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SiGe chip serves both GPS and Galileo

Posted: 16 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SiGe Semiconductor? Galileo? GPS? satellite systems? SE4120L?

SiGe Semiconductor Inc. is anticipating the emergence of a quick OEM market for Europe's new space-based navigation network. It is sampling the SE4120L receiver, which it says is the first single-chip device to support both the United States GPS network and the European Space Agency's Galileo.

The days when Europe and the U.S. were at odds over Galileo are over, said John Brewer, SiGe Semiconductor's VP of marketing. A joint consortium ascertained that adopting Galileo as a sideband signal would assure no interference and make the two satellite navigational systems complementary rather than competitive. Galileo will use 30 satellites in three orbital planes, transmitting on the same L1 frequency as GPS. An initial test satellite of the system was launched last December, and the European Commission has pledged about $4.3 billion, in a mix of public and private financing, to make sure a system is operational in 2008.

SiGe used its experience in the SE4100L and SE4110L chips for GPS to develop a receiver that uses software-defined radio techniques for IF filtering. The chip uses high-quality SNR-ratio processing so that oversampling of a signal is minimized. Brewer said it was critical to minimize the host-processor load and power consumption since SiGe expects that dual-network receivers will migrate from laptops to cellphones, MP3 players and perhaps even watches in coming years.

Combo receiver offers programmable IF filters. Single-chip device includes AGC, phase-locked loop and A/D converter.

The filters on the SE4120L adjust for 2.2MHz GPS signals and 4.4MHz Galileo signals, providing a multibit serial I/Q output. The on-chip low-noise amplifier can provide 18dB of gain with a noise figure of 1.6dB. Overall RF system noise is approximately 2.5dB. The current drain is less than 10mA from a supply range of 2.7V to 3.3V. Also integrated on-chip are linear auto gain control, analog-to-digital converter, PLL synthesizer and image-reject mixer.

The receiver is packaged in 4-by-4-by-0.9mm QFN that's Pb-free for compliance with the RoHS directive. The receiver will be priced at less than $3 each in quantities of 100,000.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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