17 February 2021
IQE's IQepiMo delivers improved BAW filter performance for 5G
In what it describes as a significant milestone in the development of its proprietary IQepiMo template technology for high-performance bulk acoustic wave (BAW) RF filters, epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK says that customer device data shows that filters fabricated using IQE templates demonstrate improved performance compared with incumbent technology.
Announced in November, IQE has since trialed its IQepiMo product with potential customers and partners. Recent data indicates that IQepiMo enables them to achieve improved electro-mechanical coupling (as measured by k2), a key measure of filter performance, compared with conventional technology.
Initial data indicates that k2 increases by as much as 40% at a frequency of 6GHz, which is at the top end of the frequency range used in existing 5G applications. At present, industry is finding it difficult to achieve high levels of performance using conventional BAW filter technology at these higher frequencies. The data confirms that the superior material quality achievable using IQepiMo is linked to significant performance improvement in electro-mechanical device performance in this challenging frequency range, says IQE.
IQE and its partners remain engaged in additional trials and testing to further refine the technology for high-end BAW filters. It is expected that IQE’s templates will provide significant benefit to high-scandium-content ScAlN BAW designs that will form a key component of high-performance filters at the higher 5G frequencies. As scandium content increases in BAW filters, maintaining high acoustic material quality and thereby performance becomes ever more challenging. IQepiMo offers users a route to overcoming these inherent challenges while still using their existing infrastructure and processes.
Built on its cREO (crystalline rare-earth oxide) technology platform (acquired by IQE in March 2018), the IQepiMo templates are available in diameters of up to 200mm.
“IQE's strategy of investing in unique leading-edge materials technologies for the broad semiconductor industry means that we are now at the forefront of providing our customers with improved 5G device performance and solutions,” says chief technology officer Dr Rodney Pelzel. “This key milestone for our IQepMo template technology shows its potential for providing customers with the necessary means to enable their current infrastructure and processes to deliver the demanding performance required for 5G filters, especially at higher frequencies.”