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1 October 2013

MACOM launches highly integrated plastic-packaged control MMIC for commercial radar

M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc of Lowell, MA, USA, which makes semiconductors, components and subassemblies for RF, microwave and millimeter-wave applications, has launched what it claims is the industry’s first integrated core chip for the 8-11GHz frequency range. Containing 6-bits of phase control, 6-bits of attenuation control and 26dB of gain, the core chip is an easy-to-use serial/parallel interface in a surface-mount QFN package. Suitable for commercial radar applications, the integrated MMIC enables radar systems in early detection and warning for severe impending weather.

The X-band core chip (MAMF-011015) is a highly integrated solution that the firm claims sets new standards for size, weight and performance (SWaP), enabling the next generation of radar system design. Building on a legacy of product design across the entire frequency range, the X-band core chip integrates a CMOS logic driver with a GaAs transmit/receive MMIC within a single QFN package. The surface-mount 7mm x 7mm plastic package offers a cost-effective, easy-to-implement solution, the firm claims. The device’s versatility and flexibility make it suitable for weather, wildfire and related commercial radar applications.

“The device offers a unique combination of QFN surface-mount packaging with advanced MMIC design integration to provide a simple and effective solution for next-generation X-band weather radar systems,” says product manager Paul Beasly.

The X-band core chip development is a product of a joint investment between MACOM and FIRST RF Corp of Boulder, CO, USA to support new weather radar programs such as the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) Weather Radar Program. CASA is a multi-sector partnership among academia, industry and government that is dedicated to engineering revolutionary weather-sensing networks. The networks save lives and property by detecting the region of the lower atmosphere currently below conventional radar range - mapping storms, winds, rain, temperature, humidity, and the flow of airborne hazards.

“The X-band core chip provides us with an integrated, surface-mount solution that allows for high-yield automated assembly, smaller-footprint design and improved reliability - enhancements which empower us to quickly identify critical weather systems, to protect people and property, and mitigate damage,” says FIRST RF’s president Theresa Boone.

The packaged device consists of a common leg circuit that includes digital attenuators, phase shifters, a low-noise receive chain, and a transmit driver amplifier, as well as a CMOS logic driver. The integrated circuit uses MACOM’s 0.25μm pHEMT process, which has been optimized for high-power and low-noise amplifiers, passive and control components, and allows for a high level of integration on a single MMIC.

MACOM is exhibiting in booth #169 at European Microwave Week (EuMW 2013) in Nuremberg Germany (8-10 October).

Tags: M/A-COM  

Visit: www.macomtech.com

Visit: www.firstrf.com

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