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Infineon claims 'first' silicon-based LNAs

Posted: 19 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WLAN? UMTS? LNA? Infineon? SiGe:C?

Infineon Technologies announced at the 3GSM World Congress 2007 in Spain the availability of its latest LNAsthe BGA700L16 and the BGA734L16. These devices are based on the company's proprietary SiGe:C process and feature low resistance on-chip ground contact. The BGA700L16 is a dual-band LNA for WLAN systems and the tri-band LNA BGA734L16 is targeted at UMTS or HSxPA applications.

'Better than GaAs'
One of the main challenges on designing RF circuits for wireless products is to maximize sensitivity, network coverage and data throughput, which are primarily determined by the noise figure of the receiver. Traditionally, RF and microwave systems designers had to use more expensive GaAs-based LNAs because of past limitations in silicon performance. During the last decade there have been numerous scientific publications describing that cost-effective, silicon-based processes can rival GaAs in performance. Infineon claims it is the first semiconductor company to prove this approach with the release of a commercial silicon-based product with performance superior to that of GaAs. Furthermore, the new SiGe:C process is said to be more energy-efficient and easier to integrate with other chip functions.

The BGA734L16 is a highly integrated LNA for 3G applications. In order to reduce design complexity and minimize costs, the RF device integrates three amplifiers for the 800-, 1,900- and 2,100MHz cellular bands on one chip. The device is specified with an ultralow noise figure of 1.2dB for the 2,100MHz band. Additional features on the chip include a temperature stabilizing circuit, 1kV ESD protection and an output matching network (50 ohms). The BGA734L16 provides gain control capability for a better dynamic range and system performance in environments with high levels of interference. In addition, controlled gain offers the benefit of extending battery life.

The BGA700L16 is a LNA specified for WLAN (802.11a/b/g/n) applications. The chip integrates a single stage amplifier for the 2.45GHz band and a two-stage amplifier to meet the requirements of the 4.9-5.95GHz band. The device shows a noise figure of only 1.3dB at 5.5GHz band. Further features are internally matched inputs and outputs, shut down mode and temperature stabilization on the chip.

New benchmark
"We have set a new benchmark for the industry resulting in higher performance and extended battery life for next-generation wireless applications including UMTS and HSxPA handsets or WLAN products," said Michael Mauer, senior director product marketing at Infineon.

The new LNAs are available in sample quantities today, with volume production planned for April 2007. Pricing starts at 80 cents each for the BGA700L16 and $1.20 each for the BGA734L16, both for 10,000 pieces. Both devices will be shipped in TSLP-16 with dimensions of 2.3-by-2.3-by-0.39mm, making them suitable for low-profile multimedia phones and highly integrated WLAN modules.

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