SiGe:C

NXP Semiconductors of Eindhoven, The Netherlands (formerly Philips Semiconductors) has extended the capability of its QUBIC4 BiCMOS silicon process technology, aiming to cost effectively deliver higher levels of integration and performance at high frequencies.

The firm claims that its existing QUBIC4 technology can speed the migration from GaAs components to silicon by enabling low-noise performance and IP availability (yielding improved voice, picture and data signal clarity with more bandwidth for all two-way data transmissions). In particular, QUBIC4 can help to speed satellite tracking and fix for GPS systems, improve base-station performance, enable e-metering utilities deployments as well as boosting WLAN, satellite and microwave radio applications.

Development of the QUBiC4 BiCMOS technology has now resulted in three variants:

  • QUBiC4+, which is silicon-based and suits applications up to 5GHz and medium-power amplification;
  • QUBiC4X, the first SiGe:C variant, for devices operating typically at up to 30GHz and ultra-low-noise applications (e.g. GPS);
  • QUBiC4Xi, the newest SiGe:C variant, which has an improved unity current gain cutoff frequency (fT>200GHz) and a lower noise figure, suiting applications beyond 30GHz (e.g. VSAT and radar).

NXP says that the new variants of QUBIC4 now allow customers to incorporate more functionality into devices at a competitive cost and in less space, as well as enabling future generations of RF products such as low-noise amplifiers, medium-power amplifiers and LO generators (e.g. for applications in mobile phones and communications infrastructure equipment) to operate at a higher performance level.

“Both at home and on the move, consumers are continuously interacting with a growing number of mobile devices that deliver exciting new applications and entertainment possibilities,” says Stan Bruederle, research VP at market analyst firm Gartner. “However, as ever more data gets pushed down to these devices, the boundaries of performance and frequency are pressed to the limit,” he adds. “The semiconductor industry is now enabling previously unachievable levels of RF integration and performance to ensure device manufacturers can capture emerging application markets and that consumers get an ever improved level of functionality.”

“The RF market continues to be driven by consumer demands for greater levels of connectivity with mass-price cost structures,” says John Croteau, VP analog mixed signal for NXP. “As a silicon-based technology with the performance of GaAs, QUBIC4 enables more robust, more integrated and more cost-effective solutions while ensuring excellence in signal quality,” he adds.

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