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8 April 2014

Peregrine launches monolithic alternative to discrete PIN-diode limiters

In booth #512 at EDI CON 2014 Electronic Design Innovations Conference in Beijing China (8-10 April), Peregrine Semiconductor Corp of San Diego, CA, USA, a fabless provider of radio-frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) based on silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) and silicon-on-insulator (SOI), has debuted its new line of UltraCMOS RF power limiters.

Peregrine claims that its power limiters represent the first turnkey, monolithic solutions to provide an alternative to discrete, PIN-diode limiters based on gallium arsenide, adding that the UltraCMOS power limiters deliver simple, repeatable and reliable protection suitable for test & measurement, land mobile radio (LMR), wireless infrastructure, military and radar systems.

“Customers continuously find that incumbent GaAs-based RF solutions do not rise to the challenge of new complexity in the market, and they are investing in Peregrine’s SOI technology as fast as we can develop new options like this,” says director of marketing Duncan Pilgrim.

Turnkey monolithic architecture delivers benefits

On a chip eight times smaller than the board space required by discrete PIN-diode solutions, Peregrine reckons that its new power limiters provide a 10-100x improvement in response and recovery time; deliver greater than 40dB improvement in linearity (IP3); and offer a 20x improvement in ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection.

Discrete GaAs PIN-diode circuits (left) versus Peregrine’s UltraCMOS power limiter (right) as a turnkey, monolithic solution.

Picture: Discrete GaAs PIN-diode circuits (left) versus Peregrine’s UltraCMOS power limiter (right) as a turnkey, monolithic solution.

The power limiters save PCB space with a small form factor; reduce BoM (bill of materials) by eliminating the need for extra components; and improve time to market by reducing in-design time and costs, claims Peregrine. They also beat existing solutions in RF performance, including higher linearity to eliminate signal distortion, high ESD to ensure high reliability, wide bandwidth to enable design flexibility, and fast response and recovery times to ensure robust protection of power-sensitive components, the firm adds. Finally, because the power limiters are based on UltraCMOS instead of GaAs, they can be closely integrated with other UltraCMOS RF components.

Several industries require repeatable and reliable power protection

Peregrine says that its UltraCMOS power limiters can protect:

  • RF ports in test & measurement equipment;
  • RF front ends and low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) in LMRs;
  • RF receivers in wireless infrastructure equipment;
  • tactical radio receivers from intentional jammers in military warfare; and
  • transceiver (TRX) modules in radar systems.

The firm says that, in order to achieve repeatable and reliable power protection, customers currently face challenges because it takes so long to design and validate PIN-diode power-limiter circuits and the multiple external components that this architecture requires. With the new, all-in-one architecture, both time to market and cost can be reduced significantly, it adds.

On display at EDI CON, the first two UltraCMOS power limiters (to be released in May) are:

  • the PE45140, a 20MHz-2GHz, 50W power limiter designed for professional portable and mobile radios, such as tactical radios and LMRs, as well as HF, VHF, UHF, L-band radar transceivers; and
  • the PE45450 is a 9KHz-6GHz, 50W power limiter designed for test-and-measurement systems, L/S/C-band radar transceivers, counter-measure receivers and wireless receivers.

Both power limiters feature an adjustable limiting threshold, unbiased power limiting, and operation in two modes (power limiting or power reflecting).

Tags: Peregrine CMOS SOI

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