31 May 2011

TowerJazz launches wireless antenna switch SOI process

Specialty foundry TowerJazz (which has two fabrication plants at Tower Semiconductor Ltd in Migdal Haemek, Israel plus one at its US subsidiary Jazz Semiconductor in Newport Beach, CA) has announced availability of its wireless antenna switch SOI (silicon-on-insulator) process technology applicable to multiple wireless standards.

The firm claims that SOI-based solutions cost substantially less than legacy solutions based on GaAs pHEMT or silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) technologies. It adds that its SOI technology is unique relative to other SOI processes in maintaining full compatibility with its bulk CMOS process, enabling integration of control functions, low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) and power amplifiers on a single chip. High-end smart-phones can benefit most from integration, while lower-end phones can benefit simply from the lower cost of SOI, making the technology relevant for most of the 1.4 billion handset units sold each year, the firm reckons.

In addition to the process, design IP is available to kick-start the design effort. An example is a switch IP block optimized to achieve channel isolation of better than –40dBm, insertion loss of 0.47dB in low-band and 0.58dB in high-band, low harmonics of better than 75dBc at cellular power levels, and intermodulation distortion measured as low as –117dBm.

The SOI process combines a 6- or 4-metal-layer CMOS process with high-resistivity SOI substrates. It is a 0.18µm technology with dual-gate 1.8V and 3.3V or 5V MOSFETs and a 5V RFLDMOS with a threshold frequency (fT) of 19GHz and a breakdown voltage of 20V. The 3.3V and 5V FETs facilitate the integration of HVCMOS blocks, while the 1.8V FETs allow the integration of logic functions. The LDMOS device provides reliable, high-performance RF power. The passive components include silicided and unsilicided poly resistors, 2fF/µm2 and stacked 4fF/µm2 metal-insulator-metal capacitors, scalable inductors, and discrete size baluns and transformers.

TowerJazz says that, while using an SOI starting material, the technology offers 'bulk-like' behavior of the active MOSFETs, free of floating-body effects for ease of IP integration. Isolation between device wells and of field areas below sensitive passive components and metal routing is provided by an oxide-filled trench to the buried oxide.

“TowerJazz’s SOI technology is providing our customers a unique set of features targeting the cellular switch market at a lower cost than the incumbent technologies of GaAs pHEMT and silicon-on-sapphire,” claims Dr Marco Racanelli, senior VP & general manager, RF and High Performance Analog Business Group. “Unlike other SOI technologies, our process allows the seamless integration of existing bulk IP such as power control, low-noise amplifiers and even power amplifiers,” he adds.

TowerJazz is exhibiting in booth #715 on Agilent Avenue at the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S) International Microwave Symposium (IMS 2011) in Baltimore, MD, USA (7–9 June).

Tags: TowerJazz LDMOS Wireless antenna switch SOI substrates

Visit: www.towerjazz.com

Visit us at Linked In

See Latest IssueRSS Feed