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STMicro announces new RF technology

Posted: 29 Jul 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:stmicroelectronics? mems? rf switch? mobile phone? portable device?

STMicroelectronics has released details of a technology that uses MEMS techniques to integrate high performance RF switches into circuits fabricated using standard CMOS technology. The new RF switch promises to enhance the performance of mobile phones and similar portable terminals where efficient RF switching is required to minimize power consumption and thereby extend battery life.

The "Above IC" microswitch solution was jointly developed by ST and its long-term research partner CEA-LETI at ST's Crolles1 facility. To demonstrate the integration of the new RF-MEMS switch in a SoC design, prototypes were fabricated using an industrial BiCMOS technology for the driver circuit used for the thermal actuation and electrostatic clamping. The actual MEMS switch is fabricated above the chip - i.e., after all the standard CMOS process stages have been completed - and require no special bonding techniques.

Following the successful fabrication and characterization of the first prototypes, ST and CEA-LETI are now working to optimize the electrostatic hold function, develop wafer-level packaging and further increase cost-effectiveness by reducing the number of masks required.

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