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21 February 2017

GlobalFoundries makes available 45nm RF SOI process for 5G mobile communications

GlobalFoundries of Santa Clara, CA, USA has announced the availability of its 45nm RF SOI (45RFSOI) technology, making it the first foundry to announce a 300mm RF silicon solution to support next-generation millimeter-wave (mmWave) beam-forming applications in future 5G base stations and smartphones, it is claimed.

As the firm's most advanced radio-frequency silicon-on-insulator technology, 45RFSOI is optimized for beam-forming front-end modules (FEMs), with back-end-of-line (BEOL) features including thick copper and dielectrics that enable improved RF performance for low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), switches and power amplifiers (PAs). The intrinsic characteristics of SOI combined with RF-centric features enable next-generation RF and mmWave applications, including Internet broadband low earth orbit (LEO) satellites and 5G FEMs.

The fast-emerging 5G and mmWave markets will require innovations in radio technologies, including low power, integrated mmWave radio front ends, antenna phased-array subsystems, and high-performance radio transceivers, says GlobalFoundries. As OEMs integrate more RF content into their smartphones and new high-speed network standards are introduced, state-of-the-art equipment will require additional RF circuitry to support newer modes of operation. This includes chips that support low latency, higher EIRP (equivalent isotropically radiated power), and high-resolution antenna scanning for ubiquitous coverage and continuous connectivity, adds the firm.

For improved power-handling benefits for devices operating in the gigahertz frequency range, 45RFSOI incorporates a substrate resistivity of greater than 40Ω-cm that maximizes the quality factor for passive devices, reduces parasitic capacitances, and minimizes disparity in phase and voltage swing. The technology supports operation in the mmWave spectrum from 24GHz to the 100GHz band (five times more than 4G operating frequencies).

"Skyworks is pleased to be collaborating with GlobalFoundries to drive innovation in millimeter wave solutions," says Peter Gammel, chief technology officer of Skyworks Solutions Inc of Woburn, MA, USA (which manufactures analog and mixed-signal semiconductors). "GlobalFoundries' leadership in advanced foundry technology, as exemplified by the 45RFSOI process, is enabling Skyworks to create RF solutions that will revolutionize emerging 5G markets and further advance the deployment of highly integrated RF front-ends for evolving mmWave applications," he adds.

"5G is expected to become the dominant worldwide mobile communications standard of the next decade and will usher in a new paradigm in mobility, multi-GBps data rates, security, low latency, network availability and high quality of service (QoS)," states Bami Bastani, senior VP of GlobalFoundries' RF business unit. The firm's latest RF SOI technology will "help play a critical role in bringing 5G devices and networks to reality," he reckons.

GlobalFoundries' 45RFSOI technology leverages a partially depleted SOI technology base that has been in high-volume production since 2008. It is manufactured at GlobalFoundries' 300mm production line in East Fishkill, NY, USA and will provide the industry with ample capacity to address this high-growth market, it is reckoned.

Process design kits are available now. Customers can now start optimizing their chip designs to develop differentiated solutions for those seeking high performance in the RF front end of 5G and mmWave phased-array applications.


Visit: www.globalfoundries.com

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