10 May 2010


Freescale enters GaAs MMIC market with four devices for base-stations

Freescale Semiconductor of Austin, TX, USA, which designs and manufactures embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets, has entered the gallium arsenide (GaAs) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) market with the introduction of four new devices designed and optimized specifically for high performance in macro base-stations, repeaters and femtocells employed in wireless networks.

The devices address low-noise amplifiers and transmit power amplifiers – two elements of wireless infrastructure equipment for which extremely high RF performance is critical. The devices are also designed for low power consumption, resulting in optimized energy efficiency and long-term reliability, the firm claims.

While focusing on silicon RF LDMOS power transistors used in wireless base-stations, Freescale holds many GaAs-related patents, and was one of the first firms to develop devices based on GaAs technology. Its growing family of general-purpose amplifiers (GPAs) based on InGaP heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) and GaAs heterojunction field-effect transistors (HFETs) covers a broad array of RF and microwave applications.

“Freescale’s high-performance MMIC devices offer comprehensive RF active solutions for applications requiring high performance such as 3G and 4G cellular base-stations, repeaters and femtocells,” says Gavin P. Woods, VP & general manager of Freescale’s RF Division. “We developed the new MMIC products with the same standards as our advanced LDMOS RF technology in terms of quality and reliability,” he adds. “Our GaAs MMICs also come with the software and hardware tools necessary to extract optimal performance with minimal overhead costs.”

The MML09211H is an enhancement-mode pHEMT MMIC low-noise amplifier suited to applications ranging from W-CDMA base-stations in the 865–960MHz band to the high-data-rate networks currently being implemented in the 728–768MHz band. The device offers a low noise figure of 0.6dB including circuit losses, and supports operation from 400 to 1400MHz. Small-signal gain is 20dB at 900MHz, P1dB output power is 21dBm, isolation is –35dB, and third-order output intercept point (IP3) is 32dBm at 900MHz.

The MMA20312B is a two-stage InGaP HBT power amplifier designed for use in wireless base-stations as well as repeaters and femtocells. Specifically, for femtocells the device enables high energy efficiency while meeting linearity requirements. The amplifier covers 1800 to 2200MHz, delivers P1dB output power of 31dBm at 2140MHz and small-signal gain of 26dB.

The two other new broadband MMIC amplifiers are equally suited for use as driver amplifiers in the transmit chain or as second-stage low-noise amplifiers in the receive chain. They exhibit what is claimed to be excellent linearity with lower current consumption than typical HBT solutions. The MMG15241H is a pHEMT device that covers 500 to 2800MHz, with a noise figure of 1.6dB at 2140MHz, P1dB output power of 24dBm, IP3 of 39dBm, and small-signal gain of 15dB. The MMG20271H low-noise amplifier covers 1500 to 2400MHz, with a noise figure of 1.8dB at 2140MHz, P1dB output power of 27dBm, IP3 of 42dBm, and small-signal gain of 15dB.

To complement the new MMICs, Freescale has also introduced application boards and RF characterization data for its MMG3004NT1, MMG3005NT1 and MMG3006NT1 GPAs. The boards and data showcase the MMICs’ capabilities in actual base-station transmitter device line-ups. The latest data shows that the devices’ current consumption can be reduced by almost 50% from the initial data sheet conditions with little penalty in linearity, says the firm.

The new MMICs are the first of many planned Freescale MMIC devices currently under development to cover popular wireless bands and applications.

Freescale’s four new MMIC devices are planned for limited sampling by June and general sampling by August. Planned product support includes reference designs and other support tools for designers.

See related item:

Freescale to close Tempe GaAs fab

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