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9 July 2013

Nujira extends foundry partnership with TowerJazz

Fabless envelope tracking (ET) semiconductor firm Nujira Ltd of Cambridge, UK and specialty foundry TowerJazz (which has fabrication plants at Tower Semiconductor Ltd in Migdal Haemek, Israel, and at its subsidiaries Jazz Semiconductor Inc in Newport Beach, CA, USA and TowerJazz Japan Ltd) are extending their partnership agreement to include production of Nujira’s latest NCT-L1300 Coolteq.L ET modulator chip for LTE handsets.

Envelope tracking technology is being developed to reduce the power consumption of 4G smartphones in order to extend battery life. ET dynamically adapts the power amplifier (PA) supply voltage to the signal amplitude, dramatically reducing the power consumption of the PA that transmits the signal to the antenna. 

Anyone who uses 4G phones experiences an empty battery much earlier than with 3G, sometimes in the middle of the day, says Nujira. Several technologies are being developed to reduce power consumption of such phones, but recently ET interfaces have become standardized on LTE basebands, paving the way to a high adoption rate of the technology. Nujira reckons that it is well positioned to take a large proportion of the market. According to market research firm IHS, the annual revenue for analog application-specific ICs for 4G mobile handsets is forecast to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29% over the next five years, from $827m in 2012 to $2.9bn by 2017.

Nujira selected TowerJazz (the fifth largest foundry worldwide) as its manufacturing partner in early 2012. With the launch of the NCT-L1300 ET modulator IC in June, the partnership is being extended as the new chip is geared up for volume production to support 4G smartphone shipments in 2014. The NCT-L1300 is fabricated in TowerJazz’s proven 0.18┬Ám RF CMOS technology, which is used in hundreds of millions of RF front-end devices with additional uniquely fitted HV modules. The NCT-L1300 delivers power conversion efficiencies in excess of 80%, effectively doubling the efficiency of existing solutions, it is reckoned. 

“Over the last year we’ve built an excellent relationship with TowerJazz; its processes offer us the ideal combination of high-performance analog and power management capabilities,” says Nujira’s CEO Tim Haynes. “Nujira’s ET ICs have the highest bandwidth, widest voltage range, fastest slew rates, and lowest output impedance in the market, placing significant demands on the underlying process technology,” he claims. “TowerJazz meets all of these stringent requirements and works closely with us to ensure a high success rate and competitive time to market.” 

“As the world’s largest specialty analog foundry, TowerJazz offers us the experience and capacity to address the high-volume smartphone market, and enables us to meet the price points demanded by the world’s largest smartphone vendors,” continues Haynes. “Moving our new IC into volume production is a critical step for our business, and with its process expertise, wafer capacity and security of supply across multiple fabs, TowerJazz is the right foundry partner for Nujira,” he adds. 

“Nujira’s technology has huge potential, with ET technology heading towards a 100% attach rate in LTE smartphones in 2014,” says TowerJazz’s CEO Russell Ellwanger. “Nujira’s chips combine wireless communications and smart energy, which are two high-growth focus areas for TowerJazz,” he adds. “As one of the world’s largest foundries and with capacity on three continents, TowerJazz offers a unique combination of speciality processes and wafer capacity, enabling high-growth fabless IC companies like Nujira to rely on us as their silicon supplier.” 

The NCT-L1300 is packaged in a low-profile wafer-level chip-scale package, and started sampling to lead customers in June.

See related items:

Nujira claims breakthrough LTE performance for CMOS PAs

Tags: Nujira CMOS PAs envelope tracking TowerJazz

Visit: www.towerjazz.com

Visit: www.nujira.com

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