27 August 2011

Amalfi launches second-generation AdaptiveRF CMOS PA architecture

Amalfi Semiconductor of Los Gatos, CA, USA, a fabless firm developing highly integrated CMOS RF and mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs), has announced the launch and immediate availability of what it claims to be the world's most economical and high-performance CMOS-based transmit modules for front-end GSM/GPRS cellular handsets. 

Leveraging the inherent scalability of bulk CMOS processes, the firm's proprietary AdaptiveRF architecture can incorporate highly integrated derivative functions including switches and complex filters, allowing a significant ongoing reduction in front-end costs, size and power consumption, it is claimed. 

“Moblie phone manufacturers are under extreme price pressure, and yet need to maintain high performance and long talk-time,” says CEO Mark Foley. “Amalfi’s CMOS architecture offers the most aggressive integration and price-down roadmap while delivering the highest power efficiency and overall performance, in turn enabling our customers to offer lower-cost handset solutions with superior performance and extended talk-time,” he claims.

The family of dual- and quad-band GSM/GPRS transmit modules uses a standard CMOS process and proprietary architecture that outperform competing technology in performance, integration and cost, it is claimed. The modules are targeted primarily at the high-growth entry-level and ultra-low-cost (ULC) product segments in the emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets.

Mobile phone power amplifiers typically use between one-third and 3.5W of power during cellular transmission (30–70% of the electrical current used by the phone when the user is talking). The lower current consumption resulting from the CMOS-based transmit module enables the cell phone to support longer talk-time compared with existing solutions, Amalfi says. Mobile phone makers can then use smaller, less expensive batteries, reducing the overall size and bill of materials (BOM).

The transmit modules’ architecture integrates the power amplifier, controller, transmit and receive switch, filtering and all matching components into a 28mm2 package, providing the smallest, most highly integrated transmit module in mass production, it is claimed. The small size reduces PCB space and cost and provides a more flexible design layout, enabling users to build smaller phones or phones with additional features.

Amalfi’s second-generation, CMOS-based transmit modules achieve better power-added efficiency (PAE) in the typical operation ranges relative to leading GaAs power amplifiers, it is claimed. The architecture allows the transmit module to achieve high efficiency over a broad output power range. In operation, where output power is dynamic and subject to non-ideal loads, these improvements result in a talk time increase of up to 40%, it is reckoned.

The modules are also capable of withstanding a best-in-class 2kV electro-static discharge (ESD, human body model) on all pins, including RF pins. This makes the device less susceptible to ESD damage during manufacturing, resulting in better yields and overall lower cost. The devices are also capable of withstanding 8kV ESD on the antenna port, further lowering BOM as no additional ESD protection is required on the phone to meet industry standards.

The entire family of transmit modules is fully qualified for mass production and available with standard leadtimes. 

Tags: Amalfi RF CMOS

Visit: www.amalfi.com

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