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3 December 2007


TriQuint launches BiHEMT GaAs process, integrating HBTs and pHEMTs for single-chip RF

TriQuint Semiconductor Inc of Hillsboro, OR, USA, the world’s largest gallium arsenide (GaAs) foundry supplier, has introduced TQBiHEMT, its latest foundry process for wireless/RF design engineers, fabricated on 150mm (6-inch) GaAs wafers.

The new manufacturing capability combines two of TriQuint’s existing processes, offering a single technology for integrating previously incompatible functional blocks onto a single die. This reduces part count, saves board space and improves overall system costs, the firm says.

TQBiHEMT is suited to highly integrated front-end radio modules typically found in wireless applications with high data rates and frequencies, TriQuint reckons, since these types of applications require a process that allows front-end functional blocks to be optimized individually. The new process enables optimal integration of high-power amplifiers based on heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) on the same die as low-noise amplifiers and switches based on pseudomorphic high-electron-mobility transistors (pHEMTs), while remaining a cost-effective design solution, the firm claims.

“TriQuint’s TQBiHEMT process represents an evolutionary step-up from earlier BiFET technologies by offering increased functionality,” comments Asif Anwar of market research firm Strategy Analytics. “The GaAs industry is dispelling the myth that integration is an advantage offered by silicon processes alone and continues to increase the value-add to customers,” he adds.

Demand for 3G, 4G wireless and other high-frequency wireless applications is growing, and TriQuint’s customers are looking to tap into the burgeoning market, says Glen Riley, VP and general manager for TriQuint’s Commercial Foundry. The TQBiHEMT process is being delivered at a competitive price point relative to discrete solutions, he adds.

TriQuint uses its TQHBT3 high-volume InGaP HBT process (with an emitter width of 2 microns and an Fmax frequency of 65GHz, designed for high-power, high-efficiency and linear power amplifiers) in its own products for the cell-phone handset market.

Likewise, its TQPED InGaAs E/D (enhancement/depletion-mode) pHEMT process (with gate lengths of 0.7 microns and Fmax frequencies of 65GHz and 57GHz for enhancement-mode and depletion-mode pHEMTs, respectively) is used to make high-isolation switches and low-noise amplifiers for the handset and wireless data markets.

The TQBiHEMT process, incorporating HBTs and pHEMTs, enables the creation of single-chip products, gives the optimum combination of power amplifiers and switch low-noise amplifier components, TriQuint claims.

These active device types are complemented by high-Q passive circuit elements: precision 50Ohms/sq thin-film nichrome (NiCr) resistors, high-value (400Ohms/sq) bulk epitaxial resistors, and small-area/high-value (1200pF/sq-mm) MIM capacitors. Three interconnecting metal layers (two global, one local) and optional backside grounding via technology complete the available circuit component suite.

“TQBiHEMT provides wireless communications system designers the circuit component and three-layer interconnect technology required to optimize performance goals for next-generation RFICs,” says Mike Peters, director of marketing for TriQuint’s Commercial Foundry.

Device samples and designs kits will be available in first-quarter 2008.

See related items:

RFMD presents new wireless front-end technologies

SI GaAs epi market to grow at 8% through 2011

TriQuint makes gains, despite cost of Peak Devices acquisition

WIN closing gap to TriQuint in GaAs foundry market

RFMD, Skyworks and Triquint grew GaAs device market share to 55% in 2006

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