STMicroelectronics : STMicroelectronics Reveals New Technology Platform for RF Front End of Wireless Devices

STMicroelectronics : STMicroelectronics Reveals New Technology Platform for RF
                        Front End of Wireless Devices

   Optimized RF Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) process greatly reduces size of
      multi-band radios for 4G and other high-speed wireless connections

Geneva, June 19, 2013 - Booming demand for faster wireless broadband
connections is calling for increasingly complex circuitry inside devices such
as smartphones and tablets. STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global
semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics
applications, is addressing that demand by perfecting an advanced component
process technology specifically optimized to increase performance and reduce
the size of the RF (radio frequency) front-end of mobile devices.

In wireless devices, the RF front-end circuit is typically built using
individual amplifiers, switches and tuners. As new high-speed standards such
as 4G mobile and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11ac) use multiple frequency bands to
increase data throughput, the latest equipment requires additional front-end
circuitry. While current 3G phones use up to five frequency bands, the
3GPP^[1] standards for next-generation 4G LTE support up to 40 bands.
Conventional separate components dramatically increase overall size whereas
ST's new manufacturing process, known as H9SOI_FEM, allows production of
complete integrated front-end modules.

This process is an evolution of the H9SOI Silicon-on-Insulator process; a
groundbreaking technology introduced by ST in 2008 and subsequently used by
customers to produce more than 400 million RF switches for mobile phones and
Wi-Fi applications. Building on that experience, ST has optimized H9SOI for
creating integrated front-end modules, resulting in today's announcement of
H9SOI_FEM offering the industry's best figure of merit for antenna switch and
antenna tuning devices with Ron x Coff at 207fs^[2]. ST has also invested to
ensure suitable manufacturing capacity for even the most demanding of

From a commercial point of view, smartphones featuring high-speed multi-band
wireless are driving booming demand for RF front-end components, particularly
as integrated modules. The number of RF devices in a smartphone is roughly
three times the number in an entry-level 2G/3G phone, while smartphone
shipments are currently over one billion units annually and growing at around
30% according to analysis by Prismark. Additionally OEMs require suppliers to
provide smaller, thinner components with higher power efficiency. ST sees
opportunities for discrete components, as well as integrated
power-amplifier/switch and power-amplifier/switch/tuner modules based on its
new best-in-class H9SOI_FEM process.

"The H9SOI_FEM dedicated process enables our customers to develop state of the
art front-end modules that are half the size or smaller compared to today's
front-end solutions," said Flavio Benetti, General Manager of the Mixed
Process Division of STMicroelectronics. "Moreover, we have achieved a
simplified process flow to enable extremely short overall lead-times and
supply flexibility, which are crucial for end customers in this market."

ST is now ready to start working with customers on new designs using
H9SOI_FEM. Volume ramp-up is expected by the end of this year.

Further technical information:

The H9SOI_FEM process is a 0.13µm technology with dual-gate 1.2V and 2.5V
MOSFETs. Unlike conventional SOI processes, such as those used for discrete
devices like RF switches, H9SOI_FEM supports multiple technologies such as GO1
MOS, GO2 MOS, and optimized NLDMOS. This allows H9SOI_FEM to support full
monolithic integration of all key functions of an RF front end, which comprise
RF switches, Low Noise Amplifier (LNA), multi-mode multi-band cellular Power
Amplifiers (PAs), diplexers, RF coupling, antenna tuning and RF
energy-management functions.

GO1 MOS is preferred for very-high-performance LNAs, capable of sustaining
very low Noise Figure with 1.4dB @ 5GHz and providing threshold frequency (Ft)
of 60GHz permitting 5GHz designs with safety margin.

In addition to GO2 CMOS, GO2 NMOSis widely used with RF switches and enables
ST's process to offer the industry's best figure of merit for the antenna
switch and antenna-tuning devices, with on-resistance x capacitance (Ron x
Coff) of 207fs.

GO2 high-voltage MOS allows the integration of PA and energy-management
functions. The optimized NLDMOS allows PAs to achieve Ft of 36GHz and
efficiency of 60% at saturated low-band GSM power. For energy management,
PLDMOS technology with 12V breakdown allows the device to be connected
directly to the battery.

The performance of integrated passive components has also been optimized by
depositing to three or four aluminum layers and also thick copper when needed.

H9SOI_FEM is suitable both for devices targeting the low end of the market,
where low cost and extensive integration are crucial, as well as the high-end
smartphone segment. High-end products typically require a combination of many
frequency bands to support not only 2G, 3G and 4G standards, but also various
other wireless connectivity standards such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC
(Near-Field Communication) for contactless payments.

About STMicroelectronics
ST is a global leader in the semiconductor market serving customers across the
spectrum of sense and power and automotive products and embedded processing
solutions. From energy management and savings to trust and data security, from
healthcare and wellness to smart consumer devices, in the home, car and
office, at work and at play, ST is found everywhere microelectronics make a
positive and innovative contribution to people's life. By getting more from
technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.

In 2012, the Company's net revenues were $8.49 billion. Further information on
ST can be found at

For Press Information Contact:
Michael Markowitz
Director Technical Media Relations
+1 781 591 0354


[1] 3rd Generation Partnership Project

[2] 1 femtosecond = 0.000001 nanosecond


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