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

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 -- (Marketwired) -- 06/19/13 --  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
customers. 
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 0.13um 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 www.st.com. 
[1] 3rd Generation Partnership Project
 [2] 1 femtosecond = 0.000001
nanosecond 
For Press Information Contact:
STMicroelectronics
Michael Markowitz
Director Technical Media Relations
+1 781 591 0354
michael.markowitz@st.com 
 
 
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