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17 February 2015

GLOBALFOUNDRIES joins Imec to develop low-power RF for IoT applications

GLOBALFOUNDRIES of Santa Clara, CA, USA (the second largest foundry in the world, with more than 160 customers and operations in Singapore, Germany and the USA) has partnered with nanoelectronics R&D center Imec of Leuven, Belgium for joint research on future radio architectures and designs for highly integrated mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

A key challenge for next-generation mobile devices is controlling the cost and footprint of the radio and antenna interface circuitry, which contain all of the components that process a cellular signal across the various supported frequency bands. Currently, a typical mobile device must support up to 28 bands for worldwide 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE network connectivity, and more complex carrier aggregation schemes and additional frequency bands are expected for future generations. These challenges are driving the need for an agile radio that integrates many of the separate components into one piece of silicon, including power amplifiers, antenna switches and tuners, and provides a solution that is both flexible and low cost.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will closely collaborate with technical experts from Imec to investigate low-power and compact high-performance agile radio solutions that aim to enable a broad range of radio architecture designs, targeting improvements in area, performance and power consumption. They will also partner to develop ultra-low-power IC design solutions leveraging GLOBALFOUNDRIES' CMOS technology to address the demanding requirements of tomorrow's IoT devices. Ultimately, the partnership aims to build a technology and design infrastructure that will enable future RF architectures while minimizing critical interface requirements for radio power consumption and performance.

"This collaboration expands our relationship with Imec, and we're eager to leverage their R&D expertise in RF technology to accelerate time-to-volume of designs and deliver leading-edge RF technology," says Peter Rabbeni, director RF Segment Marketing at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. "This relationship further reflects our commitment to find RF design implementations that will efficiently extend the range of wireless communication applications without increasing the form factor or cost," he adds.

"There are advanced chip technology challenges the industry needs to address to enable a higher level of integration and lower power consumption for future wireless communication," says Harmke de Groot, senior director Perceptive Systems for the Internet of Things at Imec. "Leveraging Imec's advanced IC technology knowhow and system design experience, and GLOBALFOUNDRIES' CMOS technology, we will accelerate the investigation and develop new approaches." 

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Visit: www.globalfoundries.com

Visit: www.imec.be

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