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IBM tech squeezes RF functions in a single chip

Posted: 14 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IBM technology? single-chip RF solutions? mobile handset?

IBM has introduced a new semiconductor technology that it says will enable chipset providers for mobile devices to further reduce the complexity of their componentsrepresenting significant savings in manufacturing costs for the next generation of mobile phones, laptops and other portable communication devices.

Dubbed CMOS 7RF SOI, the new technology is designed to enable single-chip RF solutions for mobile devices by integrating the multiple RF/analog functions of today's handsetssuch as multimode/multiband RF switches, complex switch biasing networks and power controllersinto one chip. Single-chip solutions address the need for fully integrated multimedia functionality on low-cost handsets, providing entry-level users in emerging markets such as China, India and Latin America with affordable, power-efficient and high-performance mobile devices.

As this technology evolves, it could create additional integration opportunities that include filter, power amplifier, power management and receiver/transmitter functionsthe types of integration possibilities that are cost-prohibitive or technically unfeasible with semiconductor technology used in mobile devices today. Supporting this integration pathway is an array of IBM engineering and go-to-marketing services that will help clients solve challenges related to component design and manufacturing.

"CMOS 7RF SOI is yet another example of how we deliver advanced, cost-effective features for integration and performance that are new to both our clients and the industry," said Steve Longoria, VP for Semiconductor Solutions, IBM Global Engineering Solutions. "Our clients can turn to IBM for lower-cost solutions, with the assurance of a stable technology base founded on our years of experience in manufacturing CMOS, RF CMOS and silicon germanium technologies."

The 180nm CMOS 7RF SOI is tailored for RF switch applications that provide a low-cost alternative to solutions based on gallium arsenide (GaAs). The breakthrough technology in SOI can minimize insertion loss and maximize isolation to help avoid issues such as loss of signal or dropped calls, potentially enabling significant cost advantages to mobile handsets.

Initial hardware evaluations have been completed; general availability for design kits is planned for the first half of 2008.

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