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16 July 2018

Akoustis completes technology qualification for pre-production of single-crystal BAW RF filter products

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Akoustis Technologies Inc of Charlotte, NC, USA - which designs and manufactures patented BulkONE single-crystal piezoelectric bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications - has completed qualification of its first-generation XBAW wafer technology and the underlying single-crystal materials process at its commercial 120,000ft2 wafer fabrication plant in Canandaigua, NY (which includes class 100/class 1000 cleanroom space).

The proprietary XBAW-1 (XB1) process establishes what is claimed to be the first single-crystal BAW technology for the expanding RF filter market for 4G/LTE, 5G mobile, 5G infrastructure, WiFi, military radar and other applications. The XB1 process features:

  • novel MEMS wafer manufacturing;
  • high-frequency RF performance spanning 1.5-7GHz;
  • high-linearity and wide-bandwidth performance; and
  • compatibility with conventional and flip-chip packaging

“Reaching this critical milestone, we have moved from pure R&D to the commercialization of our patented single-crystal BAW technology,” says founder & CEO Jeff Shealy. “We are now positioned to concentrate on the delivery of high-performance RF filters for current customer engagements to support WiFi, mobile devices and infrastructure, radar and other wireless applications,” he adds. “We expect to achieve full product qualification of our first three announced products, the AKF-1252, the AKF-1938 and the AKF-1652 later this calendar year.”

The Akoustis technology development process consists of the following five phases:

  • pre-alpha – demonstrate basic feasibility/capabilities;
  • alpha – develop stable recipe (process freeze) with limited product development;
  • beta – complete technology qualification (process qualification) in factory to enable product design;
  • pre-production – demonstrate lead product production capabilities, release final design tools; and
  • production – continual improvement of process and parametric performance.

In March, Akoustis announced completion of the alpha-phase for its XB1 process and now it has completed beta-phase qualification for both XB1 and the single-crystal materials process. This shortens the development cycle time for new catalog and custom components as each new product will start in the pre-production phase and will not require end-to-end qualification.

Since March, Akoustis has processed multiple XB1 wafer lots and, using the data from these lots, it has established all the necessary controls and supporting documentation within its ISO9001:2015-certified quality management system to ensure the robustness and repeatability of the process as the pre-production phase of development begins for multiple products.

“These qualifications are a major milestone towards introducing this technology to the market,” says Joel Morgan, director of quality. “The speed at which the XBAW process was conceived, developed and qualified is quite remarkable,” he reckons. “This provides confidence that the next steps of product qualification and release, along with the rollout of design support tools for potential foundry customers, will result in the rapid release of products, beginning later this year.”

See related items:

Single-crystal BAW RF filter firm Akoustis acquires MEMS wafer fab in New York

Akoustis presenting AlGaN-on-Si BAW filter technology at RFIC Symposium

Tags: BAW filter

Visit: www.akoustis.com

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